Friday, February 04, 2005

Marketing Awareness & Relationship Building Cycle


Seeing the big picture always helps me understand where all of the little parts fit. The big picture illustrated above is the path of awareness a prospective client travels as they are pursued by a person or firm and, what is the most effective means to influence the prospect as their awareness of their pursuer grows? Let's take a brief look at each of the six stages:

Do Not Know You
The prospect has never heard of you or your firm. They probably have an existing relationship with an attorney or firm. The most effective and efficient means of reaching this person is through your broader marketing/eminence programs.

Know of You
The prospect has heard of you or firm though your awareness programs, in conversation, or their own discovery. Their awareness of you is name only. They may know what it is you say you do, but really do not know and formed no opinion about your or your firm. The prospect is indifferent. The most effective and efficient means of reaching this person is through your broader marketing/eminence programs.

Have an Opinion About You
The prospect has formed an opinion (or impression) about you or your firm. Their opinion will be either positive or negative. They can no longer be indifferent though they often say they are. Their opinion came from hearing you or someone from your firm speak at a conference, seminar or event; Reading an article, white paper, biography; Hearing of you in a conversation when someone else stated their opinion; Have seen your marketing collateral/letters/web site, etc. The most effective and efficient means of reaching this person is through your broader marketing/eminence programs with support from business development and networking activities to quicken their learning curve.

Are Drawn to You
In this stage they've determined that you or your firm has "something" they might not find anywhere else. They will want to have a direct relationship with you or someone in your firm and will begin to assign emotional values to their choices. In this stage your relationship with the prospect is unbalanced. They are beginning to make an emotional investment in the relationship they will be wary of any inconsistencies. The power of rejection is on their side of the table and they may be quick to exersize it.

The exception to who holds the power of rejection is if they believe they need you or your firm for intangible gain (status, influence, or connections).

In this stage they are still hyper-aware of any information they see or hear about you. They will actively look for anything that supports their perceptions and they will be talking about you with peers, advisors, and other service providers. The most effective and efficient means of reaching this person is through your business development and networking activities with support from marketing/eminence programs.

Are Ready to Make a Choice
The prospect is wants to formalize the business relationship with you. They are in a balanced intellectual and emotional state and feel an affinity to the individual they will work with from your firm. They are increasingly irritated by existing services relationships and will become an advocate for change. The most effective and efficient means of reaching this person is through partner involvement, and business development activities.
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Are Loyal to You
The prospect is now a client. They have an emotional attachment to you and the services you provide. They see you as an advisor, contributor to their business, and a friend. They are a reference and referral resource. The most effective and efficient means of reaching this person is through partner involvement, and tightly targeted retention marketing programs.

In the coming days I will be writing about the dynamics of this cycle, effective tactics for reaching your prospects at each level of awareness, and how you might organize your efforts internally for stronger collaboration.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.