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How Can I Market to Decision-Makers?

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I am developing a mobile advertising service -- a coupon iPhone app -- for brick-and-mortar stores in Australia. My direct customers are businesses such as cafes, retail stores and gyms, among others. How do I reach decision-makers in industries such as hospitality or retail considering they're often away or busy?
First, ask yourself: Who are the biggest targets that I want to reach first? Who has the best reputation that will help me tell the rest of the marketplace, "I have earned XYZ, Inc.'s business and have already helped them increase their business by XX percent, or they made X amount of dollars recently by using my service to increase their sales or lead generation."

Once you've gotten that list, it's time to do some research on who runs the show and how they do it. Are these decision-makers methodical? Spontaneous? Humanistic? Competitive? These traits will let you in on how to get their attention. It will also give you some insight on how to address them when it comes time to sit down and present your product or service.

You can start by sending a newsletter providing marketing and sales information that a decision-maker can really sink his or her teeth into. Of course, be aware that doesn't mean you should send frequent emails or send lengthy, sales-heavy emails. Simple content that's relevant to his or her industry will suffice. You will begin to earn trust.

The next step is to reach out to them personally. If there's a "gate keeper," sell them on the benefits of why the decision-maker needs to get back with you. Many operators and receptionists are regarded as trusted advisors to what is good and what's not to invest time into. They won't allow anything they view as a sales pitch through the gate if it does nothing for the company.

Tailor this outreach so that it is relevant to the company's needs. You may also want to scan the news to find out what trends or challenges the industry is facing so that you can offer a targeted solution. You could say something like, "I just read that normal radio and magazine ads just aren't driving as much traffic as they used to. Have you heard of mobile marketing and what it's been doing for many of these kinds of businesses now?" This can give you credibility as a "solution bringer" not just a salesman.

Bottom line: Make that list, begin to reach out and then get the appointment. Once you're in, demonstrate expertise on their industry, then yours.

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