The CEO’s Role in a Company’s Marketing Funnel

This year, we saw a 15% increase in the number of Fortune 500 CEOs on social media compared to 2019. As more executives make the transition to platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, how many of them are posting with a purpose in mind and using a strategy that drives toward their business objectives?

One way to incorporate a CEO’s online presence in the brand’s overall digital marketing strategy is to first understand where they fit in at each stage of the marketing funnel.


Top-of-funnel marketing

The marketing funnel traditionally begins with the awareness stage where consumers are first introduced to a brand’s product. One important aspect to keep in mind is that the CEO’s content may be the first touchpoint potential consumers have with the brand.

Here is an example from Basecamp founder and CEO, Jason Fried.


By sharing positive user feedback and information about Basecamp’s new email service, HEY, the content has a more authentic tone. An individual unfamiliar with the product sees two things here:

  • Another user praising the service, which comes off as more authentic
  • Fried’s response, which includes more information about the service

At this stage of the marketing funnel, another common tactic for executives is to retweet or share content posted on the company’s social media channels. Twitter in particular is an effective platform for CEOs to retweet content and add their own original comment, which should ideally convey their personal perspective on the topic. This exposes branded content from the company’s marketing campaign to the executive’s audience.

However, this type of cross-promotion does have its limitations. We don’t recommend that CEOs rely on sharing content from the company account as their primary approach. If the majority of an executive’s feed is full of retweets and is mostly unoriginal content, this will be a turn off for their followers. After all, a user is following an executive on social media to hear from the individual, not the brand account.


Middle-of-funnel marketing

At this stage of the marketing funnel, your audience is already aware of your brand. CEOs and other executives at a company are an effective way to help guide consumers further down the marketing funnel.

A common example of this is through email marketing. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands looked to their leadership team to deliver key messaging.

Outside of a crisis, CEOs can be a part of a company’s regular email marketing campaign. This next example comes from Loblaws, a large-scale Canadian supermarket chain. The message itself is delivered by Galen Weston Jr., the Chairman and CEO of George Weston Limited.

screenshot of marketing email from loblaws featuring executive galen weston junior

Certain content resonates more effectively when delivered by an individual, rather than the general brand account. Personalized emails from a person are often more relatable to the audience, resulting in a stronger emotional connection. It conveys a more authentic tone and audiences appreciate thoughtful and valuable content rather than overly promotional content.


Bottom-of-funnel marketing

As we get closer to the bottom of the marketing funnel, this is where a CEO’s social media content will direct users to take a specific action such as clicking on a link, visiting a page, and so on. Whether the goal is to drive website traffic, sign-ups, or purchases, promotional content delivered by a CEO offers a few benefits including: 

  • More authentic tone of voice versus the more promotional tone of voice on a brand social media account
  • Exposing promotional content to a new audience
  • Allows the CEO to make a personal comment on the promotional content


Here is an example from Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

While the copy itself is promotional, Ray’s personality and tone are major parts of what makes this post effective. It reads more like an individual excited to share news rather than a brand pushing out a product. With promotional bottom-of-funnel content, CEOs should focus on using more relatable language, having a clear goal for the post, and making sure that promotional posts aren’t the only type of posts in their feed. Having a mix of original content and promotional content is key.


Positioning Your CEO on Social Media

Where does the CEO fit in your brand’s marketing funnel?

Whether they are managing their own personal social media or is working with an in-house or external marketing team, understanding this question leads to a more effective social media strategy with clear results.


My team and I have worked with CEOs directly or their brand’s marketing team on behalf of their CEO. What we have found is that while each of our clients have different business goals, some common questions we’ve been asked include:

  • How much of a time investment is needed to strategically (and successfully) position a CEO?
  • What type of content does our team provide for CEOs?
  • How does a social media program help a CEO and their company reach their specific goals?


If you want to discuss how a social media program can help position CEOs, you can use this calendar to set up a 30-minute consultation with me.