Targeting CFOs in B2B Demand Generation

Of all the buyers in today’s expanded marketing funnel, the CFO deserves your special attention. Here’s why.

Remember yesterday’s funnel?

Okay, maybe it was never exactly this simple, but 10-15 years ago the received wisdom implied that you, the marketer, were the only influence on a certain set of buyers. It was a straight shot from info to action.

Nowadays:

Source: Forrester Research

It’s pure craziness. Buyers imbibe influence from everywhere.

People are not necessarily buying less now, but the decision cycle has greatly expanded both in terms of time and the number of people involved.

So we have to be patient, and realize the value of many more people who inhabit in the funnel.

And the new key figure to watch is the CFO, or economic buyer.

As a recent Accenture study reported, the recession has thrown the chief financial officers of enterprises into expanded roles that have made them far more involved in the buying process.

“So what?” you might reasonably ask. “What sets a CFO apart form any other C-level target?”

Tom Pisello over at CMI offers a sobering answer:

“Financial executives are different than other stakeholders because their added responsibilities require them to rely on content marketing to deliver more insights, more diagnostics, more economic information and more personalized content.”

I’d say that we as demand generation marketers are off to a good start, since content marketing is such a primary focus for us already.

But now and going forward, we should:

  • Fine-tune our content strategy—from planning and development to distribution—to appeal to the economic buyer
  • Add the economic buyer to our personas gallery
  • Provide direction and content to your midlevel researcher that can help them make the business case to the economic decision maker (a good practice in any case)

See more detailed issues and suggestions around targeting economic buyers now.

Are you already targeting the economic buyer? I’m always eager to hear your experiences, so please share them in the comments.

3 Responses to Targeting CFOs in B2B Demand Generation

  1. Tom Pisello says:

    Lauren,

    Thanks for the mention, and some great advice to help marketers face the ever more daunting task of addressing more / new stakeholders in the buying decision cycle and via more channels than ever before.

    My full analysis of the CFO taking more control of the buying cycle can be found at:

    CFOs Take More Control: Frugalnomics in Full Effect
    http://blog.alinean.com/2011/02/cfos-take-more-
    control-frugalnomics-in.html

    • Tom – Thanks for the additional CFO insight. Simply put – we need to continue to generate smart, relevant content that helps all our audiences understand the benefits of what we’re selling, and how it can help move their business forward. Looking forward to reading more myself! Cheers, Lauren

  2. kenny says:

    i see this a lot. One of the MAJOR mistakes IT vendors for example is ONLY market and sell to the CFO. When it comes to IT ( cloud or non cloud based products) the IT department hold a huge sway on the decision.

    very good article.

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