In a posting last week, I described the buying process online. In that post, I mentioned that it’s important to remember that when we evaluate our marketing strategies and tactics; it’s critical to remember that new client acquisitions (new sales) are generally the outcome of multiple influences over time. I also made reference to maximizing your visibility to your target customers during all aspects of the buy cycle.
In this week’s post – we’ll review the earliest phase of the buy-cycle; curiosity and awareness.
From a sales & marketing perspective, being discovered as early in the buying process as possible is critical.
Buy-Cycle Phase 1: Curiosity & Awareness
Since the primary goal of most overall marketing campaigns is to eventually create new customers; getting these potential customers to think of you first when they need to satisfy a need, want or desire should be among the target outcomes of any marketing campaign. Generally referred to as “exposure”; creating curiosity or general awareness about what your company does or offers provides familiarity to those that have not yet discovered you or visited your website. The overarching idea is that when a person needs to satisfy a need, want or desire they remember your name or your site and visit you directly. A strong curiosity or awareness component of any marketing campaign will keep your company in the minds of people who might not be ready to act now, but who might take action down the road.
As a prospective customer first becomes aware of your company and / or your offerings, they might be curious as to what else you can do or whether your company or your solutions or products can do everything they need for the price they can afford or in the time frame they require. At this stage, your organization is in good position to be one of the top of mind vendors for your potential customer; but you still potentially have a knowledge and / or a credibility gap with the potential customer.
The best thing any organization can do at this stage is to build a bridge across the knowledge or credibility gap. The bridge is as simple as providing something of value as soon as possible to your potential customer. More times than not, that “something of value” will be in the form of sharing information that the company has and the prospect does not. In other words, your goal at this stage is continue to educate. This education can take shape in numerous ways that provide value to your potential customers:
- PDF data sheets or catalog downloads
- Case Studies or Application Notes
- Online videos or Webinars
- Email newsletters or blog postings
- Press Clippings / PR and any number of other methods
Marketing Tactic Considerations:
To promote the availability and accessibility of this information; you should consider a combination of E-newsletter campaigns, broadcast banner advertising to a wide, but targeted audience, and direct email campaigns to your target market.
These types of campaigns are often referred to a “push” marketing as you are attempting to push your message in front of your target market to create interest and demand as opposed to waiting for them to be looking for a solution, as in the later phases of the buy cycle, and attempting to “pull” them towards you as a vendor of choice.
As potential customers “get serious” about their interest in a topic; they begin to become more proactive and specific in their research online and potentially more urgent in their need for relevant information or solutions. We’ll cover more about this as next week I’ll cover “Specific Interest and Search”as we continue to talk about marketing alignment to the buy-cycle.