Chasing the Transaction - lion with megaphone on yellow background

March 17, 2023

Lisa Missenda

The Folly of Chasing the Transaction

You and every other business in the market are working hard to attract new customers to get them to buy.  A basic function of business survival.  Win new customers or you don’t eat.  While this is true across the board, marketing strategies attracting new customers are limited and foolishly focused on chasing the transaction. 

The time your customer spends in a transactional mode is small in comparison to their entire buying cycle.  Chasing the transaction always leads to the trap of competing on price.  When you compete on price your margins suffer.   The better way is to design your marketing strategy to include the time your customer spends in a relational mode.  

In her book, Impossible to Ignore, Carnem Simon, PhD points out, “Memory matters because it influences action”  The time your customer spends in a relational mode is the opportunity to earn a place in their memory. 

If your focus is too heavy on chasing the transaction your messaging will undoubtedly be filled with information people “use” to make a buying decision.  Facts and figures.   This approach is problematic since your customers are not using transactional information the way you think they are.  They are using them to rationalize a decision they have previously made to satisfy a need presented earlier in their buying cycle.   The first thing they are looking for is someone they know or are at least familiar with.  A little brand recognition.  In the absence of recognizable business on the list of their options, you will have zero distinction from your competitors.  This begins the price shopping and that is not a good place for you to be.

The Forgetting Curve

In Simon’s book she also highlights The Forgetting Curve.  This concept brings the folly of chasing the transaction fully into the spotlight.  When transactional information dominates your messaging in marketing and advertising you are asking your customer to do something nearly impossible for them to do.  Remember anything you said.  Customers in a relational mode are not taking notes.  In The Forgetting Curve, “in the first few days after exposure to content, we forget most of it, up to 90% by some accounts.”

The first things to be forgotten are things that are not needed at the moment your customer consumes the information contained in your message. As it relates to transactional messages delivered to a customer in a relational mode, the facts and figures you fill your messaging with are forgotten because they don’t need them at the time.

How are You Messaging Your Potential Clients

Messaging that will impact your customers while they are in a relational mode is driven by emotion.   Emotion is one of the most effective ways to create lasting memories.  You can’t recall what the weather was like three days ago, but you can recall what the weather was like at your wedding or another day tied to an emotional event.   The same is true for your customers.  To make it on the better side of the Forgetting Curve, create messaging that sparks an emotional reaction to those you are speaking to.  Make yourself memorable. 

Transactional messages certainly have their place and they are important.  Give yourself an advantage over your competitors and put them in the correct place.  Stop neglecting the massive opportunity to create memorable relationships with your customers.  You can’t change the way all customers behave.  You can certainly use their behavior to your advantage if you take the time to learn and build a truly strategic marketing strategy. 

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