Getting Buy-In: Show Them the Cake at the End of the Tunnel
I’m writing this from Big Kansas City, a great conference for entrepreneurs put on by Silicon Prairie News. When I walked into the venue this morning, I noticed something large sitting on the speaking stage, covered with a black sheet. As the MC announced the second speaker, Mike Johnson of MikesLessons.com walked on stage and immediately removed the sheet from the conspicuous mass. Under the sheet was a drum set, and he sat down and started into a sweet drum solo.
Now let me back up a few decades…I am a former drummer. One of my fondest memories from high school includes me and my snare drum leading the Shawnee Mission West Marching Band down the streets of downtown London for the New Years Day parade of 1994.
Needless to say, I was enamored with Mike’s intro. As he got into the meat of his presentation, I was equally enamored with one of his main points. Specifically, his bullet point read, “Show them the light.”
He was referring to a typical scenario where his young drum students would get frustrated and want to completely skip the unsexy “fundamentals” of drum technique. To get their attention, he would jump on his drum set and demonstrate what a rock-star drummer can do when they’ve mastered a specific technique. Mike put it simply, “You have to show them the chocolate cake, but then explain that we have to eat our broccoli, carrots and brussel sprouts before you can have that.”
I couldn’t help but connect this back to the marketing industry’s struggle with getting buy-in for content strategy and content marketing. It might be a stretch to signify c-suite executives as the drum students in this metaphor, but our human nature wants the sweetness of the chocolate cake, like now. But there are two layers to the content marketing cake. One is the sweet, long-term benefits of a well-executed content marketing initiative. The second is the time, resources and effort that is required to bake a high-quality content marketing cake.
You know who has a good cake recipe? Kraft Foods.
Kraft Food’s Director of Media and Consumer Engagement, Julie Fleischer, has been busy in the Kraft kitchen building a serious content marketing cake. She spoke recently at Content Marketing World 2014 and talked a lot about how she had to start building the recipe, experimenting and giving her executive staff little tastes of success. This left those decision makers wanting more, so budgets started shifting.
So back to the question at hand…How do you get buy in? You need to start crafting your recipe. Start small. Perhaps think “cup cake” first. Is there a small project that you can execute that makes your decision makers say, “Mmmm…what’s that wonderful aroma coming from the marketing department?” Give them a taste. Then take it away and ask for the necessary resources to scale up production.