Go Beyond the Decision Maker: Time to Influence the Influencer
April 14, 2016
We all know that the decision maker is key to your business because... well, they make the decision. However, many B2B companies place too much emphasis on this seemingly unreachable decision maker. That's why it is essential for you to widen your focus. It's time to start influencing the influencer.
The Influencer Recognizes the Problem First
When I analyzed the visitor behavior of my former employer's website a couple of years ago, I recognized a need for a different structure. I understood why we needed it, a recommendation of action steps and the third party qualifications needed to execute it.
As an influencer, I was not the one to make the final decision on our next steps. However, the CMO relied on me heavily to identify a solution.
The point: The person closest to the problem your product or service solves is rarely the decision maker. The influencers are the first to recognize the problem and usually tasked with how to solve it.
The Influencer Researches Solutions Online
Once an issue is recognized, an influencer's logical first step in today's digital age is to research solutions on a search engine, like Google. They look for articles, blogs, papers and other pieces of content that will help them during this discovery phase.
The point: They are looking for content that confirms that they have a problem, explains the problem in detail and how similar companies have solved the problem in the past -BEFORE talking to someone. This is why having quality, helpful content optimized for search engines on your website is so important. It allows you to be in the conversation before you even know it.
The Influencer is Younger
I've heard time and time again:
"Our client doesn't use that internet stuff." "They don't read blogs." "They don't know how to use social media."
Not that I even believe this for a second, but let's just say that's the case for all decision makers. That leaves us with this early to mid career influencer who is trying to prove they can solve problems to elevate his/her career. Do they use 'that stuff'?
The point: This 25-40 year old group is much more likely to use search engines to find solutions and to turn to colleagues on social media (i.e. LinkedIn) for recommendations.
The Influencer Becomes the Decision Maker
Guess who will take the seats of the current decision makers? Guess who will remember the vendors that helped make them successful in their rise to their new position?
The point: I think it's been made.
If you are ready to discuss ways you can start widening your target audience to influencers and optimizing quality content online, let's talk!
P.S. Did you notice this entire article did not mention the term 'marketing' at all? That's because marketing is just the means by which you are found and heard by your clients. Genuine, humanized marketing should listen and solve, not tell and sell.