Panic is really just the hysterical twin of hype. In business, both can have a radical impact on demand and on B2B marketing campaigns. That doesn’t mean the impact’s going to be good. In fact, they both have strikingly similar downsides.
Perhaps that’s one of the few upsides to the Ebola panic that’s now sweeping the United States. Forget the actual epidemic. The anxiety and paranoia that this whole mess created can be its own disease!
It’s not that hard to see the kind of lessons B2B marketers can learn here. Sharing expertise is a common tactic for attracting interest, which in turn attracts potential B2B leads.
Healthcare alone is arguably the most fact-intensive market in this sector. (It certainly reflects the same sort of intensity among consumer patients.) But when facts do nothing but incite panic, it gets harder and harder to see them as ‘facts.’ (The Ebola panic has clearly become a case in point.)
Here are some damage control techniques to help you both assess the panic and find ways to tone it back down.
- Check the source: Like a real disease, there has to be a source. Where did the information come from? Did you personally share it? How can you restate the facts in a way that don’t necessarily add fuel to the fire?
- Present counter-evidence: Once you’ve identified the misconceptions breeding the panic and where they come from, it’s time to bring in counter-evidence. What proof do you have that most of the fears are unfounded?
- Explain how they’re safe: If symptoms can be cause for panic, it makes sense to use normal signs to help prospects tell themselves they are okay. Much like the idea of Ebola’s contagious nature, you need to present ideas that show that it’s not that contagious.
- It could be worse: And lastly, play the “It could be worse.” card. It’s easier to make a problem less terrifying when you know there’s something worse out there. It’s also a fun way to tell everyone to get a grip (and perhaps sign up your contact form for a simple solution).
It really says something about panic when it reaches the level of an Onion parody. Prevent this disease by balancing the hysteria with the facts (much like you would with hype).