As marketers, we sometimes run into people who think that just because they have a great idea or product, everyone will want it. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t. Just because you have a great idea, it doesn’t mean people even know about it, much less realize they need or want it.
When you think about it, every great product and service began as a new idea. What makes some ideas successful while others never get off the ground?
There are five stages in a typical marketing/sales cycle: Unaware, Aware, Understand, Conviction, Action. The point of sales and marketing is to move the consumer through these five stages until a sale is made.
When a new idea hits the market, almost all consumers are at the unaware stage. The product is new so people are unaware of it. The first thing to do is to move people from the Unaware to Aware stage.
Some studies show that it takes an average of seven touches before people recognize and remember something new. Establish a brand and keep hammering it home.
Okay, now that people know about your product, do they understand it? Do they get what it is going to do for them? “Which means . . .” is an important part of marketing. It’s not enough to tell people that this fancy new gadget has seven adjustments; you need to tell them that this gadget has seven adjustments “which means” it has two more than anyone else and can be adjusted perfectly to fit Joe Customer’s needs. You also need to tell consumers exactly what a product or service will do for them, i.e., “this means your life will be better because it will cut your cleaning time in half,” etc. People need to understand the value of something in order to buy it.
If you have marketed your product correctly and identified what it’s going to do for Joe Customer, not only is everyone now aware of your gizmo, but they are convinced beyond doubt that they need it, or that this is the best option for them.
Aha — the final moment. The sale is made. You’ve successfully moved your customer from being totally unaware of your project to taking action to buy it. Congratulations!
Think about the last big purchase you made. Chances are you knew you needed something — let’s say a new TV — but you were unaware of your choices. You visited your local electronics store and looked at the wide variety of choices. Now you are aware of brands and are doing your research to understand what one brand offers over another. Depending on the urgency of the purchase, you may have gone home to do more research until you were convinced you knew what TV was the right choice for you. You then went back to the electronics store and made the purchase (action).
If you have an idea, service or product that isn’t getting enough attention, give some thought to how your marketing efforts fit this cycle. Bringing a new product to marketing without developing a road map to lead consumers through these five stages is a little like winking in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but no one else does.