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Getting the Board, onboard

A review of The Marketing Society Book Circle: Marketing in the Boardroom - Ruth Saunders

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create” - David Ogilvy.


A lot is discussed about how marketing can have more impact at Board level. However, It has been claimed that only 26% of CMOs regularly attend their company’s board meetings

How fortunate were we then, to have Ruth Saunders spend time with us at The Marketing Society’s Book Circle last week. Ruth shared some of the key insights around ‘getting the board, onboard’ from her book Marketing In The Boardroom.

As a seasoned marketer & regular board room attendee herself, Ruth talked about specific strategies to winning the board members minds, hearts, and confidence.

To win board members minds, Ruth suggested that marketers align their thinking and language with that of the board, so financially rigorous, financially responsible and both short as well as long term focused. 

To win their hearts, the suggestion is for marketers to engage Board members as allies throughout the problem-solving process. Board members complain of being ‘sold to’ too often. It’s important to canvas their opinions and foster a collaborative and inclusive approach from day one.

To win their confidence, Ruth suggests marketers should identify early wins that they can take to the board, as well as updating them on what’s not working as planned and what actions are been taken to course correct.

We were also left with some more key nuggets including:

  • The power of three: whether that be messages in a deck or meetings to get people onside
  • The importance of seeking first to understand, before being understood
  • The maturity of not getting defensive when challenged and the power of the PAUSE

Ruth’s book is a robust manual, packed full of great case studies & frameworks, to help you be a better marketer; one who is capable of selling their ideas and marketing strategies at all levels of business.


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