With any framework, there is always a first step. It is amazing how many times the first step is glossed over. We just want to get to the “good stuff”. Just like any other discipline, breezing through the first step of a customer’s buying cycle will put your entire marketing plan at a disadvantage.
Stage 1 in the Customer Buying Cycle is Life.
This is the length of time a customer goes about their day to day before they need your goods or service for the first time or as a returning customer. How long they remain in this step of their buying cycle and how you can interact with them is important information for you to know.
The length of Stage 1: Life can vary greatly depending on your target customer and the makeup of their profile. Homeowners who fit the target profile for a roofing company may spend up to 20 years in Life. If a real estate investor is the target profile for a roofing company they might spend considerably less time in Life, depending on how frequently they purchase a property for their portfolio.
You see it.
Understanding the potential length of time a target customer will spend in the Life stage of their buying cycle gives you a tool to dial into better target customer profiles. Better customer profiles give you clarity on how to communicate and for how much time you have to build a relationship with them. Critical information to help you build a marketing plan.
How can you communicate with your target customer at this stage? It is not with facts and figures. This stage is purely relational. It represents more than 95% of the overall buying cycle. Your target customer is not ready to buy. They have not encountered a situation to kick them into a transactional state (Stage 2 of their buying cycle). Talk to them with facts and figures in the Life stage and your message will go in one ear and out the other.
Sleep is the great eraser in Life.
Each night we purge all the unnecessary information we’ve been fed. If we don’t need it we don’t retain it. In the Life stage of your target customer’s buying cycle, the details of your goods or service don’t make the cut. They will matter later, but not yet. If you want to avoid the purge, communicate with your target customer in a way they will remember you. Build a relationship with them.
Relationships are built through connection and emotion.
A deep understanding of your target customer profile will inform your marketing plan in the Life stage. What drives the relationship connection for your best customers? Relief, confidence, exclusivity, fear? How can you communicate these emotions and relate them to your business? Emotions are processed differently by our brains. Information and details to make decisions are susceptible to the purge when standing on their own. Tied to an emotion and they become part of a memory that is meaningful. Meaningful memories are resistant to the purge. The more emotion and connection tied to the memory, the more resistant they become.
When I was younger Men’s Wearhouse told me, over and over, I was going to like the way I looked if I bought clothes from them. How we look is an emotionally fueled topic. When my situation changed and I was in the market, I recalled George Zimmer’s voice instantly. I went on to spend a lot of money with Men’s Wearhouse. Unfortunately, they stopped telling me I was going to like the way I look and I don’t spend much money with them anymore. We’ll dig into that in another article.
Setting aside time to analyze and understand the Life stage is important to the success of your marketing plan. Better insight into who your target customers are will allow you to dive deeper into which target profile is the most profitable. You’ll build more effective, purge resistant marketing communications. You’ll waste less time and money while setting yourself up to be stronger in the next stage of your customer’s buying cycle, The Situation.
If you would like to learn more, I would love to talk with you more. Contact me to have a deeper conversation.