Focus On Influencers As Well As Decision Makers

Focus On Influencers As Well As Decision Makers

​In every business transaction, whether business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) there are a host of individuals involved and not just the eventual decision maker or the most obvious person holding the purse strings.

We call it the Decision Making Unit (DMU) and it’s crucial to really delve in and understand who is influencing who, when, how and why.

An influencer is anyone who has a relationship (personal or business) with the decision maker and who’s opinions, views, and role can alter or affect the thoughts of the decision maker. They can be highly influential and especially from the perspective of their relationship with the decision maker.

For example, in the family unit, the husband may hand over the credit card for payment of an item for the home but the wife is likely to have a significant opinion that will influence the choice or product or retailer.

In the business decision making unit, the budget holder may be influenced by their immediate senior, the board of directors, the finance department and their peers.

The key to understanding the influencers is in the different language they will understand when you communicate your product or service. If you solely focus on the features, benefits and outcomes associated with your decision maker and ignore the influencers then you are offering just one flavour of your proposition. If you understand that different influencers have a different agenda then you can begin to offer truly customer-focused messages and communications to each persona. A simple example is in the business development process. If you talk to your customer they have some clear needs you will solve. The influencer in finance wants to know the return on investment (ROI) and cost. The influencer in human resources will want to know any potential impact on the people in the business, processes and potentially staff recruitment. The influencer in production will want to know if there will be any required changes to systems or technologies and in sales they will want to know if there are any potentials for business development.

Focusing on multiple perspectives and adapting your marketing approach to satisfy the needs of the influencers will ensure that when the decision maker searches for support in their decision from others around the business then they are met with positive and agreeable answers. In business to consumer (B2C) focus not only on the obvious person with the cash, but also those who are likely to be impacted on their decision, the partner, the children, the parents, the friends. Everyone has a part to play as you build your brand in your target markets.

Let your competitors go after the decision maker and fight it out, whilst you subtly and cleverly add value to everyone else involved. Influence the influencers and watch the rewards come in your direction.

For help in understanding your customer personas, which will include decision makers and influencers in each of your target markets, contact Neil Wilkins at Viper Marketing.