3 Emotions to Drive Execs to Action


Yesterday I was on a panel for a Forrester bootcamp on Social Media. One of the common questions was how to convince senior management to agree to and resource these new emerging channels and marketing strategies.

What moves consumers to action? Emotion. It’s not much different than with executives and managers…you just use data to create those emotions!

In my experience, there are three emotions I’ve seen drive executive action:

  1. Fear – show the competition is having success with a strategy that you are not. I’m putting this first because fear is the biggest motivator in the human psyche. And the first reaction for executives when they see a competitor doing something successful is to react. I’m not suggesting this is always right, but it’s reality. It’s a call to action event. If a competitor is launching an emerging channel strategy, your executives have to decide to do something or nothing. Use this time to drive a recommended strategy.
  2. Excitement – show and prove the revenue impact from such a strategy. Changne resistance is typically due to prioritization and predictability. Corporations, and management in them, have a need to drive predictable growth and mitigate risk. Priorities are driven based on familiarity of strategies that drive confident results. Something that can be proved to drive better results and meet or beat forecast excites executives.
  3. Pride – most forward-thinking executives want to be first to market, forward thinking, innovative and cutting edge. Some want this because it is right for the company, and some want it because it’s right for their career. Which one are you dealing with?

Use data to drive emotion, emotion to drive action, and perserverence to sustain the change!

5 Responses

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  2. Mary says:

    I would add to the list personal rewards such as possibility of a major promotion or bonus increase…If the initiative requires taking risks then the potential payoff hasgot to be crystal clear as well

  3. Peter Kohan says:

    I’m trying to pitch an idea to publishers right now that is running into some resistance with all of these barriers. In my pitch I emphasize competitor success in a product category, potential revenue impact, and market opportunity.
    But I’ve been shot down on arguments which relate to all three factors above in spite of my preparation to deal with such objections.
    I’m struggling with the apathy shown towards my product concept, which is a proven seller for these publishers’ competitor.

  4. Jake McKee says:

    Great stuff, love the fact that you’ve hit three important concepts that have nothing to do with “the business”… but with emotion.
    Mary and Peter – I think you’re missing the point of what makes people honestly interested. It’s not promotions or market opportunity. It’s an emotional trigger.

  5. george Tenet says:

    And if you can find an exec who’s proud of being excited by fear, it’s a slam dunk.

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