Consider how you buy products and services today, compared to just a few years ago. Whether you're buying a book, renting a movie, or getting a taxi to the airport, the buying experience has changed dramatically. Today, rather than being forced to purchase at the business's convenience, you can buy almost anything from the comfort of your own home or office or even on the go. All you need is a digital device with an Internet connection. Best of all, you can buy in real-time, at your leisure, when it's most convenient for you - the client.
Customer Expectations Have Changed
In this real-time on-demand era in which access to an infinite number of products and services is just a few clicks or voice commands away, the marketers and salespeople competing for our business must accept a new fundamental truth. The balance of power has shifted. In today's world, customers hold all the power, and the companies that succeed in it will be the ones that own the demand, not those that own the supply. Here are the three most important factors that led to this tremendous change:
Information Became Free
The days of companies being able to keep information about their products and services hidden from potential consumers are long gone. Customers no longer need to rely on marketers or salespeople to educate themselves and make educated purchase decisions thanks to search engines, online reviews, and social media recommendations.
Rather than taking the company's word for it that their product or service is worth the money or can address a certain problem, today's customers can research several resources and viewpoints to get a better picture of what they'll get from their purchase. And, of course, today's customers aren't just simply looking at the potential benefits of actual offers, but are also evaluating the firms themselves and how responsive they are to customers' needs.
Real-time Interactions Became Expected
The second reason why consumers have all the power today is that real-time interactions have become the norm. Today, billions of people across the world use real-time messaging for everyday communication. We're chatting with our coworkers at work more than ever before using online chat, and we're communicating with our friends and family using messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger.
Because of this shift in how we communicate, as well as the fact that we can now order a variety of goods and services on-demand with little effort, our customer expectations have risen. We've got used to receiving real-time answers when we have queries and demanding immediate solutions when we have problems. Today's consumers expect their relationships with companies to evolve quickly, at the speed of the Internet and social media.
Supply Became Infinite
Regardless of what you're looking for, there are now at least several alternatives available to you as a buyer and in many cases, dozens of rivals competing for your money. Simply go to any supermarket and note how many similar products are on the shelves. As a result, customers became more selective since they're used to having a vast number of options available.
This means that businesses can no longer expect to attract new clients just by showing up with their products and services, even if they have good quality. Customer demand is changing the game, and it's opening doors for businesses that once didn't exist. Companies that will succeed in today's market are the ones who create demand generation strategies to organically attract prospects based on their interest in related areas. Being able to generate supply isn't enough, you have to generate the demand.
What's Demand Generation?
Demand generation is a marketing strategy that can help you find customers who are interested in your products and services. This means you don't have to go out and declare yourself as someone who is looking for customers, but instead your marketing strategies will organically attract prospects based on their interest in similar topics.
It's not about forcing demand or deceiving people into buying things they don't want. It's all about providing useful information to people interested in your services at the perfect moment so that they're receptive to your messaging since you offer tailored solutions to meet their unique demands.
How to Create Strategy for a Successful Demand Generation Funnel?
Demand generation strategy is a plan describing a set of activities that drive awareness and interest with the ultimate goal to create a stable flow of customers interested in your products and services. It's sometimes called a demand generation funnel because each stage is often presented as a step in a funnel that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom.
While awareness and interest might seem similar at the first glance there's an important difference between them that's often missed, but is vital to reaching and influencing prospects earlier in the buying process:
The awareness phase is usually presented as the first step of the demand generation funnel and is the process of making potential customers aware of your business. The goal is achieved when the prospect knows who you are.
It's the second stage of the funnel where potential customers learn more about your company, its products and services, and any helpful information it provides. The goal of this stage is achieved when the prospect cares about what you do.
Raising awareness is useful to build trust, rapport, and attention from the prospect so that when they know who you are they are going to be more receptive to information about what you do and therefore be moved to the interest stage of the funnel far more effectively. While this holds for companies with longer sales cycles switching the order can lead to better results for companies whose clients require quick solutions to their problems.
