As a marketer at Compile, I have the unique opportunity to speak with our customers, who happen to be sales and marketing professionals themselves. It’s meta-marketing to marketers.

The upshot is that these conversations give a good insight into the challenges faced by marketers in ginning up demand for their product. Not surprisingly the biggest headache most marketers cite is the lack of high-quality leads.

There are a few ways to approach this. One is to focus purely on the marketing channels to identify the bottleneck. But marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The customers that we try to reach and engage with are part of the larger economy, major changes to which impact their buying decisions.

Too often, as marketers, we are so focused on customer personas, buying journey and engagement metrics, that we ignore the macro environment in which we and our customers operate. It’s useful to periodically take the time and understand the context in which your business operates.

For instance, if your company is an IT vendor with a sizeable chunk of business from the public sector, you can relate movements in the economy to demand in your product in three simple steps.

Chart 1: We are in a low-growth economy for the foreseeable future

Chart showing slow economic growth

Chart 2: This low growth is putting pressure on government finances

Chart showing rising public dept

Chart 3: Which in turn is dampening public sector IT spending

Chart showing low government IT spending

A similar analysis for the private sector IT market would reach much the same conclusions – a market that’s demand constrained (not much growth), and over supplied (many vendors).

How is this kind of analysis useful?

For one, it helps to tune your message. If your target customers are buyers with limited budgets, capital outlays and operating costs will be important factors when picking vendors. Messaging that highlights value, resonates more than shiny new features.

Beyond the pitch, understanding broader trends can help you focus your demand generation campaigns. In a market with zero to very low growth, the only way your company can continue to expand is to take market share from the competition.

Competitor rip-outs aren’t easy; the incumbent has the advantage of an established relationship. But if you had knowledge about the account – the current solution, when did they last upgrade, any issues with the current solution – you can reduce the information asymmetry.

Armed with the macro view, you now know the limitations of the market.

And by seeing what others miss, you can benefit from trends, whether up or down.

For Charts 1 and 2: IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO), April 2015; Chart 3: Gartner, 2013.