“When all you have is hammers, everything looks like a nail.”
The wisdom of these words is that even the most useful tools are not applicable nor helpful at all times nor for all purposes. This is especially true in Marketing, which has so many facets to it that most people don’t realize! Some seem to think that Marketing is single tool and that simple things like Social Media, Advertising, Direct Mail, and Point of Sale all accomplish the same goal of marketing your product.
The truth is marketing is a broad topic encompassing many different goals and, therefore, different tools are needed to accomplish them. So while, for example, Social Media and Digital Marketing has it place, it is only a small part what marketing is.
So what does Marketing encompass?
You can easily say terms like the 4 Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) or even 5 Ps of Marketing to add in People. Or, another widely promoted approach focuses on Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action (AIDA).
In reality, all of those elements are just part of the bigger role that marketing plays through all of the stages in which a brand can engage its customers.
Before considering any of these acronyms, it’s best to look at the marketing landscape and the stages at which a brand touches the consumer. We call these Marketing Touch Points:
1. Awareness: the consumer’s first insight into your brand/company.
This is the arena where the potential new consumer that is unaware of your product or service is introduced to you.
2. Consideration: the consumer is aware of you and what you have to offer.
This is the arena where your potential customer is aware of you, and is now presented with information to help them decide if you are a company that adds value to them.
3. Decision: the consumer has reviewed what you have to offer and wants to expand the relationship and finally engage with you.
The consumer has all the info, and depending on whether or not they see value in your offerings, they will take action to engage with you or not.
4. Post Sale: the consumer has bought, and you have delivered on what you said you would do.
This is the arena where the potential client has switched over to an actual client, you have delivered on everything you said you would do. This is also a period where the sales transfers over from a sales person/retailer over to the company as a whole. Finally, this is also the opportunity to turn a customer into a fan/repeat customer.
5. Referral: the consumer has an opinion of who you are through the actions that have taken place so far.
This arena is the tell-all aspect of what you have done so far as a company to please the consumer. Just remember the old saying “a happy customer will tell 9 people an unhappy one will tell 16.” The exact numbers of the saying is irrelevant, just know that unhappy customers are more vocal. In this stage, you need to be able to either fix what wasn’t fulfilled from the expectation levels of the previous stages.
6. Lifetime Customer/Ambassador: the consumer will never consider another brand.
This is the arena where you have reached the pinnacle of success along the way. You have communicated efficiently, you have delivered on everything you said you would, and they have decided that engaging with another brand has no added value!
So, the ultimate goal for a company is to make a potential customer a lifetime customer. But to get there, you need to put the effort into all of the stages to move them along. You cannot jump stages! You must engage the customer in every stage in order to get them to the final stage, which brings the most value to your business for years to come.