Marketing for the Precipitous Event
My friend Roger Heroux, who is one of the nation’s pre-eminent healthcare and hospitalist advisors, shared an interesting observation. He said that much of his business comes from what he calls “precipitous events”.
The word “precipitous” is an adjective that means dangerously steep or like a precipice. In marketing terms, this refers to anything that causes a swift change in the business or sales climate, making the prospect more receptive to your offer. In Roger’s industry, this can be a financial crisis or a sudden realization from a hospital executive team that their practices are leaving them in a position of competitive disadvantage.
Here are a few examples of precipitous events from other industries:
- For the CPA or tax lawyer: an audit.
- For the business lawyer: a lawsuit.
- For the efficiency consultant: drop in critical productivity metrics.
- For the maintenance expert: breakdown in critical machinery.
- For the software company or IT consultant: loss of competitive advantage.
- For the recruiter: loss of an important employee.
- For the marketing consultant: sharp drop in revenue or lead numbers.
You should strive to structure your marketing efforts so that you are in a good position to take advantage of whatever precipitous events impact your prospects. Remember that such events are powerful drivers of purchase behavior. A precipitous event can create a strong sense of urgency on the part of the buyer, thus shortening your sales cycle and reducing sensitivity to price points. In other words, you can sell faster and for more money – always a good thing for B2B marketers.
The secret, from a marketing point of view, is to make sure you are on the short list of potential vendors, and preferably the only vendor on the list. I once worked with a sales VP who complained that although his reps had a high close rate, they couldn’t make a sale if they weren’t “invited to the dance.” Fortunately, we got his sales people invited to more dances by tripling the number of qualified leads and sales went up accordingly.
The concept of Precipitous Event marketing is strongly related to another recent blog post I wrote titled B2B Pull Marketing Takes the Guesswork Out of Timing. This post will give you some ideas on how to make sure your marketing is designed to be effective, regardless of whether your prospects are in a business-as-usual mode or facing their own version of a precipitous event.