Turning Your Customers Into Your Competitive Advantage
There are three basic ways that a business can create competitive advantage - you can have the best product, you can have the cheapest product, or you can have the best customer experience. Of the three, which do you think is the most sustainable? Unfortunately with the speed of technology and the move to outsource, crowd-source and offshore more and more competencies, the one way to create real long-term advantage (and blow your competition out of the water) is to know your customers better than anyone else out there - and deliver what they want and need when they want and need it.
Luckily because we have access to our customers directly through social media, we can understand their needs and wants now better than ever. But what do you do with all of that information, with all of those conversations? And how do you turn a conversation on Twitter into a sale? It's going to be different for every product, service, brand and company of course, but there is a 5-step process that every customer goes through as they're trying to make a purchasing decision.
This 5-Step Process is called the Customer Buying Process. It starts with Need Recognition - people have to acknowledge that they have a need before they'll do anything. After customers recognize (and admit!) that they have a need, they start to Search for Information, for solutions that are available to solve their problem. Once they've gathered information on what's out there, they'll start to actually go through that and Evaluate the Alternatives to determine what they think will be the best solution from them. After that, they'll make a decision and actually Purchase. But, it doesn't stop there. How many times have you picked up a new pair of shoes only to return them a week later? That's the Post-Purchase Evaluation period and something that's so important to consider.
The point in understanding this process is to help ensure that you're making the information about your product or service available at all the 5 different steps and stages. Often times businesses focus on the 'evaluation of the alternative' and 'purchase decision' points only. But, if you're never showing up when people are in 'information seek' mode, you're not going to be on the radar. That's why employing an SEO and social media strategy can be so important and so empowering for your brands.
Want more information on this topic? Want to see how you can apply this 5-step process to your brand, product, service, company? Check out this video podcast (and download the worksheet) which goes into more detail. It's free for PRO Tin Shingles.
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