Many marketers have been taught the concept of the marketing funnel. The idea being that you bring leads into the top of the large opening in a funnel and push the ones that become customers through the small end. The problem I’ve always had with that is all the focus is on the chase. I happen to think that real payoff in marketing comes from expanding and focusing your thinking on how to turn a lead into an advocate for your business.
Long ago I started using the concept of the marketing hourglass. The top half indeed resembles the funnel concept, but the expanding bottom half, to my way of thinking, adds the necessary focus on the total customer experience that ultimately leads to referrals and marketing momentum.
I use the diagram below in workshops to explain the logical path a lead should follow to participate in your fully developed marketing hourglass. This concept is one of the key elements of the overall Duct Tape Marketing system, but I could conduct entire workshops around this one slide as it seems to be the easiest way to explain the marketing process in simple and practical terms. At a recent workshop an attendee came up to me and said about this diagram, “I’m an engineer by trade and this marketing stuff never made sense to me, now it finally does.” – I guess that’s the ultimate test.
The Marketing Hourglass – (click to enlarge)
When you overlay my definition of marketing – “getting someone who has a need to know, like, and trust you” with the intentional act of turning know, like and trust into try, buy, repeat, and refer you get the entire logical path for moving someone from initial awareness to advocate.
The key is to systematically develop touchpoints, processes and product/service offerings for each of the 7 phases of the hourglass.
1. Know – Your ads, article, and referred leads
2. Like – Your web site, reception, and email newsletter
3. Trust – Your marketing kit, white papers, and sales presentations
4. Try – Webinars, evaluations, and nurturing activities
5. Buy – Fulfillment, new customer kit, delivery, and financial arrangements
6. Repeat – Post customer survey, cross sell presentations, and quarterly events
7. Refer – Results reviews, partner introductions, peer 2 peer webinars, and community building
Far too many businesses attempt to go from Know to Buy and wonder why it’s so hard. By creating ways to gently move someone to trust, and perhaps even creating low cost offerings as trials, the ultimate conversion to buy gets so much easier.
In order to start your thinking about the hourglass concept and gaps you may have ponder these questions:
- What is your free or trial offering?
- What is your starter offering?
- What is your “make it easy to switch” offering?
- What is your core offering?
- What are your add-ons to increase value?
- What is your “members only” offering?
- What are your strategic partner pairings?
About the Author: John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide published by Thomas Nelson.
He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system. You can find more information by visiting www.ducttapemarketing.com