Several years ago while attending student orientation at Baylor University with our son Ryan, we observed a bike rack with a lock that secured only a wheel. The wheel was safe, but the bike was missing. I wondered at the time what reaction the owner of the bike had when he realized his bike was gone, but he still had the wheel.
In marketing, it’s similar to that bike owner; many put their security in the wrong place.
We have two choices.
We can use gimmicks and noise to get attention and do our best to influence the customer’s short-term purchasing decision and then move on to the next sale. Most make this choice.
Or there’s a second and more profitable choice; we can seek to understand the context around what motivates our customer to want to belong first and buy later.
A good place to start is with strategy and aligning our selling process with the buyer’s buying process.
How ready to buy is this person? At what stage of the buying process is the customer? Are they just gaining awareness of leading solutions? Are they discovering options? How are they validating whether the solution is a viable option for them or not? How does the buyer find her trusted sources of information? How do they find you?
Buying has changed. The buyer is in control.
Marketers who adapt to this new buying reality will thrive. Those who don’t will find themselves consigned to a steady erosion of relevance, influence, and value.