THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Marketing in economic uncertainty!
The new year has ushered in a resurgence of economic nervousness, kind of like getting the seasonal flu for a second time despite receiving a vaccine.
RECESSION has crept back into the news headlines. This is happening even though several major US financial institutions recently announced that they out-performed estimates in the fourth quarter and inflation has eased a bit. The World Economic Forum is also being held this week in Davos, Switzerland which guarantees to deliver a confusing mix of economic soundbites for B2B solution providers.
It is a good time for B2B marketers, and their executive leaders, to be reminded of what to do when they’re FEELING nervous about the economy.
In 2019, Bain and Company studied the investment strategies of 3,700 companies right after the 2008 recession. The organizations that invested in their products, services, and brands experienced 17% more growth than those that did not. And they repeated that growth with 14% on average in the years following the recession. Those that did not invest, shrank.
Here are six things you can do to be part of the growth class!
Understand the buyer’s journey. Prospects will likely be feeling nervous about the economic conditions and like you, will be more careful when making purchasing decisions. This means they will spend more time in the early to middle stages of the buyer’s journey. The marketing strategy you employ must include communicating helpfully during the entire buyer’s journey, not just the features and benefits of your products or services.
Invest in customized market research. Whether you purchase standard market research or not, invest in custom research that will answer specific questions you have about the sentiments of your target audience during economic uncertainty. This will help you align your marketing content with those things that your target audience cares about now.
Invest more in content marketing. The early and middle stages of the buyer’s journey require marketing content aimed at helping your prospects before they are ready to buy. This means more thought leadership, white papers, advice in solving problems related to your solutions, and case studies.
Advertise. In 2008 and 2009 I was responsible for advertising sales for several online publications that later grew into Life Science Connect. While many of our clients reduced or eliminated their advertising programs with us, we saw no decrease in reader activity. Our audience was as active as they were before the economic downturn. Those companies that advertised through the downturn continued to influence their target audiences and they emerged from that recession significantly stronger than their competitors that cut advertising.
Measure results differently. Far too many B2B solution providers in the life sciences space measure a single result, sales. During economic uncertainty, prospects spend money more carefully, and this can result in longer sales cycles and lower sales revenue in the short term. Instead, measure how your marketing content is engaging your prospects in a way that helps them advance through their buyer’s journey.
Increase your empathy when doing sales follow-ups. Many salespeople have a terrible habit of treating every contact they receive from marketing as a ready to buy lead. Rather, you should modify your follow-up process to align with where the prospect is in the buyer’s journey. If the prospect happened to download an e-book on virtual clinical trials or attended a webinar on aseptic fill-finish best practices, it doesn’t mean they want to purchase those services. It does mean they have an interest in those topics, may have some follow-on questions, and could be interested in similar helpful content.
I hope you have a great week!
And please visit us at follow your buyer for more.
Chief Editor | Follow Your Buyer