In the previous post we discussed a means of creating a simple marketing strategy using the customer’s purchase process. This helps identify the stages at which different marketing techniques, tools and assets will guide a customer toward the product or service offering. Two traditional marketing models articulate this buyer’s journey, being the ACPP or AIDA models. Essentially both models are the same. To make sure we are all on the same page, our first step will be define the stages of the purchase cycle for a common understanding. After that our next post will analyse using Traditional and Digital Marketing tactics to guide customers to our product.
As previously defined, ACPP stands for Awareness, Consideration, Preference and Purchase. We notice similarities in AIDA which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. For our purposes we will focus on articulating the ACPP model.
Be aware that the application of these models will vary by industry. For example, applying ACPPA to selling burgers in the B2C (Business to Consumer) market may be quite different from the application to the B2B (Business to Business) market of selling multi-million dollar industrial gas turbines – for example.
Tools and tactics at this stage draw attention to the product, service or brand. Here the intention is to ensure that the target market merely knows of the offering. Among the best known traditional marketing tactics here was to run a TV advertisement. I recall LG’s early entry into North America included televised ads showing a series of LG products that brought attention to the viewer that LG products included refrigerators, cell phones, ranges, air conditioners, and flat panel TV’s – followed by the tag line “LG… Life is Good”.
In the digital marketing realm, such an ad could be a precursor to YouTube videos, banner ad on various targeted high traffic websites, or a well crafted SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaign on Google/Bing/Yahoo.
Basic familiarity and interest in the offering, are the two things you want to inspire in a customer at this point. In other words, you want the customer to be interested in enough, and familiar enough with the offering to consider it as an option. This phase means providing some information about the core offering to get the customer engaged enough to want to know more about the offering. Infographics are a great example of consideration inspiring tools. An infographic might provide interesting factoids about the percent of users of the brand – who are succeeding in their industry, for example. From the traditional marketing world, a poster showing an attractive model sweating during a hot summer day, but smiling in the midst of taking a refreshing drink an ice-cold bottle of Coca-cola. If you had never had a drink of Coca-cola, this might not convince you to buy a Coke… but it one a swelteringly hot day – it might make you consider the refreshing option.
Preference provides information or a clincher argument which stirs up the desire to purchase the product. This is the critical intent phase, which converts a prospect into a customer. In a complex sale, the product specifications sheet (product specs), product page, or detailed offering brochure all help the customer convert to a purchase decision. At this point the client is still weighing the options, deciding which features are most desired, and estimating which brand offering provides the desired options for the best price point. If there is no competitive consideration, then at this phase the prospect is considering whether the features or product benefits provide enough value to the prospect, to warrant the cost.
Beyond the product specifications and brochures, another digital marketing example of a preference inducing tactic may include a product video, including customer testimonials. Many complex offerings include Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) or Return On Investment (ROI) calculator tools, to help express the full value of the offering for the client’s specific case.
Naturally this is EVERY salesperson’s favourite phase of the buyer cycle. Here the prospect’s closing decision is made, first that they will purchase an offering and second that it will be your specific company’s offering. There are still many aspects important to this phase. Aspects to consider here are the right pricing to provide substantial value to the client, an online pricing estimator tool, the smoothness of the financial transaction, whether there are purchase options interesting to the client (financing, credit purchasing options, etc), and so on. In a B2C case, an easy, transparent, quick, simple and intuitive online shopping experience – will help ensure the final purchase is made.
Advocacy is a final step which McKinsey and Forrester both call, Loyalty. This step includes whether the client actually used the product, and whether they used it to its full extent. In complex software sales, this is a concern as many clients must be trained on the many and diverse product features. After a client has both purchased and used the product – advocating for the product’s strengths is a key component which differentiates many successful offering, from those that fail. As an example Paul M. Rand points out that “92% of consumers say that word of mouth recommendations are why they buy.” Word of mouth is a clear example of consumer advocacy. This is clearest on Amazon’s digital platform with a prolific number of B2C client reviews added daily.
Next Step – Marketing Plan
With a common view of the ACPPA elements, our next blog post will step through an example of creating a simple Digital Marketing Plan using the ACPPA framework.