Many businesses see the task of marketing as generating leads for salespeople to follow-up. It’s a short-sighted view that is costing small businesses millions. Marketing is the whole process of taking your goods or services to market. It’s made up of many different disciplines, each with their own skills and expertise. But, at its core, marketing has six tasks. One for each step in a buyer’s thought process.
Step 1: generating AWARENESS (See it)
Marketing task: BE THERE
This is what most people think marketing is all about. It’s getting your name known. For this you need to be there. Find out where your buyers hang out, in person or online, and make sure your business is represented.
Step 2: stimulating INTEREST (Like it)
Marketing task: BE RELEVANT
Let’s imagine that someone knows of your company, and they’ve started to think about buying something along the lines of what you sell. You need to draw them in with something of interest. For this you need to be relevant. Find out the questions they’re asking themselves at this moment. Answer them.
Step 3: surviving EVALUATION (Suss it)
Marketing task: BE PROVEN
Once you’ve gained their Interest, people will start weighing up whether you meet their buying criteria. They’ll be looking for evidence that you can deliver what you say you can. Here, you need to be proven. For every promise you make, you need to provide proof.
Step 4: enabling TRIAL (Try it)
Marketing task: BE HELPFUL
If you’ve survived scrutiny to the extent that your potential buyer believes that your company is a real contender for their business, the next step is for them to establish a sense of what it would be like if they bought from you. For this, you need to be helpful. Facilitate some way of your buyer experiencing being your customer before they become one. Don’t tell them; show them just how much you’d resolve their problem or satisfy their need.
Step 5: securing ADOPTION (Buy it)
Marketing task: BE FRIENDLY
It’s essential to recognise that people will often go with their gut at this critical hurdle. As such, you need to be friendly to ensure that they feel comfortable working with you. This can often be by virtue of your company being known by someone else in their circle. This means that you need to be friendly to everyone who could have their ear. This works like Commercial Karma.
Step 6: encouraging LOYALTY (Love it)
Marketing task: BE CONSISTENT
Here you need to ensure that a customer is in fact a customer in their own mind, rather than just on your books. And, you need to make sure that they remember why they chose you in the first place. To do this you need to be consistent. This is a big one. You’ll need to be consistent to the expectations you set through the sales process. You’ll need to be consistent with the style of interaction that’s been established. And, you’ll need to remain consistent in talking to, and valueing, your customers. Effectively, you need to be consistently doing all of the above. All of the time.
Oh, and if you're addressing these tasks - I'd definitely say it's best to do so from the bottom up. There really is no point being the company that shows up everywhere but has nothing relevant to say, has no credentials, is hard to do business with, is unfriendly and all over the place in what they're saying. Don't be that business!
© Bryony Thomas | This is an adapted excerpt from Watertight Marketing.
Author and Founder, Watertight Marketing
Bryony is an inspirational marketing speaker, and author of Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press, £14.99). Billed by Start Your Business Magazine as “a must for small businesses.” It was described by one MD as “the entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual”. By another, as the “best business book I’ve ever read.”