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Marketing has changed more in last few years than in the last half-century before them.
And the velocity of change is only accelerating.
This means there are more areas than ever we need to be competent in.
Not only do we have to be awesome at being…
…we’ve gotta challenge the status quo before we’re stuck.
…even more, we’ve gotta’ convince our bosses to come along for the ride.
And if you’ve made the decision to adopt CoSchedule, the world’s best marketing management platform, the task is the same.
It all comes down to our ability to influence others. From our peers to the C-Suite execs.
But, if you’ve ever read about the psychology of influence, it can be sad news.
Doubly so when it comes to how to convince your boss or top brass to try new tools like CoSchedule.
One of the first principles of influence you come across is called the “halo effect.”
In the 1920s, psychologist Edward Thorndike piloted a study of how military officers judge their subordinates.
He found more physically attractive soldiers were were rated higher across the board on a four-point scale: intelligence, physique, leadership, and character.
This means positive reactions to physical appearance were projected onto other areas of the soldiers.
And as much as we hate to admit it, the rabbit hole goes deeper.
This principle holds true in elections, as well.
In a study called “Beauty at the Ballot Box,” researchers theorized that since physical attractiveness is a cue toward good health, we may be biologically programmed to esteem it. Meaning we’re naturally inclined to favor attractive people.
However, when it comes to convincing your boss to say yes to…
…a fresh software tool like CoSchedule…
…a flexible work-from-home policy…
…that new process…
…we’ve got many more science-backed levers to pull than just our faces.
In this post, I’ll share the best research on ethical approaches to convince your boss to say yes to CoSchedule (and just about anything else!).
No makeup required.
You’ll learn four strategies:
One of the most powerful benefits of CoSchedule is it’s ability to crush the bug we call makeshift marketing.
A major change to the marketing landscape is the sheer number of single-function software tools available. Unfortunately, most don’t play well together.
This means we’re stuck with tools not designed with marketers in mind.
This makes your life more frustrating and puts a lid on your results.
So, we’ll walk through examples of leading change to combat it by getting your boss to say yes to CoSchedule!
Saddle up, partner!
Let’s begin with opportunity cost.
An opportunity cost is the benefit someone loses in favor of taking a different action.
When you choose between things, you lose the benefits of the alternative choice.
Research shows that people fear loss more than they desire benefit. And this greatly influences the way they choose between options (aka: prospects).
This means people will over emphasise even minor opportunities for loss.
Nielsen Norman Group says it like this:
“When choosing among several alternatives, people avoid losses and optimize for sure wins because the pain of losing is greater than the satisfaction of an equivalent gain.”
For example, you want to adopt a new marketing tool like CoSchedule to replace a less effective one (or even multiple tools).
The problem is there’s a chance the new tool will cost more than it’s worth.
Either in hard cash and in lost productivity. In turn, your boss may be instantly loss averse.
This will impact her choice between the prospects of “status quo” and “potential loss.”
The risk may seem falsely outsized — especially if budgets or time are already tight.
To use this knowledge to your advantage, simply structure your ask in two parts:
“If we do [thing you want] it will add [positive value]. If we don’t do [thing you want] it will cost [negative value].”
In this case, it may sound like:
“If we [adopt CoSchedule], it will give us a [55% lift in productivity per team member]. If we don’t [adopt this new tool], we are actually losing [$1,255 per week in lost productivity].”
To help you make that case, you can actually use the nifty “Build Your Case For CoSchedule” tool we created.
After extensive research of our customers, we found the average time savings based on the following criteria:
In this case, a team of two completing four projects and managing three social media profiles per week can save 13 hours each week, or 671 hours in a year!
If you dollarize your time, that’s an incredible amount of money–$35,950 annually.
Ask your boss:
“What would it mean for us to have 13 hours back every week?”
The idea here is to highlight the gain as specifically as possible.
Then showcase the loss of the alternative option — in this case changing nothing — as specifically as possible.
This way, you can position the facts according to the emotional principles at play.
If your boss says no to CoSchedule, they’re actually saying no to 671 bonus hours per year (on average)!
Set the stakes, make loss aversion your friend, and get to yes faster (like CoSchedule customer Florida Realtors® did).
Next, marketers have #goalsfordays
A recent study we conducted found that marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to be successful.
Tactic number two is using this stat to your advantage.
If you have goals, like driving 500 fresh leads every month…
…make us of alignment theory.
In simple terms, it says the most successful people understand their strengths and then arrange their lives in alignment with them.
This theory works for both individuals and teams.
Successful organizations run like machines using this principle. And the power of alignment is possible when strategy, goals, and purpose mutually reinforce one another.
To put it to work with your boss, structure your ask for change like this:
“Our team is trying to achieve [goal]. But we have [failed] for the past [timeframe]. I think the best way we can do this right now is by [thing you want] [based on prior success].”
In keeping with our “1,000 qualified leads” example, the ask might be:
“Our team is trying to achieve [1,000 qualified leads every month]. But we’ve [only reached 70% of that goal] for the [past three months]. I think the best way we can do this right now is by [focusing exclusively on driving traffic] [to our top-performing landing pages].”
The change you’re after is a shifted focus: driving more traffic. However, the goal you’re trying to achieve is the same: 1,000 qualified leads.
Also notice this clause: “based on prior success.”
If your team has related successes in the past, highlight them for leverage as proof. In this example, it was top-performing landing pages.
In their fantastic book, Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath call these prior wins “bright spots.” They’re powerful because they showcase that positive results are possible, because you have achieved them in the past.
