Don’t panic! The key to marketing distress purchases

With the dreaded GDPR, there’s been a healthy amount of distress purchasing going on in the world of IT.

  • 24th May
The key to marketing distress purchases

I was talking with someone recently and we likened it to the Millennium Bug – lots of spending on IT, a lot of it born out of fear and uncertainty.  While GDPR is very ‘of the moment’, the IT industry is riddled with the need to make distress purchases – whether it’s replacing a failed server, backup windows missed, or quite simply and unexpectedly there aren’t enough software licenses to go around. Naturally, for the customer there’s a heightened sense of risk surrounding these purchases not only because of the urgency in decision-making, but the importance of not making a poor decision under the circumstances.

Ultimately, buyers facing a distress purchase want the decision to be quick and easy with the least hassle and return the most value. They want to be left feeling content that their purchase was a successful one, handled by skilled, helpful people who were able to react to their request with speed and confidence. So, it begs the question how do you successfully market a distress purchase?

Unless it’s like GDPR and there’s a compelling event forced on the target audience, it’s difficult to predict when a distress purchase will occur. Here’s some pointers to ensure you’re ready when your customer is.

Visibility is key

Ensuring that you are the go-to business for customers’ distress purchases relies heavily on your visibility. A strong presence both online and offline will make a vital difference between being chosen for the purchase and not even being considered. Something as little as making certain your business card finds its way onto the desks of your customer will give them that awareness that you are there and available to help. Direct mailers are a fantastic tool for marketing visibility and are experiencing a resurgence in light of tightening electronic marketing rules.  Clever mailing mechanics, even to the point that you can now economically embed video into your direct mail opens up a world of possibilities to get your message seen in a fun and unusual way.  You’re more likely to be remembered for it, particularly if you include a little keepsake that serves as a reminder of your business and how you can help in the eventuality of a particular distress purchase. I recently needed my washing machine repairing and I’d kept hold of the details of the company who fixed my last appliance, simply because they gave me a fridge magnet with their details on.  They were the first people I called and they did the repair.  That small useful item ensured they were at the top of my mind when I had another problem and got them the business.

Make the customer feel comfortable

A distressed customer needs to be handled carefully and made to feel they’re in safe hands. Make the benefits of your solutions are clear and confidence-inspiring.  Consider mediums like Infographics and other easily digestible content that clearly articulates your value in such a situation. Customers need to get to the hard facts fast.

Many customers will be coming to you because of your expertise in the area, as it may be that they themselves have very little understanding of the problem because of the fact that the incident was an unexpected one. Make it clear in your website copy that you are on hand to provide these services and respond quickly in such an event.  Consider having case studies that describe similar situations where you have assisted – this will reinforce your experience and build all important trust in your solutions and approach.

Remember time is of the essence

Your value will also be determined by how quickly and efficiently you can react to the situation the customer faces. Sharing genuine statistics such as SLAs or customer survey feedback specifically related to your emergency services and how you respond in these events will give customers something quick to digest and refer to when making their decision.

Have helpful, insightful content available

Producing both print and digital Whitepapers, Infographics and ‘Top Tip’ blog articles that are available for customers to view about the services you offer to satisfy a distress purchase will emphasise the fact that you are a trusted source and give customers immediate information that is of real value to them. If you also have diagrams or instructions for certain minor ‘distresses’ accessible online, customers are likely to use these and as such this keeps you in their sights when they’re next in a tight spot. Don’t be afraid to talk openly about who you’ve helped, either. Demonstrating examples of exactly who you’ve supported in their time of ‘need’ through such mediums as case studies or short videos proof points your credibility and offers reassurance.

Never take advantage

If customers are coming to you for a distress purchase, the likelihood is that they will be in a vulnerable position and under the pressure of delivering a solution quickly. Making the process easy and straightforward, while also ensuring it is completed to as high a standard as possible is key to making certain that not only are they thrilled with your services, but are willing to return to you for any other distress purchases they may need in the future.

Get ahead of the ‘event’

Clearly, a customer isn’t expecting to make a distress purchase, so helping them to understand the consequences of some of the events without overly scare-mongering is important. Perhaps you have services that will help cover or protect them from such an event, so make it clear how they will help and what it will cost. It may be helpful to break the cost down into something more acceptable like a per-person, per-day, or even per-device basis. Customers are increasingly more able to translate value and are happier to buy into services when the all-important cost is put forward in this way.

Geoff Undrell Asgard Marketing

Geoff Undrell is a Director at Asgard Marketing. He enjoys working with our customers to define their marketing strategy via our Marketing Strategy Workshops but also oversees many of the content creation projects for our customers.

Geoff Undrell, Director, Asgard Marketing

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