So you run product marketing for a release 1 IT product and your target vertical is financial services.
Nice timing! Too bad about that global market meltdown thing.  It’s possible that your CEO/Project Executive might be making some noises about revisiting that decision.  Here are some things to think about.

Consider this before you bail out of Financial Services:

  • Other segments stink too – Go ahead, focus on another segment.  How about Retail?  Manufacturing?  That pesky recession thing is clobbering those segments too.
  • You picked that segment for a reason, hopefully a good one.  In the U.S. Financial Services is about 18% of IT spending, all of Wall St. is 6% of that.  Not all of financial services IT spending is grinding to a halt overnight.
  • Your product was developed with that segment in mind. Just because marketing decides to change the target market focus, doesn’t make it so.
  • The stock market is unpredictable. The past two weeks have shown that yesterday’s crisis can sometimes be tomorrow’s 1,000 point gain.

Sticking with Financial Services – Some things to do right now:

  • Tighten your segmentation – Not all of financial services is taking the same hit.  Investment Banking might not be the segment I would be chasing right now.  Wealth Management on the other hand makes more sense.  If possible, focus on the parts of the market that aren’t getting hammered.
  • Work your Accounts – When there is consolidation happening this rapidly, it pays to understand the shifting power structures inside a given account, particularly the big ones.  If you have friends at Bank of America, JP Morgan or Citibank, now would be a good time to touch base.  If you don’t have folks from these 3 on your customer advisory council – get working on it!
  • Revisit your Customer Pain Points – Trust me, trying to sell “improved productivity” in this market won’t cut it.  Cost cutting is where it’s at in a recession.  If you can’t demonstrate that, go away until you can.
  • Don’t Forget Geographies Outside of the United States – Not all geo’s are feeling the pain in the same way.  Particular segments vary but Overall IT spending continues to grow for Asia Pacific as North America remains flat.

If you can weather the storm you will be there to reap the rewards when things get better.  Forrester Research is predicting that IT spending will continue to grow and the outlook will improve in the second half of next year. If you believe that.  But don’t forget – nobody can predict the future.