In future posts I'll explain Marketing Funnel diagnostics and common mistakes companies make.
WHAT IS THE MARKETING FUNNEL?
The traditional marketing funnel - also known as product adoption or customer adoption process - is a five-step process that a consumer goes through before finally buying and adopting a company's product or service. It starts with a potential customer who is unaware that you or your product even exist, and ends with purchase and adoption.
In a business environment where social media gives customers a voice with tremendous reach, I think it's important to add a sixth stage - Advocacy. This goes beyond engaging with customers via social media - it's empowering and inspiring customers to be proactive and vocal about how much they like your company and product.
STAGES OF CUSTOMER ADOPTION AND KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
1. AwarenessYou won't be in a customer's consideration set if they don't even know that you exist. However, it's not just enough for them to know your company's name and brand. They must learn that you have a product or service to offer. This is the stage at which "there's no such thing as bad publicity" might apply.
Key questions: Are you reaching enough potential customers? What is the first impression you're making on customers as they become aware of you?
2. InterestOnce the customer knows you're out there, you have to pique their interest enough to make them want to learn more about you and your product. It's not enough to just have a great product - you have to present it in a way that that is compelling to the customer.
Key question: Are you prepared and able to provide them with the right information - the kind that will move them further down the marketing funnel - once they seek it?
3. EvaluationAt this stage, the customer is deciding whether or not you can help them. They will be using the information they gathered during the "Interest" phase to inform this decision. You will also be compared against other options and alternatives.
Key question: Do you have what it takes to stand out and offer a compelling value proposition?
4. TrialThis is the test drive phase. You've got the customer interested enough to take your product out for a spin. It's likely that this is a one-time opportunity to deliver on what you've promised - everything had better be present and working properly during this phase. Especially for inexpensive products, trial might entail a one-off purchase.
Key question: Are your company and product prepared to be tested by your customer and come out on top?
5. AdoptionIf all goes well, the customer will vote with their wallet and purchase your product. But true adoption goes beyond purchase and must include thorough acceptance. For the inexpensive products described in trial, adoption might mean you're now a regular, repeat purchase. That requires more than just a great product that just creates value for the customer. Quality, value, ease-of-use, customer service, and overall customer experience are examples of elements that can drive adoption.
Key question: Do you offer enough to your customers to drive adoption?
6. AdvocacyIdeally, your customer will be sufficiently delighted with their experience to proactively and enthusiastically promote your brand and product. Examples include posting favorable online reviews, promoting you in social media, and participating in customer service forums.
Key questions: Do you offer the right experience to motivate these behaviors? Do you provide the platforms to enable this type of advocacy?
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
The more you understand about how customers make the journey from not knowing who you are to being an enthusiastic, outspoken advocate of your brand, the more you can do to encourage others customers to do the same. This will also help you understand where you're doing well and how you can improve your performance along the marketing funnel.