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Top/Bottom Messaging Approach to Shorten your Buying Cycle

The Challenge

Your target audience has been identified - they are director-level individuals that will be the buyers, influencers, and users of your product. The goal, of course, is to message these folks such that they see you as an authority and solution source for the challenges they are facing, and as a result, they react and connect with your content, promotion, or company. Your executive team or your clients have a different thought. They want to hop over that target audience and speak to the C-Level instead. They believe that this method will help drive a mandate down to the buyer – therefore shortening the buying cycle. You understand their requests (and the underlying urgency), but you also know that this method can be a little tricky if done incorrectly. You must now determine the best way to communicate with your target audience manager without stepping on their professional toes. If they feel you are disrespecting their perceived authority (going over their heads), they can quickly become roadblocks and dissenting voices to your message – so what’s a marketer to do?

The Solution

Use the top/bottom approach. Pour data into the top while pushing educational information from the opposite end. If your approach focuses on what appeals to each persona type, you can’t lose. It’s more work, but it can, in fact, help shorten the buyer’s journey.

Messaging In-roads

C-level folks tend to like facts and data that will help make big decisions. They don’t have time or energy to decipher hidden messages -use facts like market stats, success data, white papers, and visuals like graphs to help connect the dots. For your influencers and solutions users, provide educational information and outline how to help their organization and department become more successful.

Connecting with Executives

Financial Sustainability, Patient Satisfaction, and Consumerism are examples of what is stressing today’s healthcare leaders. Take time to understand these challenges, dig into data, and create messaging that includes stats as well as possible solutions. If your message doesn’t ping on top concerns, they will simply ignore it or kick it downstream.

Executive Communication Ideas:

  • Spark an epiphany by making connections they may not have considered.

  • Diffuse the sense that you are messaging a commodity, focus on value and long-term benefits to key industry problems.

  • Create clarity by offering details and numbers that are meaningful to healthcare executives.

  • Use data to help induce an ‘Ah Ha’ moment that hooks them and keeps them reading or listening.

Connecting with the Target Audience

While working from the top down, you should simultaneously connect with your original target audience. Share similar information; however, it should be tailored to speak to their immediate and departmental concerns. As influencers, at some point, they will be tapped for input and feedback; therefore, consider Make sure they know you, your message, and your solution. If your message is kicked downstream by their manager, they won’t think you were trying to circumvent their authority. You will instead have created an ally and not a roadblock.

Target Audience Communication Ideas:

  • Develop checklists and other educational information that will allow them to quickly assess shortcomings and solutions

  • Provide case studies from their peers that highlight similar challenges and opportunity for success

  • Illustrate correlations between fixing their challenges and the benefits they will personally receive

  • Use Maslow’s Hierarchy of “Business” Needs thinking as a guide to ensure you are tapping in and speaking to their most basic need (for business hierarch details, see my recent article

The ability to connect the dots between your solutions and today’s c-suite executive while simultaneously connecting with your target audience takes research and industry knowledge if it’s not immediately clear. It also takes a keen understanding of the personas that will ultimately interact with your message and solution. Taking extra time to create the right content or working with a healthcare content professional will help you make the right connections up and down the corporate food chain.

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