Stay out front. Or get left behind.
You know the deal: Marketing builds brand awareness, helps increase sales, grows business and attracts customers. (Spoiler: that list is changing.) Back in the day, companies were smart to identify not only the best ways to market their products and services, but the best times of the year to do it. Now? Throw the notion of a “high season” out the window. Today, the name of the game is engagement. And that’s a 24/7/365 undertaking.
No news is bad news.
Acquiring new customers is—and always will be—critical. But if you’re not continuously engaging with your CURRENT customers, you’re not making progress. In the digital age, we have seemingly endless ways of doing this. With the digital age, there are more and more ways of talking to customers: Email, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest and the like, offer companies a direct pipeline to their customers.
So it’s easy, right? If only.
The flip side of having multiple, affordable marketing touchpoints is the resulting bombardment of information. Marketing overload. A general rule of thumb used to be that it took on average three exposures for a customer to act on your message (assuming that message resonated in the first place). Now, that number is a whopping 8-10, if not higher.
Move over funnel.
It’s the tried-and-true marketing tool. The ubiquitous funnel represents the stages a prospective customer goes through on their buying journey. They go something like this:
But over the past few years, the relevancy of the funnel has altered dramatically, leaving room for a new, digitally-informed strategy to take its place. And this one is about reaching people along the whole journey—before, during and most importantly, after purchase or conversion.
Say hello to the flywheel.
Unlike the funnel, with this model there is no beginning and end of the marketing process. The wheel keeps spinning and spinning no matter what, with growth and customers at the center of it all. Everything revolves around them, literally. It looks like this:
Those last two are super important. Acquiring is great, but continuing is essential. This is where social media and other digital forms of communication are critical. Social outlets allow you to connect with people every single day—or multiple times every day—if you so choose. This is how loyalty is created. Even better, it allows people to actually become part of your marketing by actively engaging with the brand. They’re no longer simply bystanders, reacting to whatever you put in front of them. This “customer energy” is your marketing ace-in-the-hole. It’s what drives more people to become aware of brands and continue on the cycle of engagement and delight.
Now put it into action.
Every industry will differ a bit in how to best implement these tactics. Let’s take the restaurant industry as an example. Social media is a great way to engage people on the most popular offerings (like breakfast). Once customers are drawn in for breakfast, you can use traditional marketing inside the restaurant to promote other things, like lunch. Layering is key. It’s your one-two punch.
Always be marketing.
Like the flow of information, success never sleeps. But humans do. So, surround yourself with a bunch of great ones. Not only will an experienced marketing partner handle everything for you, they’ll track performance and adjust accordingly to make sure your flywheel keeps spinning on all cylinders.