People search for answers at the exact time they need them, and they're on the lookout for businesses that can help them fulfill their immediate needs. In other words, when making these on-the-spot decisions, they are more focused on their need than any particular solution. In the Internet era, we have all grown accustomed to getting immediate access to information. But expecting the actual service right now? That's becoming the new norm.
Since the prospect is already interested in what you do, finding who you are, and establishing trust becomes a secondary, less important step in the process of demand generation. It becomes a due diligence activity that is meant to assure the prospect that your business can deliver the outcomes they're after, dispel any doubts, and when done correctly it propagates the prospect further where they decide to engage your company to solve their problem.
To create a demand gen strategy that allows you to better influence your clients' decisions you need to start with a problem your potential customer is trying to solve, the one they're struggling with, or the one they haven't yet realised they have. To help you think about moments when customer needs arise a simple mental model has been developed to approach this daunting-sounding task. You need to begin by determining the most essential micro-moments in their journey.
What's a Micro-Moment?
A micro-moment is an intent-rich moment of opportunity that occurs when someone uses technology to fulfill a need to know, go, do, or buy. These are the four moments that matter most:
When someone is researching or exploring,
When someone is looking for a local business.
When someone wants help completing a task.
When someone is ready to make a purchase.
How to Leverage Micro-Moments to Attract Clients?
Customers are demanding faster, easier, and more personalised experiences across channels. As smart devices continue to emerge and consumers embrace novel, more natural ways of communicating using text and voice, micro-moment behaviors will only proliferate. Customers will be drawn to companies that deliver on their needs no matter what device they use or when they use it.
We're moving towards an era in which any friction to clients' satisfaction will be fatal. In this new era, it won't be enough to merely be available in a greater number of micro-moments. We'll all be required to stay ahead of clients, understand and anticipate their needs even better than they do. Here are three key areas to focus on:
Anticipate the micro-moments when your potential customers are likely to need assistance, and commit to being there to help them. Leading companies will connect online and offline to provide consumers with a consistent experience throughout their journey.
Provide your customers with a digital experience that is tailored to their current needs and deliver the information they want as quickly as possible. Content should focus on the actual needs of individuals seeking advice in the area related to products or services you provide.
Measure the collective impact of your messaging and continuously improve. You should be able to analyse and customise consumer experiences because consumers' demands for relevant, personalised, and helpful information will continue to grow.
Demand Gen Strategy to Capture Existing In-Market Demand
Customers are looking for services like yours every day, but what they want first and foremost is to receive trustworthy advice that's going to guide them through the variety of options available on the market. On one hand, they want to make the best possible choice, but on the other, they want to spend the least amount of time doing research. Once you're able to capture their attention and present yourself as the go-to guide your niche you'll also increase chances for acquiring a new customer. There are three important steps to streamline this process:
1. Understand Your Customer Needs
To be able to provide your customers with the best, most specific answers to their questions when their need arises you need to first uncover their needs, wants, and tasks they need to complete and then understand how and when these customers search for information.
2. Increase Visibility in Search Engines
When customers are researching and exploring options they turn to search engines for information, so to tap into the existing in-market demand it's good to have a basic understanding of how search engines work and how and when customers' search for information.
3. Transition Between Awareness and Interest
Once you can capture customers' attention and transfer them to your site it's important to leverage this information in your website chatbot to make a smooth transition from the search engine, because your customers expect that you should already know what they are looking for.
4. Become an Omnichannel Adviser
With the ever-growing number of channels your customers might use for interaction with your business, it's extremely important to maintain a single source of truth for all the knowledge your company owns and scale it across channels and modalities to multiply its benefits.
There's a lot of work to be done and some organisational changes may be required. It will be necessary to embrace new business practices as well as make long-term commitments. We can apply data, insight, and scale to help you deliver the most relevant messages at every micro-moment. The future is very interesting, and we're excited to be on this journey with you.