Twice this past week we have been approached by consultants, telling us that their target customers are C-Level executives of mid-sized to large companies. They both offered services that would help these executives, and they both expressed their belief that Facebook was not the answer. They both agreed, “C-level executives are not on Facebook.” They wanted to know if we had some other “magic marketing bullet” that would get them an audience with these high value targets. They both agreed that their main impediments were the “gatekeepers” (aka administrative assistants) who made it almost impossible for them to obtain access.
While gatekeepers are often the people who keep vendors away from upper level managers, the reality is that these are the folks with an inside track to the C-Level executives, and are often tasked with discovering which vendors are offering what the company needs, and which should be granted an audience. These Gatekeepers are tech savvy enough to be doing online research, including checking websites, Facebook Pages and Twitter, as well as reading blogs and other company publications in order to make those decisions.
The truth is that Facebook might be just the magic marketing bullet our potential clients are looking for. For while the executives may or may not (with 1.35 billion active users on Facebook, it would be naïve to believe that C-level executives are not there) be active on Facebook and other social sites, most of them may not be actively researching products and services for their companies. They have “people” for that, and those “people” (whether they are the gatekeepers or other employees lower on the corporate ladder) are definitely on Facebook.
Case in point, when I was a Human Resources Assistant, I spent a lot of my time doing online research for vendors—from food service providers and temporary employment services to insurance companies and snow plowing services. it was my research and recommendations that were used by upper management to make informed decisions. And most of the time, they went with my suggestions.