In his blog post "The Greatest Marketing Lesson I Ever Learned", Todd Brown shares an insight he gained from the late advertising and marketing guru Eugene Schwartz: To sell a product or service, you must market it differently depending on what stage of sophistication your market is in at the time.
The idea is that, when a product or service is new to the marketplace, simple claims are typically accepted by buyers. As the market matures, and the same promise is made over and over by different providers, the market progresses to a new level of sophistication. Marketers need to enlarge their claims. As the market reaches a third, even more advanced, level of sophistication, it becomes necessary to market through unique value propositions. And, as prospects achieve the highest levels of sophistication and even unique claims begin to lose potency with buyers, marketers must shift again, says Schwartz, this time to prospect-centered tactics.
To me the fascinating thing about all this is that blogging has "come into its own" as an important marketing tactic precisely because it is so prospect-centered. Blogging represents "pull marketing" in that connects those in need of solutions with precisely those who can provide those solutions. In one of my early Say It For You blog posts, I cited an experiment done some years ago having to do with people’s attention and the way that attention is engaged.
The subjects of the study were people (several hundred of them) who drove the same route every day to work and back, passing a giant billboard advertising new cars. When questioned, almost none of these people could remember even seeing a billboard, much less that it was about cars. On the other hand, the moment a person was in the market for a car, he’d notice the billboard immediately.
This study about car billboards sums up the reasons blogging has become such an important part of any business’ marketing plan. Your blog posts are out there on the Internet "super-highway", available for anyone to see. But the only people who are going to notice your blog are those who are searching for the kinds of information, products, or services that relate to what you do! Millions of other people are "driving" on the Internet highway every hour of every day. The important thing, though, is that you’ll engage the attention of the ones who might be in the market for what you sell or who need your particular type of expert advice or service. In other words, blogging is inherently prospect-centered!
Having said that, it’s still crucial to keep your blog posts "tuned in" to the frequency and sophistication level of your target audience. Everything Schwartz taught about marketing back then is super-relevant to blogging today. Your "billboard" has caught their eye. Now, the conversion to customer and client status begins…