In a recession, your marketing needs to work smarter, not harder. Use your marketing campaigns to not only sell to new clients but to expand within your existing customer base, focus on retention as much as (if not more!) than acquiring net new clients. This means getting closer than ever to your clients and using what you learn to sharpen your targeting. Identifying those market(s) or industries that you already have a proven track record within and leveraging your existing customers as advocates to demonstrate value.
To start your analysis, go back to basics and make sure you really understand what your client’s interests are, their pain points, where they spend their time and which social media channels, they’re most present on. Identifying where to connect with your target audience and remap the buyer journey and how you can help them are critical first steps. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients. Talk to your key client stakeholders, and pick their brains – after all, they choose to work with you, so take the time to explore what gave your product or services the edge.
Not only will you learn a huge amount, but clients appreciate you taking the time to listen to them, so you’ll not only strengthen your go-to-market approach but also build deeper relationships and trust. A bonus will be that you are quickly able to identify opportunities for expansion within your existing clients and new go-to-market propositions to test, this will keep you ahead of the competition.
“There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.” – Philip Kotler
The next step is to improve your targeting and define the firmographics and demographics that your target audience share. We know buyer journeys for complex B2B products and services can be long, and procurement is led by multiple decision-makers and influencers. Do you really know your audience? Company size, location, industry? Who are the decision-makers and influencers – their typical age, gender, qualifications, profession, position in the buying process and where they find relevant information. During this process, you’re likely to identify smaller sub-segments, and when revisiting your existing audience(s), you may find that buying habits have changed, for example, one specific job title is now more involved in the buying process.
With your target audience sharpened following the process above, it’s key to reclassify your target audience by their roles within their buying process.
Reviewing and updating the decision-making unit as well as revisiting the buyer journey regularly allows you to distinguish the following roles and how you need to adapt your marketing to target them more effectively:
- Users: A person that uses your product or service
- Initiators: People within the organisation who first see the need for the product or service
- Influencers: People who have an influence on buying or using the product or service
- Buyers: People who will purchase the product
- Gatekeepers: Someone who is between your organisation and the decision maker within the organisation you’re trying to partner with
- Decision-makers: An individual who has final authority over the purchasing decision
Solidifying the decision maker unit (DMU), you can now apply this to your marketing funnel, identifying where each person within the DMU sits within their buying journey and look to push them through with more appropriate content & engagement tactics.