Stakeholder Engagement –
Why won’t they listen?!!

“We’ve always done it that way”
“It’s been like that for ages, and it’s not hurting us”
“No one really looks at our website anyway”
“We’re not a digital business, so we don’t need to look like one”

Sound familiar?

Can they afford not to bother?

There are plenty of reasons not to bother with your digital output, and they can often come from company directors. We’ve probably all been at companies where the thinking is along those lines, and if you’re new, it can be difficult to shake things up and get those above you to see your online presence as the valuable marketing tool it can and should be. 

We’ve worked with several marketers who’ve been brought in to revitalise the web offering of a business, where that business has traditionally ‘managed’ with very little, and we know how hard it can be to get those who are a bit more digitally naive on board. Management might simply not have the appetite, or they might have had a difficult experience in the past. There are some basic steps which can help those who are struggling see the benefits in providing their buy-in to digital projects.

Use data for digital stakeholder engagement

Data is everything

Start small. You’ve been given a small budget and management wants to see what you can do with small projects. You need to set some metrics to prove the worth of a larger investment in digital. If that’s PPC, make sure that your website’s analytics are showing the results. If it’s SEO, make sure that content drive is sufficiently tracked. If management can see a return on investment, then it makes business sense, digital or not, and bigger budgets will be allocated to digital projects.

Run Workshops

We’ll be going into detail in how to run effective digital and branding workshops in a future post, but it’s worth mentioning a couple of highlights here. Get your leadership into a room for a round table discussion about what you want to achieve. Against the wider business goals, highlight where some digital initiatives might be a player. You’re not looking to get budget signoff here, it’s about helping people to think in the right way. If existing systems have seemed too big to change, or if managers have an emotional or habitual attachment to existing processes, workshops can highlight how projects can be easy and beneficial in a way that can begin to change opinions. Space these out over a number of weeks and months, and run alongside small, data-driven initiatives, and can start to set in motion a slow catalyst for discussions moving forwards. 

Engage management using workshops

Engage consultants

Whenever we work with clients who aren’t digitally native, we like to follow the above steps as well. Building trust and working within an organisation which can be a little skeptical means that by setting effective KPIs and metrics, outside help can prove its worth. Along the way your consultants will build a partnership with your organisation, working with you as a key member of their team. 

 

Encourage Optimism

When you start small, with landing pages, campaigns, and other smaller digital initiatives, it’s all about the metrics. But as you move to a fuller digital toolbox and new website, it’s got to start to work with people’s heartstrings as well. When the new website design drafts are in, the CEO’s eyes need to light up. That can be a tricky thing to achieve, because the website is the first public port-of-call for many when learning about the business – and that business is often the CEO’s baby. You need to encourage leadership that the website can do so much more for the business, and make sure that they’re involved throughout the journey, so that when it’s time to launch, they’re as excited as you are. 

Keep the faith

Remember, there’s no golden ticket and the business isn’t going to suddenly turn around and give you a six-figure budget. But keep proving your worth and the worth of your initiatives, and over time digital will increasingly be seen as the answer to the questions facing the business. Getting buy-in to that big-ticket project can feel like a mountain to climb, but once you’re there and the project is signed off, you’ll be indispensable to the company’s ongoing strategy.

Crucible works on projects large and small, from PPC campaigns through to company-wide digital strategies. If you’re struggling with getting buy-in to engage a senior stakeholder, one of our consultants might be able to help.