How to Pitch Your Leadership: 5 Lessons from the Shark Tank

by Heather Hammond, Managing Editor - 01/23/19

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Learn to perfect your marketing pitch in this excerpt from a standing-room only presentation delivered by Paul A. Szablowski and Rob Rosenberg at the 2018 Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development Conference.

It’s no secret that the world of marketing is ever-evolving—and for chief marketing officers (CMOs) in particular, the transformation in role and responsibilities is happening at an unprecedented pace. There has been a dramatic shift in focus from marketing leadership to growth leadership, with 75 percent of CEOs wanting their CMOs to be focused on return on investment (ROI) and new customer acquisition.

Additionally, new connections are being established between traditional and digital mediums and when combined with the proliferation of data and consumer demand, these changes are leaving CMOs in a potentially dangerous situation.

Eighty percent of CEOs report dissatisfaction with their CMOs, and a good portion of that comes from incorrect expectations of the CMO’s role. It’s up to you to redefine your and your team’s roles in the organization. Your marketing pitches need to reflect your understanding of the changing climate, as well as illustrate how you and your team will thrive.

The popular TV series Shark Tank has taught entrepreneurs in all business categories the importance of being able to clearly articulate strategic business plans and marketing considerations in order to receive buy-in and funding for their products and services. 

To hone your message when pitching strategic business plans and budget needs to leadership, here are five tips from the Shark Tank.

Lesson One: Own Your Role

Define your role as being the one who understands the consumers as well as the product. You know how and why they choose their health care. You know their influences and your role in their lives. Most importantly, you know how to be a business leader who will use that understanding to inspire your team to work smart and get results.

Lesson Two: Start a Dialogue

Gone are the days of the pitch where you rattle off information to your leadership. Your end goal is the same as theirs, so take the focus back to where it belongs: the company. Talk about how you will use your knowledge of the consumer and their buying habits to get results and maintain brand relevance. Present the pitch as an opportunity for a conversation between yourself and your leadership.

Lesson Three: Know Your Numbers

Cultivate knowledge of the metrics your leadership cares about. This can include analysis of profit margins and customer retention along with leading indicators like conversion rates and website metrics. Know what you are asking for and what you expect in return. The more understanding you have, the greater your chances of success.

Lesson Four: Stand Out

Your brand is not the consumers' only choice. How will you separate yourself from the competition? Understand your brand’s relevance and value, and from there, develop a purposeful brand position. Highlight what makes your brand inspiring, unique and future-focused.

Lesson Five: Answer Hard Questions

With a pitch, you are selling yourself as much as your ideas. Rehearse your answers to anticipated questions, and provide whole answers when those questions are asked. Understand your target market and have a plan to capture it. Be confident in your knowledge of the market, your consumers and your team. Most importantly, be confident you will achieve results—because you will.

About the Authors

Paul A. Szablowski is an independent consultant and former senior vice president of brand experience at Texas Health Resources. He also serves on the Healthcare Insight advisory board. 

Rob Rosenberg is president at Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy.

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Topics: Healthcare Industry Insights & Trends

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