Marketing can be seen through the same lens as a dating relationship: you don’t go from first meeting someone to asking them to marry you in a few minutes. Instead, you have to cultivate a relationship of awareness and trust before you can take the plunge. There are specific steps you as a business owner can take to grow the relationship between a business and its customers. We sat down with our director of organizational development, Alison Grizzle, to better understand what it takes to create a successful marketing strategy.
STARNES DIGITAL: HOW DOES MY BUSINESS START DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS WITH CUSTOMERS?
Alison: The primary step to develop this relationship is knowing who your customer is and understanding the eight steps of the customer value journey, where a new customer travels from brand awareness to brand ambassador. Navigating through this process is easy if you nurture each of the eight steps carefully and strategically. When a customer transitions from one step to another, a business owner must know what the next appropriate offer is and how to keep the customer engaged until they become a sold-out fan.
Whether it’s digital or print advertising, your customer needs to have a positive experience with your brand from the first encounter. A potential customer will immediately begin to research your business online after first hearing of you. If what one finds is engaging, and the reviews confirm that your business treats customers well, they begin to enter the next phase of the journey. Your goal as a business owner is to carefully lead them to your core product, ascend them through additional purchases and turn them into a raving fan.
SD: HOW DO I KNOW WHAT MY CUSTOMERS WANT?
AG: Understanding your customer is critical to crafting your message in each stage of the customer journey. Using the customer avatar exercise to build your ideal customer will help you identify your customers’ pain points and understand how to partner with them to find a solution. Keeping your customers’ goals in mind and understanding their objections will help you speak to them in different parts of their journey to advocacy.
Once you’ve begun to understand your avatar’s needs and concerns, you’ll be able to specifically target them in each step of the customer value journey. This is the most important element of a marketing strategy. Understand your customer so well that you’re able to create an actionable strategy that transitions them from stranger to fan.
SD: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ROADBLOCK FOR BUSINESS OWNERS WHEN THEY TRY TO CREATE THEIR MARKETING STRATEGY?
AG: They have difficulty creating clarity because they understand the complexities of their business. The business owner understands each small, fine detail of the brand, product or service, but the customer just wants a clear, concise solution to a problem.
SD: HOW DO I GET MY MARKETING STRATEGY IN ORDER?
AG: Set aside time to simplify a message that aligns with your business goals. The clarity will provide insight into an action plan that maximizes your success. You’ll also have the ability to communicate your message in bite-size chunks that the public will be better able to consume. In addition, it is critical to create a plan for each of the eight phases of the journey. If each stage is not filled with actionable items, it’s possible that the business is missing potential clients. Having someone from the outside as a thought partner can help create clarity for the business owner.