Building Your Business Contact List: A Hedge Against the Fiscal Cliff

How can building your business contact list save your company from the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ in 2013? Well, all by itself, list building can’t do much. But if it’s part of a broader marketing and business strategy to address the potential crisis ahead, then it can be one of the most effective measures to let your revenue-generating activities bear the brunt of the possible economic fallout early next year.

As you may very well know, the clock is ticking down for Congress to get something done to avert the detrimental impacts of the simultaneous occurrence of tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year. What do all of these have to do with building your business contacts list? Does the word “recession” ring a bell? Depending on who you talk to, the economy is expected to contract by at least 4% as a result of the fiscal cliff.

In times of economic difficulties, marketers have prudently shifted their focus toward maximizing revenue generation from an existing customer and prospect base through repeat business, up-selling/cross-selling, and other similar activities. Without a substantial pool of customers and prospects in an updated business contact database to tap into, finding such opportunities may become harder during the crisis. That’s why, as early as now, you need to build and grow your list in preparation for tougher times. Here’s how:

1. Reach out for influencers. The indirect route to your target marketing audience is an alternative path you need to consider. Fill your lists with personalities that your desired audience looks to as a source of guidance. Influencers can help you spread your message to more receptive ears.

2. Turn on the offline tap. Contact list building doesn’t have to be conducted completely online. Consider offline sources of business contacts to complement your web-based or digital efforts. This also brings the added benefit of pre-qualifying potential opportunities as interactions in real life often happen with a relatively higher level of engagement and sense of purpose.

3. Prioritize and rethink. Adapting to the changing times requires you to refocus your priorities and even reset your goals and objectives. Make sure to set your priorities according to what the situation demands. In terms of list building, consider what contacts you really need to serve and what information you need.

4. Rebuild and they will come again. The well-known saying, ‘build it, and they will come,’ needs some re-evaluation. Whatever tactics you use to grow your contact list, you need to keep in mind that your focus isn’t extracting short-term lead generation or sales results but for the longer-term perspectives of retention and loyalty.

5. Get all the help you need. Consult experts that can help you out with your list building efforts while you still have the resources at your disposal. Also, you need to consider partnering with a quality contact list provider who can be called upon to improve the usability of your databases.

Of course, whether officials are going to sit idly by and let the nation fall off the fiscal cliff is still very much a big ‘if’ at this point. Nonetheless, taking the necessary precautions against it is really worth giving some serious thought. You don’t want to be caught completely unprepared when the worst happens.