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How To Market To Conservatives

How To Market To Conservatives

In the past few days, I’ve shared with you how to write B2B marketing copy that runs through the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. Once you the psychographics of each technology buyer, your chances of reaching them with your marketing message become much greater.

In previous messages, we’ve talked about marketing to the Innovators, the Early Adopters, and the Early Majority (also known as pragmatists). Today, I’ll tell you about the most profitable, yet most-ignored segment of high-tech B2B buyers: the Late Majority, otherwise known as Conservatives.

Technology Adoption Life Cycle

Why Most High-Tech Companies Ignore This Market Segment

According to Geoffrey Moore, most high-tech marketing isn’t targeted at conservatives because technology companies “have no sympathy for them.” Which stands to reason – high-tech marketing is all about innovation and new ways to do things better.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are willing to say ‘no’ to a new technology just because it’s new. For them, changing the way they do anything is excruciatingly painful. They may not be old. But they’re definitely set in their ways.

The conservative may eventually buy. But only eventually. He wants to see a product so mature it’s almost wrinkled. These are the same buyers who finally bought a pocket calculator…but only begrudgingly, from Wal-Mart, for no more than 5 bucks.

Though they’ll never admit it, conservatives fear technology somewhat. If they get on board with your product, it will only be in the very late stages (hence, the name “Late Majority”).

Their only real goal in buying technology is not to get stung. Ironically, because they know so little about high-tech products, they usually do get stung – which only adds to their disdain for anything carrying the words “state of the art.”

The Conservatives’ Knee-Jerk Response
And How To Sell Around It

In any technology buying decision, doing nothing is always an option. For conservatives, this is almost always their first and favorite option. They are the consummate “wait-and-see” voice in the company. Their favorite saying is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

So it’s up to the B2B copywriter to tell the conservative something he doesn’t want to hear: his way IS broke. And needs to be fixed. This means you’ll have to share with him the implications of doing nothing.

One of the best ways to do this is to create FUD – fear, uncertainly, and doubt. One of my favorite ways to implement this in copy is to convince the conservative prospect that his normal routine is costing him money without his even realizing it.

Like this…

New DMA study shows…

Your Direct Mail Company May Be Losing Up To 27.76% On Every Mailing.
Here’s How To Get It Back

If your company relies on accurate information from a very large data warehouse, this could be one of the most important letters you’ve read in a long time. Because a new study from The Direct Marketing Association proves that companies just like yours are leaving a lot of money on the table with each mailing – money that should be going into your company’s sales, but isn’t.

This recent DMA study shows why. Most direct mail companies have to wait an average of 3 days to get viable reports from their data warehouse. 3 Days! No wonder companies like yours are losing so much revenue. It takes too long to get accurate data to base a decision on.

Granted, 3 days might have meant a quick decision 30 years ago. But on internet time, it’s an eternity. As fast as the direct response business moves today, you need to know today what campaign you’re going to run tomorrow. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to lose 3 days worth of sales with every mailing you run.

The XYZ Corporation knew they couldn’t afford that. That’s why they bought the [product name withheld] from [company name withheld]. It gives them accurate, timely sales data from their Oracle 10g Data Warehouse in as little as 30 minutes!

How To Gently Rock A Conservative’s World

The technological conservative buyer sees himself as someone who has “arrived,” even if he’s not in the corner office. He doesn’t come to work to set the world on fire anymore. He wants to coast to retirement without any more bumps in the road.

Now, please don’t think a conservative won’t buy into any new technology (that’s what laggards do). He will buy, as long as he doesn’t have to change the way he does anything. That presents the B2B copywriter with this chilling challenge…

You have to show the conservative….

  • He’ll coast more smoothly with your product than without it – paint him word pictures of him and his staff accomplishing the same work today no disruptions to how they do it today. So easy to use, he won’t even know it’s there.
  • His notion of smooth sailing is an illusion– through fear, uncertainly, and doubt, convince him that what looks like smooth sailing is really a runaway bobsled to hell in disguise. And if he doesn’t change something now, he’s doomed to pay a big, disruptive price later.

Whenever I’m called upon to write high-tech advertising promos to this group, those are the two angles I’ve found to work with decent regularity.

Of these two options, the first almost always pulls better because it focuses on the positive, which conservatives generally like. The reason they resist change so much is because they like the way things work today. So if you’ve got a product that comes pre-assembled and requires very few steps to get a big benefit, that’s a good card to play.

Failing that, the conservative has also been known to respond to the second approach. He likes his old way of doing things, but he likes his paycheck and his career path even more. If you can get him to see that doing nothing might jeopardize these things he holds dear, there’s a better-than-average chance he’ll listen.

And if he listens, you’re on the road to getting your most wanted response – lead generation, a white paper download, or even a direct marketing sale.

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