Identify Key Roles

Identify Key Roles

It’s too easy to consider your customer in the context of their business type. But in reality there may be several individuals (stakeholders) involved in the decision to purchase your product or service and not all of them are suitable targets for your marketing activity.

Those who will use the product or service may not necessary be those responsible for the budget, and this affects where they sit in the power v. influence model below. For example, a product aimed at children may be advertised to parents, or a tool used by the sales team may be chosen by the IT or finance department.

Once you’ve established these roles, you can then focus your marketing activity more specifically where they will matter.

Stakeholder analysis

High Interest + High Power

In smaller businesses, where the business owner plays an active role in the day to day activities, this may be your only stakeholder. They will require close management and engagement – with appropriate information and attention and will dominate the focus on your marketing.

Low Interest + High Power

If your product or service is a necessary ‘grudge’ purchase, their may be limited interest from any stakeholder. Insurance is one potential example of this. Where this is the case, its important to make sure your customers are informed, with enough (but not too much) information to make a swift decision.

High Interest + Low Power

This can be the most complicated group to reach and you may well spend a lot of your energy initially targeting this group with your marketing activities. Although this is certainly a way to get your foot in the door, its important to consider that at some point in the customer journey, other stakeholders will require more attention.

Low Interest + Low Power

In the context of marketing, this group will barely feature in your plan. With low interest and low power, these individuals will only really come into play if they shift into another quadrant.

Understanding the roles

The marketing channels you use to reach your customers will lead you to different roles within the business.


This person may well be doing the legwork to find the right solution and could also be the eventual user. If there is a separate decision maker theirs is not the only role that matters, but without their support you won’t even get a seat at the table with the decision maker.

Depending on their role, they will be looking for different things. Engagement with influencers is critical to ensure your solution features in their considerations.

Decision Makers

Usually the decision maker holds a more senior position than the influencer, and may sit in the high power + low interest quadrant. Their time is precious and it needs to be clear to them in a very short space of time why they should make the decision in your favour.

Marketing messages aimed at the decision makers must be clear and succinct, getting straight to the point. The decision maker is also responsible for the bottom line, so its important to demonstrate the tangible benefit and the return on investment that your product or service will provide.


If, for example, you’re making a phone to a larger organisation, you may well reach an office manager or receptionist – the gatekeeper. Although they may have no interest or power in choosing your solution, they shouldn’t be ignored.

  • Don’t alienate them – show an interest in what they do and engage, rather than trying to get past them as soon as possible
  • Learn from them – They will probably play an active role in the business and if they’d be likely to interact with your product or service too
  • Empathise with them – Their role is important to you, find out more about what their role entails and if there is anything you can do to make it easier