Why you need to rethink how you’re reaching CIOs (clue: email, phone and online forms are not the answer).

By Tom Wright, Incisive Media Enterprise IT Publisher (@Tom1Wright)

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I’ve had a few conversations recently with vendors looking for ways to reach and influence CIOs: their sales people have followed up endless white paper downloads, sponsored or in-house produced research, and despite their marketing teams spending big, they aren’t getting traction. They want something new, something that has ‘cut-through’ – something that actually works.

This is unsurprising: the truth is that online form-filling with CIOs doesn’t work, and if you stop to think about it the reasons are obvious. Real c-suite enterprise CIOs in large organisations don’t open their own emails or answer their phones: they have a PA who deletes content marketing approaches – all of it – no matter where it comes from and no matter how good it is, and who bats away ‘nuisance’ callers, no matter the pedigree of the supplier they are calling from. Many CIOs don’t even run their own twitter account – corporate PR keeps their tweets ‘on-message’. CIOs are massively time poor, are often working very long hours, and their time is both precious and jealously guarded. This makes email and telemarketing poor marketing channel for CIOs.

CIOs spend their working lives in meetings, with their direct reports reviewing project execution, and with the board and LoB directors covering future requirements for business process and digital transformation. If you want to influence this kind of audience, you aren’t going to do it with a white paper, or a special report, or an infographic, or a video, unless you are a Gartner or a Forrester, or your target CIO has a subscription to your services (around a third of FTSE 500 CIOs subscribe to Computing). You might succeed if you are a company like Accenture, and the CIO is taking paid advice from you. But if you aren’t Gartner, Forrester or Accenture, the chances are your experience of content marketing for reaching the IT c-suite has had poor ROI.

So, how do you reach CIOs? Real ones, who are CIO 2.0 as opposed to old-style IT operations bosses there to ‘keep the lights on’? How do you get content based thought leadership with real punch into their hands and get them discussing it, with you? The horrible truth is that the vast majority of approaches offered by publishers add up to telemarketing: phoning people, asking them to read a white paper (or other content) which is then emailed to them, which is ultimately deleted by the PA and never even read. Is it a surprise then that so many marketers struggle to deliver ROI?

You reach CIOs through relationships – and Computing is the best in the market place with this. We have the largest conference production team talking to CIO level speakers day in day out, we have the largest editorial team in the market place which is focused on CIO level decision makers – up and down the country in CIOs offices there are framed Computing front covers featuring CIO interviews – because making it to the front cover of Computing means something: we know CIOs, we talk to them day in, day out. We produce the Computing IT Leaders 100, and we have hundreds of genuine C-level members in the Computing IT Leaders Dining Club: if you want to meet IT’s top flight, ask us about the Computing IT Leaders Club, and we’ll show you how to get them talking to you about what you offer, and how you can generate impactful content, start real business relationships and turn around your c-suite IT marketing.

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For more information about the Computing IT Leaders Dining Club or any of our marketing solutions, please drop us an email at [email protected]

MORE CONTENT: Read Tom’s ‘Success with Content Marketing: 9 key rules for effective sales follow up’ paper.