So what does this photo of the draft beer taps at the Goose Island Brewery in Chicago have to do with integrated b2b branding and communications? Well, just like brewing craft beers is an art, the planning involved in moving (or goosing as we like to say here at Mobium) your prospects along the b2b purchase path is also an art form that business marketing practitioners need to get comfortable with.
In fact, the best conceived integrated branding programs move prospects and customers through each step of the purchase process — from being unaware of the brand to awareness to knowledge to preference to conviction to evaluation to trial to purchase and then to repurchase and advocacy. These plans do it by goosing prospects along the way — with the right amount of the right information (not all the information), the right benefits, the right offers, the right reminders and the right appeals to push them to the next stage.
7 steps in the fine art of goosing your customers and prospects:
Goose one: let them know you’re there and can deliver
In the early stages of the purchase process, messages should keep potential buyers informed that you’re in business and able to deliver. This is a continuous process. Otherwise, the odds are pretty good they’ll forget to ask for you when they really need you.
Goose two: establish contact
Later in the buying process, pay special attention to contact media. These are media that have direct connections to your audience or that make it easy for your prospects to contact you. Social networking is a good example. Make it easy for people to get the kind of information they want, how and when they want it.
Goose three: make a concrete offer
The idea is to build credibility, involvement and dialogue through some sort of action device and rationale. In this stage of the purchase path, you must give prospects a reason to believe that your product or service offer can be relied on to deliver the brand promise of benefit.
Goose four: don’t say it, be it
As prospects get closer to evaluation time, stop telling them what your brand will do for them and start showing them. “Being it” is more than conventional tactics like sampling. Or even product demonstrations. In this new age of business communications, it includes finding an excuse you can muster to get your prospect’s hands on your brand.
Goose five: information is our friend
Give qualified leads all of it you can. Give them enough information to help them make up their minds about whether what you have to offer is what they want to buy. Enough information will give them every possible excuse and rationalization to act on the emotional brand decision they’ve probably already made. And when in doubt, give them more information.
Goose six: help them sell their boss
Buyers have to sell. If they’re about to spend the company’s money, chances are they must justify their decision to someone else. Find out who that someone else usually is and build benefits for them into your communications in the latter stages of the purchase process.
Goose seven: sell the committee
The Word’s out. Companies are looking to consolidate their suppliers. They’re outsourcing and downsizing their way to success. As a result, they want to simplify. They want to do business with fewer full-service vendors. Understand that it’s usually a committee buy in b2b.
So before you go have one-too-many drafts of Smoke Goose, be sure your integrated plan has all the steps well choreographed. Then feel free to start goosing!
If you are too shy to goose, then read about it all in the Mobium e-Book – “Integrating Your Communications in the Face of Business Communications Change.” Mobium e-Books