The best product in the world won’t make your company successful unless you have good marketing — but good marketing isn’t as simple as just putting your product in front of as many people as possible.
Good marketing is about consistency in the messaging you’re putting across. You want to send out a recognizable voice and tone so that your prospective and current customers can tell you apart from the competition, but it’s also about keeping those themes at every point in a specific buyer’s journey. Purchasing is rarely a snap decision — your marketing needs to guide people toward it gradually.
The Importance of the Buyer’s Journey
The “buyer’s journey” is a series of steps that customers go through, starting the moment they first hear about your product (or slightly before) and ending when they make a purchase.
The tricky part is that the buyer’s journey isn’t a linear progression from A to B to C — you don’t know exactly what stage of the buyer’s journey your future customers are in, and you don’t want to be too pushy.
But if you can produce useful, relevant, informative content for every stage of the buyer’s journey and let your customers come to you during the course of their research, you can meet them where they are and only show them the content they’re ready for.
Obviously, consistency is key. Since you don’t know what stage your visitors will be in, you need to make sure that you’re making the same impression on your customers no matter what the circumstances.
In fact, it’s likely that many of your customers have already heard of your product — but not from you. They might have seen advertising when they were in no state of mind to make a purchase, they might have read a review, or they might have heard of you from a coworker or friend on social media.
If you’ve been using the same tone, voice, and language all the way through your marketing campaigns, then the impression that other people give your new prospects should be the same as the impression that you want to give them yourself.
Think about some of the biggest brands out there — Nike, for example. Nike’s messaging is that they make serious athletic wear for serious athletes. People might wear their clothes as a fashion item, they might not like Nike’s political stances, or they might prefer to shop from smaller companies, but there’s no mistaking Nike’s messaging.
Why is Consistency So Important?
The main reason that consistency is important is that purchases are not made quickly. Marketing isn’t a matter of putting your messaging in front of people until they suddenly decide to give you their money, it’s a process that takes anywhere from five to 15 points of contact before they’re gradually convinced that you meet their needs.
Essentially, you’re building a relationship with someone. Making a purchase is an expression of trust — they’re offering up their hard-earned money in exchange for the expectation that you’ll solve a problem, meet a need, or otherwise improve their lives.
In order for customers to trust you, they need to feel like they know you. Customers will ascribe a personality to your brand, whether you like it or not, so it’s in your best interest to create that personality in the image you want. Dove and Axe are both Unilever brands that both make men’s body wash, but you’d never confuse the two brands because their personalities are so distinct.
For customers to feel like they know you, they have to be aware of you, recognize you, and remember you. And for customers to recognize and remember you, they need to see the same messaging over and over.
Value Still Matters
There was a time, a few decades back, where companies didn’t concern themselves much with the opinions of their customers once they’d made a purchase. Marketing was focused on guiding (or pushing) customers through the sales funnel, but once their check cleared, it didn’t much matter what they thought of you anymore.
Those days are long gone. Companies today are increasingly aware that their existing customers are at least as important as the ones they’ve already landed. Existing customers are more likely to purchase again, they’re more likely to buy new products from you, and they’re more likely to buy upsells and cross-sells.
Most importantly, they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends, co-workers, and strangers online via reviews and testimonials. More importantly, those people want recommendations — 91 percent of customers read reviews before making a purchase.
The Bottom Line
Casting a wide net is all well and good, but you have to take into account the way people make decisions. People need to see your brand multiple times, but they can’t just be bombarded by the same message over and over. They need to be exposed to a consistent voice and tone at every stage of their buyer’s journey.
You can’t just be consistent in your messaging — your value proposition has to be consistent, too. If you’re not upholding your status as a solver of people’s problems, your reputation, your trust, and your bottom line will suffer.