Every customer comes to you via a few stops.
Unless your customers are born into a relationship with you, they will have to find you somehow. Sometimes, they’ll just drive by and see your store. Or maybe they’ll find you because you’re the only vendor in the neighborhood.
For almost everyone else, your customer was actually looking and had to find you.
That means that you have to be findable. And that’s the mantra for any CMO today. But even before you try to be distinctive and resonate with your community, your customer needs to be able to find you.
In practice, then, being a marketer today means doing two things.
You have to:
- Get found (on Twitter and Facebook, but especially on Google and Bing)
- Get recommended (by your existing customers)
And that’s the gig. If you can get those things right, everything else should fall into place.
McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey work shows that people learn about solutions by (a) searching with a search engine or (b) asking their network.
So what are you doing to make either of those happen?
To get found you can:
- Spend a lot offline
- Buy pay-per-click ads
- Pay for SEO
- Publish great content that people can read, share, and link to
And to get recommended you can:
- Do great work every day
- Listen regularly to hear what your clients are saying about you
- Have content that’s easy to share
This stuff is not complex. But it’s hard. It’s hard to come up with something original to say that helps your customers solve problems. It’s hard to listen every day. And it’s especially hard to do work worthy of recommending every day. But when you do, it can pay off big.
The main problem with getting both of these things done is that competition is very different now. Your customers start their search online, and they already have a lot of information by the time they talk to you. And with so much competition around, your customers can happily live their lives without doing business with you. The universe is indifferent.
And some people say your biggest competition is the back button. Paul Graham described this state of affairs well:
The median visitor will arrive with their finger poised on the back button. Think about your own experience: most links you follow lead to something lame. Anyone who has used the web for more than a couple weeks has been trained to click on back after following a link. So your site has to say “Wait! Don’t click on back. This site isn’t lame. Look at this, for example.”
And that’s for the people who are lucky enough to get found.
Your number one priority as a marketer, then, should be to get found.
So what about your customers—what’s their journey? How are you getting found? What can you do to make sure that more prospects find you? After that, there are many more questions to answer (like how do you make sure they like what they see).
But until you get found, you don’t have a chance.
Image credit: CC by Max Klingensmith