How to conduct a paid search strategy on the C-Suite

Leveraging PPC industry data in the boardroom is essential to gain buy-in to campaigns.

Yet digital marketers often struggle to prove the value of paid search to key stakeholders.

On May 6, I hosted a Sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Ashley Fletcher, Vice President of Marketing at Adthena.

Fletcher shared tips on how to find value in SEM data and reports, position the power of paid search, and harness it in the boardroom.

Here is a recap of the webinar presentation.

What CPD Professionals Can Do

Armed with data and the right approach, PPC professionals can influence C-Suite in terms of paid search strategy.

Ideal preparation

Preparation takes time. Make sure you:

  • Create your message.
  • Perfect delivery.
  • Define expectations.

Preparing for a meeting with senior executives can be nerve-racking. But understand that they are no different from other human beings.

The key is to find a similarity – something you have in common – to bring into the conversation.

And often it always comes down to the consumer and the end goal.

Find that similarity with your audience and then you will be on an equal footing.

Also, come to these meetings knowing that you have a list of five things you come up with and that it is actually a win if you come out with two of them approved.

Set expectations accordingly to avoid massive disappointment.

What is your hypothesis?

When influencing the C-suite, it’s a good tactic to present a hypothesis.

What this tries to encourage is a forward-thinking ideal about where your strategy is going.

As you present, listen to the words you use.

You need to stay strategic about the direction you will take with the C suite and the vision you are projecting for it.

You want them to look at strategic topics, including:

  • Comparative analysis and explanation of our performance to the company.
  • Help make brand budgets more effective with research.
  • Drive efficiencies in paid and organic apps.
  • Historical data on conversion trends versus historical spend.
  • Efficiency and waste reduction.

We don’t want to talk to this audience about ‘campaign level’ topics like:

  • Creation of ad copy.
  • Launched a new landing page.
  • Keyword extension.
  • Etc.

Always lead the audience to strategic topics that interest them.


Adjust your message accordingly. If possible, use the shortest time to deliver your message.

Dealing with the C-Suite

Common requests

The C suite often has common demands when it comes to paid search performance.


You are asked to increase the performance of your digital campaigns along with one of the following:

  • Improve ROAS.
  • Expand into a new market.
  • Launch a new product.

To reach

When we enter this new geographic area, the C-suite wants to identify:

  • What is our market share? How much more can we get once we’re there to saturate that market?
  • Where to spend? Where should we move budgets to get maximum reach?
  • Who are our customers by region? It involves understanding what they are doing, what they are saying, what their needs are, etc.


The C suite wants to defend what you already have, including:

  • Market trends.
  • Customer journey: Focusing on how customers find your brand is essential.
  • Brand equity: how are you going to protect your brand and compete with well-known brands that have lots of digital and brand awareness campaigns?

There are free tools and items available to PPC professionals looking to meet these common demands.


To reach

  • Google representative
  • Respond to the public
  • Google Audience Planner


  • Auction Information
  • Responsive scripts
  • Google Analytics benchmark


Why do benchmark reports work so well?

Benchmarks help track progress and instill confidence.

This is why the C suite likes benchmarks. They give you a clear step forward.

Example of a baseline reportExample of a baseline report

Winning games

Here are some winning games to keep in mind and implement.


  • Grow wisely: If you don’t use the best data, it will make the strategy very risky.
  • Define new categories: It really comes down to segmentation. If you’ve used travel credit cards like
    key segment to take first, then move on to the next. Try not to take it all at once, as you won’t be able to prove that you are winning in one market at the same time.
  • Product roadmap: Treat it like you’re part of the product team working on bringing a new product to market. There must be clear dates on when things are happening, the target users you are speaking against and when these are launched.

To reach

  • Reference position: When you go to the C-suite, you need to have a starting position so that you can project the progress that you expect.
  • Spending efficiency: Understand the efficiencies on how you could get more or less for your money. You don’t want to burn your campaign budget.
  • Messaging is the key: Understand your audience and tailor your message to their needs. If you don’t spend a lot of time writing compelling advertising copy, your campaigns won’t be effective.


  • Stay ahead of the seasons: You will guide the brand to the next step given the current climate and you need to do this based on the best possible data.
  • 101% customer centric: Care about your customers’ experience in every part of your brand.
  • Defend the brand at all costs: When someone from another channel is looking to find your brand, you need to make sure that they are accessing your brand securely at all costs. This could be a potential new customer and could potentially have a very high LTV.

Industry trends

Here are some of the trends Adthena sees that influence top management decisions and tips on how to pivot.

Travel health insurance

Trends in Adthena Travel Insurance

C-Suite needs:

  • The CEO monitors the movements on a daily basis.
  • High volatility in travel insurance in key categories.
  • Pivot to new segments.
  • Prepare budgets for the S2 rebound.

Retail – Household Appliances

Retail - Adthena Home Appliances

C-Suite needs:

  • Be the # 1 in the home appliance category in all regions.
  • Improve the efficiency of C-Suite reports in all regions.
  • Confidence to enter new markets – land and grow.

Fashion retail

Adthena Fashion Retail

C-Suite needs:

  • Support the transition from physical to digital stores.
  • Keep pushing “seasonal” trends through unprecedented times.
  • Double the brand, save generic expenses.

Car insurance

Auto Insurance Trends from Adthena

Objective of the C-Suite:

  • ROAS by region and allocate.
  • Brand equity by region.
  • Messaging by region.
  • Direct agency strategies.

Technology: Hosting

Technology - Adthena Hosting Trends

Objective of the C-Suite:

  • Difficult market for lead generation.
  • Top of the funnel brand awareness strategy goal for expansion.
  • Observations from the main market players for the next steps.
  • Influx of competition, up to 7 new entrants.

electronic games

Adthena eGaming trends

Objective of the C-Suite:

  • Sports betting closed throughout Europe.
  • Immediate pivot in slots / casino strategy.
  • Expand the territories.

Custom agency product

How to conduct a paid search strategy on the C-SuiteHow to conduct a paid search strategy on the C-Suite

Objective of the C-Suite:

  • Unique COVID-19 reports.
  • Market movements at a glance.
  • Secure account budgets.

[Video Recap] Paid referencing: driving strategy on the C-Suite

Watch the video recap of the webinar presentation and question-and-answer session.

Or check out the SlideShare below.

Join us for our next webinar!

How We Built Over 600 Links In 30 Days And You Can Too

Learn how to optimize your landing pages and make better use of the traffic you are already getting. Join our next webinar on Wednesday, December 15 at 2 p.m. ET, and learn how to rank higher on Google’s SERPs.

Image credits

In-Post Images: Adthena

Brandon D. James