The one question your marketing needs to answer in a recession






In these difficult economic times, it’s hard not to start a sentence with “in these difficult economic times”. 

We routinely support various forms of demand gen for clients. It’s our bread and butter. And while it’s usually a slower burn than our always-be-closing B2C cousins, there’s always plenty of punchy action to keep budget-makers happy.

But here’s the thing. B2B demand gen always needs a few steps of engagement before someone is ready to buy.

And recently, I’ve stopped counting the clients who have told me in hushed tones they think their demand gen budgets are going to be cut for the remainder of the year in favor of ‘quick-turn’ tactics. 

What I’m finding is that when markets are uncertain, people don’t want long-term marketing solutions that pay off in years time. They want need sales now. 

This changes our B2B marketing framework a bit. We’re familiar in B2B marketing with finding a Why. Why choose my company over the competition? Why choose these services when others are available? 

But “in these difficult times”, you need to (urgently) answer a different question: Why now

Why now

Answering “why now?” looks a bit different than business-as-usual, go-to-market messaging. 

Instead of trying to jump out of the pack or romancing the problems we solve, Why Now messaging is punchy and abrupt. It drops an immediate spotlight on how your solution/service/company will benefit the buyer straight away. 

  • Exactly where will it save money?
  • Exactly where will it make money?
  • What’s the cost of doing nothing or of delay?
  • How fast will you see ROI?
  • Why should I believe that?

We’re speaking to more clients about how to reframe their campaigns, copy and content around these kinds of issues every day. Sometimes the focus needs to be on more specific KPIs relevant to the survival of their target audience.

Whatever benefits you land on, proving that your offer is a great response to a recession comes down to a campaign framework built to respond to a single issue: why you need this now

To answer that question, you need to develop some urgency messaging.

How do you create urgency messaging? 

In the conversations I’ve had, it’s about identifying what makes the sale of your service/solution/product irresistible. And it’s not a big investment to get this insight. 

You can start with conversations with your sales teams around the ways the conversations have changed in the last 2 months. What are the obstacles preventing prospects from buying? How have they won people over from those objections? 

With one client, we had a workshop to validate these messages with the sales and customer success teams and figure out which urgency messages resonated most. 

From there, we had a clear list of the urgency messages to test. It doesn’t have to be with a full-blown campaign—you can start small. A blog post promoted in your newsletter and shared on your organic social platforms is a good start. (A bit like we did here, if you clocked that.) 

And you don’t have to start net new. For instance, look with a fresh lens at case studies and testimonials that already touch on this single point and respin them. Chances are you already have plenty of content in your pocket that can be reframed around urgency issues. 

When you have the story and a pocket of re-packageable content, you can get incredibly targeted in your heavy-lifting tactics like PPC programs. You can inform your blogs and page content with phrases that are tailored to SEO. 

And of course, navigating “difficult times” means keeping the customers you already have. So if you want to take it to the next level, you can use solutions like Pendo on your products to spot signals of impending user attrition. 

Ultimately, if your strategy is business as usual you might find yourself needing to pivot. And it’s not a big exercise to identify some of the best urgency messages that you can test quickly to see if they land. 

And if you want someone to help, we’re here. Hell, contact me directly.

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