Manufacturing a Conversation

 How to message to more than one target audience

From one of our resident geniuses, Michelle Edelman: President @ NYCA

Most good marketers stayed awake during the class which discussed that “targeting” meant what it sounded like: not being all things to all people, but finding one part of a buying population that you could own and driving a single message toward that group.

And then they graduated, only to discover that many brands have more than one target. In fact, many brands have more than one target to accomplish a single sale.

Take business-to-business purchasing, for example. The guy who holds the purse _01independent-projects_03speech-bubbles_bubblestrings is typically different than the guy who has to use the product, and those guys are different from the guy who performs the side-by-side evaluation of the options. Sometimes none of these guys knows each other particularly well, nor do they work together. There are more “no” opportunities in this sales cycle than “yes” ones.

Typically, multi-constituent decision processes are not impulse purchases. They are longer timeline, considered purchases. When working on a multi-constituent marketing plan, the key points to keep in mind are:

Know the roles of the target within the sales cycle. Map out the distinct phases of the sales cycle, flowchart style. Think about how decisions get made in each phase. Who is involved in each part of the cycle? What is their role? Where are the points of interaction between the parties?

Understand and master the tipping points. Multi-constituent purchases have higher stakes, so it’s easier for targets to say “no” and be conservative rather than risk a costly mistake that impacts others. You have to identify the “no” points. At each phase of the cycle, what is most likely to raise red flags for target audience members? Track record, complexity, and the need for education are some common blocks. How can your company neutralize these issues, and which target constituents have to be involved in this part of the process? Is there a way to proactively address the blocks, so that you don’t run into them at all during the process, or are they a natural part of how your constituents do business?

As well, there are positive tipping points. Things that you can identify that will incentivize the process to move faster. Promotional pricing and other marketing tactics can help push back lengthy evaluations.

Realize that you are creating a conversation. If vacations are planned by Mom, purchased by Dad, and kid-approved, how are you going to orchestrate marketing so that your message causes all these folks to talk? When are they all in the same room together, and what will you say that addresses all their issues in that moment? If they aren’t naturally in the same room together – as in the b2b example above – how can you create marketing communications that help them seek each other out? A good example might be a seminar on how more efficient IT operations help drive down the bottom line… appealing to the IT person and the finance guy. Involving them in the same content increases the chances they will seek each other out to discuss it.

One Response to Manufacturing a Conversation

  1. Sydney says:

    Just being within these walls is an oportunity to absorb and learn so much. Thank you!

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