How To Build Trusted Relationships With CIOs

How To Build Trusted Relationships With CIOs

elannert's picture

At a recent i.c.stars board committee meeting, the CIO’s were reviewing the blog of one of our clients (Sharan Hildebrand of Capax Global), they came away very impressed, and wanted to know how to subscribe so they could learn from Sharan and promote Capax to their colleagues.

Welcome to the 21st century world of inbound marketing, where CIO’s you have never even met are promoting you, and you don’t even know it.

The problem is that inbound marketing is hard. Social Media is a new tool that makes it a little easier, but becoming consistent and staying consistent with publishing is an accomplishment of its own. I have a whole new level of respect for the existing mainstream media and its processes to publish high quality and well-edited content daily or weekly. I have hope that what traditional media outlets created best (the ability to generate quality content quickly) is going to live on. In her blog, Sharan actually cites the book Curation Nation by Steven Rosenbaum. In it he talks about how the future of the magazine industry will focus on three kinds of media experiences. These are content creation, content aggregation, and content packaging. The key to survival, we are told regularly however, is to create content that engages - we need to become “inbound marketers” infographic. My question in this blog is: What does inbound marketing at scale look like?

Its great that social media publishing can activate our networks and generate referrals, and that my board members are reading and promoting Sharan. But, the funny part is that this clearly can’t work on a large scale. As more and more people in our professional networks start publishing, how are we going to keep up?

A few years ago there was some research done on social networks, and some experts dismissed the idea that one person can really have 500 plus active connections. They found that there is a theoretical limit to our active networks of about 120-150 people (Dunbar’s Number) . So, maintaining active connections with 120 people in our networks becomes the ceiling/limit/goal to be a good ‘21st century professional’. (Side note: that means carving out (if we aren’t already) time to read/engage with 4 network contacts per day to maintain a monthly touch point).

Whether this sounds like a lot or a little, this is the future/present of marketing to CIO’s. There is nothing more powerful than referrals when it comes to buying technology services - e.g. just this last week I gave referrals to one of my CIO colleagues for vendors we are using and very happy with - project management ( and mapping network fileshares in the cloud (

What do you think inbound marketing looks like at scale? Does the noise level continue to increase? Does the social landscape degrade into one of those 2 inch thick NY magazines with 10 ad pages for every content page? Or can we filter out the noise through ‘subscribing’ to only who we truly want to hear from?

A Measurable Impact

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