I am a big fan of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. As an avid reader, I find John Jantsch’s interviews with authors fascinating. He is a good curator of the important business books and he understands marketing so well, that I always come away with ideas for working smarter.
In a recent podcast, he modified his usual interview format and spoke solo about his point of view on marketing, which he wrote about in a book called The Referral Engine. The message of that podcast was so important that I’m summarizing it here.
Jantsch’s definition of marketing is: “getting someone who has a need, to know, like and trust you.” He talks about a marketing hourglass rather than a marketing funnel, as the new model for getting and keeping customers. The hourglass image means that your work does not end with the sale.
Before the sale, you need to provide information that is so valuable that your messages get past the filters
In the old marketing model of the funnel, you rounded up a lot of prospects and filtered them down until you got to the buyers. In the new model, your messages are being filtered whether you like it or not. You need to do a lot of work to get people to choose to hear from you. Everyone knows that TIVO, for example allows people to fast forward through commercials. Consider as well, how Facebook filters your updates and Google filters your website. Getting seen depends on your ability to be highly valuable to the customer. No one is going to pay attention unless the focus is on them and their needs. That could mean providing education or training. It could mean offering trial versions and creating very low barriers to entry. The old model of know and buy is gone. In the new model, a different type of work is involved before the sale to earn the customers’ attention and their trust.
The customer experience is an important part of the sale
If, after a great deal of effort creating fantastic content and giving people a taste of your expertise, your product or your service, you’ve gotten a new customer, do not lose him! Ask yourself, what would the perfect new customer experience look like? Ask yourself what additional information would you need in order to enhance and measure that experience? Would you need to add auxiliary products? Would the customer experience be enhanced if you added maintenance, support, or education? Ask your customers what else you can do for them and what would make it easier for them to buy.
After the sale, a new kind of work begins
You have made the sale and reached the bottom of the hourglass. What it took to get your customers to know, like and trust you was a tremendous level or energy. What it takes to keep that customer and make her work for you is something different. Your greatest marketing asset is a happy customer. The bottom of the hourglass is about getting that customer to buy again and then refer business to you. That’s how your business grows in a world where recommendations from others are the driving force in purchasing decisions. At the bottom of the hourglass are referrals because word of mouth is the most effective and least costly form of advertising.