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MarCom Matters

November 2012
Issue: #37

Same Time This Year

Life at the moment is calling to mind that old movie, Same Time Next Year.

It’s the one where Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn meet every year at the same quaint California coastal inn for a clandestine (is there any other kind?) affair. Now don’t get ahead of me — that’s not where I’m going with this.

I’m referring of course to Sandy the Hurricane, which meandered along the East Coast this past week to meet up with a few of its buddies — a Nor’easter that began in the Great Lakes, a cold front coming down from our neighbors to the north, and a full moon. The result was a humongous SnowEasterCane that showed how mighty Mother Nature can be.

What happened, though, was that Sandy hit New England on exactly the same day as Alfred did one year ago. Alfred being the October snowstorm that took down trees and power lines, leaving thousands stranded and without electricity for more than a week. As a loyal reader of MarCom Matters, you’ll recall that I wrote about the episode and how Dunkin’ Donuts came to my rescue.

One thing that was noticeably different this year was how much better prepared people were before Sandy hit compared to Alfred. By the middle of last week, it was getting hard to find batteries, flashlights, generators and kerosene. And the lines for groceries, propane and chainsaw tune-ups were out the door.

It seems there is no greater motivation for modifying one’s behavior than spending eight hours hunting down a D-sized battery. And that’s exactly why people chose to be ready this time around — trying to make a difficult situation as manageable and stress-free as possible.

Sitting in the dark by the fire on Tuesday, I got to thinking how B2B buyers are no different. Bad experiences over the years have inspired them to continually change and refine the way they purchase stuff. That’s because in the past they’ve been stymied by stressors like not understanding what it is your company sells, whether your products and services really address their needs, and how to pronounce your company’s name.

As a marketing communication professional, this is where you come in.

Because the more you help buyers reduce that stress, the more likely it is that they’ll choose you. And the key to easing that stress is to create buyer-centric content that provides the right information, to the right people, at the right time.

Here’s what I mean…

The bottom line: As a marketer, there’s only so much you can do to relieve buyer stress. But understanding those stressors and developing content to address them will give buyers one less reason to run out the door.

Now I just hope that Alfred and Sandy don’t decide to renew their fling this time next year.