The 5 Stages of Customer Acquisition for the Social Business (Part 3)
December 16, 2009 3 Comments
This is the third and final of a three part post.
We’ve been talking about the AIPEE Pyramid over the past couple of weeks. I haven’t embedded the full image of the AIPEE Pyramid on this post, but if you’d like to take another look, you can click here to have it open in a new window, or review Post 1 and Post 2 in their entirety by clicking on the links.
In Post 1 we introduced you to the AIPEE Pyramid, and pointed your gaze toward the enchanting Blue Circled R – the icon representative of desired destination our prospect’s journey: the R Value Exchange.
In Post 2, we took a detailed look at the 5 stages of the journey up the pyramid:
In today’s third and final post, we are going to focus on the following:
- The customer’s response to their journey up the pyramid
- The Value Exchange Retention Cycles
(1) The customer’s response to their journey up the pyramid
Humans have always been social. We’ve always told our friends, family, acquaintances and business associates about our day, our experiences, our hopes and dreams, who we like and don’t like, etc. Mitch Lieberman expands on this thought in a very worthwhile post titled Social Just Is…
Word of mouth has been around since, well, before words were written. Once upon a time, all communication was word of mouth.
What has changed is how many people we can tell things to in such a short amount of time. Social Technologies are an amplifier. The spreading of ideas, good and bad, and the repercussions of the spread of that information are now exponential.
Good experiences get amplified – an exponential boost to your brand.
Bad experiences, well, can spread like wildfire, and can do significant damage to your brand and reputation in a short amount of time. Here are some of the top negative PR events of 2009.
But really, this isn’t new either. Bad PR stories have been picked up and spread via the press for decades.
What is new is that EVERYBODY is the media. There is no longer a filter. ABC, CBS, and NBC no longer have the control over what is worth hearing about. Our peers do. You do. I do. Ashton Kutcher certainly he believes that he does.
Information and Stories that are worth spreading will be spread.
You: “Great Brian. But, what does all of this have to do with the pyramid?”
Me: “Good point. Let’s try and tie these pieces back together.”
Up to this point in the series, we’ve talked about how each prospect, one by one, makes their journey up the pyramid. There is a specialized craft in designing our sales and marketing efforts so that we can add the most value possible at each stage in the initial journey with our prospect.
But what if there was such value in what we shared that our prospects began to amplify and spread our content across their networks, at each and every stage of their journey with us?
Seth Godin expands upon this point in his blog post titled The Big Drop Off:
We try so hard to build the first circle.
This is the circle of followers, friends, subscribers, customers, media outlets and others willing to hear our pitch. This is the group we tell about our new product, our new record, our upcoming big sale. We want more of their attention and more people on the list.
Which takes our attention away from the circle that matters, which is the second circle.
The second circle are the people who hear about us from the first circle.
If the first circle is excited about what we do and it’s remarkable enough to talk about, they’ll tell two or six or ten friends each. And if we’re really good, the second circle, the people we don’t even know–they’ll tell the third circle. And it’s the third circle that makes you a hit, gets you elected and tips your idea.
The big drop off is the natural state of affairs. The big drop off is the huge decline that occurs between our enthusiasm (HEY! BUY THIS!) and the tepid actions of the first circle (yawn). Great marketers don’t spend their time making the first circle bigger. They spend all their time crafting services, products and stories that don’t drop off.
GOAL #1: Create and provide maximum value in your content and interactions
GOAL #2: Keep the amplifier in mind. Try and create so much value that people are compelled, almost mandated to share it with their network of friends and associates. Think of it this way: What could you provide to you prospects that would enable them to add value to their network by sharing it?
Hey, I know that most of you are smart savvy innovators – sales, marketing and demand generation geniuses. So let’s fast forward a bit, and assume we’ve done that. We’ve knocked it out of the park. What happens after we get to the R Exchange, and exchange value with our prospect for the first time?
(2) The Value Exchange Retention Cycles
Hopefully the relationship we’ve worked so hard to nurture doesn’t stop there. I’ve highlighted 3 areas where and how further exchange might take place. Let’s briefly touch on each of them.
A. Repeat Transactions
Depending on our business and our previous exchange, we may regularly exchange value in a similar fashion. We may keep getting referrals. We may keep selling the same consumable over and over. The monthly subscription might just keep auto-renewing. It might just take a series of brief, regular “touches” to keep the Value Exchange wheel turning . But remember, in order to keep our customers with us, we need to continue to add value. It’s a post for another day, but access to competitive alternatives has never been broader or easier.
B. Upsell Opportunities (Deeper Commitment)
We’ve had an initial exchange. But, there’s more there. We know it. They know it. There is more dialogue to be had. There are more problems to be solved. You’ll see that the retention circle extends back down into the engagement stage. Deeper dialogue covering Value Discovery, Co-Creation, Deepening of trust are now back in play, and layers of the onion are peeled back as new needs are discovered and new solutions are presented.
C. CrossSell Opportunities (Different Product and Service Offerings)
You’ll notice that this retention circle ventures all the way back down to the permission stage. Perhaps we’ve solved a set of problems for our customer. We’ve added value in a specific area. But perhaps, there are new opportunities for value exchange in areas we haven’t even touched on yet. Areas of our customer’s business that may have different rules, needs, players, politics, budgets, goals, etc. While we’ve exchanged value for one business purpose, we may need to display competency in another area in order to earn permission to engage in dialogue for that need as well.
And that, my friends, brings us to our close.
We’ve taken a look at how to get our prospect’s attention, and facilitate a journey towards a mutual value exchange. We’ve looked at how social technologies amplify everything good and bad, and we’ve taken a brief look at how our relationship with our customers (partners, influencers, etc.) can be retained and nurtured for continuous value exchange.
Now it’s your turn. I’m anxious to hear your feedback:
1. Am I on the mark? How can we adjust this image to more accurately represent how businesses today and in the future can leverage social technologies for exponential revenue growth?
2. What did I forget?
3. Where am I flat wrong?
4. How does this compare with your personal Customer Acquisition efforts today, and your plans for the future?
5. Does the image accurately reflect the concepts and ideas presented in the text?
6. And most of all, I am interested in hearing your unique, unfiltered personal insights, questions, and observations.
Thanks again for your feedback.
– Brian @CRMStrategies