You’re team is capable of knocking it outta’ the park. So, you align your methods accordingly.
Bonus: This is also a great chance to sharpen your goal-setting strategy if it needs a little work.
Post-mortems sound sad…
…but can I be real for a minute?
I think they’re amazing.
A post-mortem is an analysis held after a project, usually with the aim of answering this question: “How on earth did things go so wrong?!”
So why do I love ’em?
Because they’re amazing chances to learn. They’re even beneficial to hold on the heels of successful projects. They promote healthy self-reflection and can benefit your entire team.
To persuade your boss to say yes to CoSchedule, though, I want you to tactically use a mini post-mortem with your boss in advance of your ask.
By learning why other initiatives have failed, you can learn what pitfalls to avoid.
For instance, if you’re proposing a move from messy-as-hell spreadsheets to CoSchedule — or a similar transition from an inefficient way of doing things — how helpful would it be to learn that the last tool transition to be shot down actually had the support of your manager, but got squashed by the CFO?
Setup this convo like this: “When was the last time we wanted to get budget for a new software tool in our department? How did it go?”
If the last attempt bombed, follow with, “Why do you think it failed? And is there any way it could have been approved?”
If it succeeded, even better! Ask, “Why was it successful? And how has it panned out?”
Next, you can glean what legitimate objections your boss may have to your idea.
Almost every boss I’ve ever had loved to say, “Yes!” to great ideas. But so many of my attempts at leading a new change as the underling failed because I didn’t understand their field of visibility.
Field of visibility means their viewpoint informed by the things they know that you may not.
Think of it like this. Company execs sit in meetings that you don’t.
This means understanding their field of visibility is incredibly beneficial.
With a mini post-mortem, you can dig in to why a similar change failed.
This will help you position your ask to overcome your boss’s legitimate (or even illegitimate) objections.
Whether it’s data…
Or a project champion up the chain…
Or even competitive research…
You can gain insight beforehand to have great answers to tough questions. And these answers can fuel your case for adopting CoSchedule!
Last, let’s talk about an old psychological warhorse: the rule of reciprocity.
Psychologist and best-selling author Robert Cialdini explains it in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, like this. He writes:
“The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us… [and] by virtue of the reciprocity rule…we are obligated to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like.”
The idea is to do something for someone else before you ask them to do something for you. When you do so, you’re far more likely to get your “Yes.”
While this principle might be effective, it’s often felt too manipulative for me to entertain actually doing this.
Call me a boy scout, but that seems like a pretty sketchy move. And worse, an infringement on a healthy relationship.
That said, there is a version of this rule I happily endorse 😎
Cialdini also shares a specific application of this rule called bargaining, saying,
Bargaining “is frequently used in the negotiation process, which involves reciprocal concessions. That is, if Person A rebuffs a large request from Person B, and Person B then concedes by making a smaller request, Person A will feel obligated to reciprocate this concession with a concession of his or her own by agreeing to this lesser plea.”
In 1975, researchers on the Arizona State University campus cracked the code on this.
In an experiment, half of the students in the test were asked, “Will you chaperone juvenile-detention-center inmates on a day trip to the zoo?”
A measly 17% said yes.
The other half of the test subjects were asked a leading question first: “Will you volunteer as a juvenile-detention-center counselor for two hours per week for the next two years?”
Every single student said no to the new leading question…
…but then the interesting part happened.
Nearly 50% said yes to the second (original) question about chaperoning the zoo visit!
The angle for our marketing purposes is pretty obvious: construct two versions of your ask.
The first should be your best-case vision for the future. This is a big ask akin to the two-year counselorship.
The second is still awesome, but far less involved. It’s on par with chaperoning a day-long zoo trip.
Start big, then go small.
What does this look like for adopting CoSchedule?
Today, let’s say you’re a marketing manager.
Your team owns the entire marketing program. But, every day you’re in the weeds and stuck without visibility.
To go to the next level, you need time for strategy, vision, thinking, getting creative, roadmapping new ideas, and other big picture ideas.
This means getting the total visibility and control over your marketing activities CoSchedule affords. It means getting your one version of truth.
So, your desired change might be:
“I want one day per week where my schedule is completely blocked off for strategic work and CoSchedule to save us hours of time + get better results.”
First, though, you can put the bargaining principle to work.
So, you can structure your leading question like this:
“I would like to be promoted to marketing director so I can focus on high-level strategy and new initiatives I have ideas for. Along with that, I’d like to hire a new marketing manager to take over my role and give us 40 more hours of production capacity per week.”
While it might make you a bit nervous to ask for a promotion — your leading ask doesn’t have to be so grandiose.
But it does need to be sufficiently big to put your secondary ask into perspective.
You now have four new strategies to convince your boss to say yes to CoSchedule!
If you’re serious about leading the charge against the poor results caused by makeshift marketing, these strategies are your new best friends.
Ready for even more good news?!
We have additional fire power for you to convince your boss to say yes to CoSchedule…
You’re invited to a personalized demo of CoSchedule.
It’s 30 minutes or less where the agenda is all about you, and finding out what problems CoSchedule may help you fix.
You can have an entirely new mission control system to get total visibility into your marketing.
It will be your version of truth that helps you plan, execute, and promote all of your projects including campaigns, social, email, events, and beyond.
Schedule your demo call right now, and there’s a 99% chance you can chat with someone today!
Now, have fun convincing your boss to say yes every time 👍
August 17, 2018
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