I sit in a lot of client meetings where the question is: how do clients really reach C-level executives? Do senior executives really read their trade publications? Do they have time to follow bloggers? Do they follow news outside their own category in real time? Do they watch videos? Do they care at all about Twitter?
We measure a lot of things, so we know from experience that the answer is, “it depends.” It depends on who the specific executive is, how old they are, how tech savvy they are, where they are, who they know, etc. But the “real time attentiveness” or media preferences of any given senior executive may not be the most relevant things to ponder, because online search is the great equalizer - across time, across space, across info sources, across lots of things.
This is why we added specialized search expertise to our model in 2001: when an executive decides to search a topic, a category, a company name or a person, an entire portfolio of content is immediately presented to them; trade articles, blog posts, white papers, feature coverage in “top-tier” media outlets, video clips, etc. At that moment, everything a client has or hasn’t done to engage its community and tell the various aspects of its story across a credible content network either builds the brand and supports the action desired from the searcher, or it doesn’t. So companies are smart to build a network of content across various sources that add their own credibility to the value of the brand; print, broadcast, video, blogs, Twitter, etc. And they’re smart to optimize carefully to make sure it all comes together at that one moment when a busy senior executive decides to type something into a search bar.
Don’t take our word for it. In June, 2009 Forbes, in association with Google released a study of the information gathering habits of C-level executives, supporting this premise and adding a lot more detail. OK, so the findings support both companies’ missions - but still, they fit with our own experience, and it’s a good read.
Forbes | Insight, June 2009: The Rise of the Digital C-Suite: How Executives Locate and Filter Business Information can be downloaded free here: