Is focus on “in market” buyers a good trend?

Let’s face it. Marketing budgets are going to be tighter and more focused on driving immediate, tangible results in 2009. I believe that this is good discipline that unfortunately gets lost in “good times.”

A key part of this discipline is targeting buyers who are in the market for what you have to sell. Car companies are certainly focused on this. According to Adweek there will be less experimentation and more concentration on activities that drive buyers through the funnel. I believe this approach makes sense for all kinds of industries. Financial services, computers, phones, travel, homes, technology infrastructure…It doesn’t matter.

To adopt and prosper from this discipline, ask yourself these six questions:

1. Are your defining marketing objectives that can connect directly to improving sales? Leads do. Awareness generally does not.

2. Do you know how to connect with the issues that are motivating buyers to be in market? If you know why they are acting, you can tap into that insight.

3. Are you reaching them in the most efficient places? If you are still buying media based on demographics and not behaviors, odds are you are not efficient enough yet.

4. Are you converting buyers’ in-market behavior into brand preference and purchase? Audit your Web presence (your site , competitors’ sites and category information sites). You may be unpleasantly surprised by what you find.

5. Is your creative designed to move a buyer to the next step or to build the brand? Bias to the former, but in a way that does both. This is not the time to hope that focusing on the latter will get the job done.

6. Are you reviewing the right measures? We still see clients optimizing the wrong activities because that is what their measurement systems are set up to report. For example, if cost per lead or click is the prime measure, it can result in a high volume of unqualified leads or clicks.

So I believe optimizing your 2009 marketing around in-market buyers is a good thing. What do you think?