The point of all the activities that surround marketing is to win customers over, to have them choose you over the other company/product/service. Stephen Denny writes that you could be doubling your ROI by winning in the last three feet. I'll give you the punch line: it's all about focus on execution.
This is particularly important when resources are scarce and times get tough. For your budget to be working - in funds and efforts - focus needs to come in at the moment of customer engagement, the point of influence.
ROI was the topic of yesterday's Blog Council meeting and unconference. How can a company and a business be at the point of influence with customers? In addition to being present and engaging in the physical place where they will be making the decision, of course. Some of the thoughts I had center around:
- building outposts, as Chris Brogan describes. This means extending Web sites to be more than just the corporate home. Sean has a post on that at Buzz Canuck, he calls them Web Assets. Part of that are a corporate blog, a cause-related site, an online community, a crowd-sourcing developer/idea site. Sean also outlines Web Extensions, which are sites not owned by the company, where the business has a presence - among them are social networks, customer/shopper forums, selling sites, social aggregation sites, expert sites, event sites, etc. The Pepsi Cooler on FriendFeed is an example of that, but only when it stops being so product-centered and becomes more story-centered wrapping around customer experience. Product being the reason for the social event.
- paying attention to the outliers - as Malcolm Gladwell defines them in his new book (in stores November 18). This is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. He uses the definition to dig deeper in our understanding of success. There is a strong correlations between culture and success. While we're normally focused on examining what the individual has done, we should look at the context more. Things like the 10,000 hour rule can be helpful in framing this discussion.
- understanding the psychology of persuasion - according to Robert Cialdini, there are six principles of ethical persuasion: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency. People do go on automatic pilot. We are easily manipulated by our desire to be and to appear to be consistent with our past actions and statements, swayed by what the crowd is doing, etc. Social media plays a very important role on providing evidence for our already predisposed herd mentality, for example.
What is your point of influence in the buying process and how can you focus on that?