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B2B Marketing – The Wonderful Journey of the Marketing Hourglass

I have been reflecting on the Marketing Hourglass – a concept developed by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing.

Marketing Hourglass Stages

The Marketing Hourglass talks about the stages that your prospect/customer goes through:  Know>Like>Trust>Try>Buy>Repeat>Refer.  Marketing in the form of awareness-building, discovery, and education (proof of concept) dominates in the Know>Like>Trust>Try phases.  Sales overlaps on Trust>Try> phases and leads the Buy phase.  Consultants and Customer Sales come in on tail end.  Regardless of where the team enters the process – all contribute to the experience.

But the important thing that the concept stresses is that the prospect/customer needs to move through all phases.  Short-cutting from Know to Buy can mean heartache.  It can mean that you lose profitability because you are trying to rush the commitment by discounting.  It can mean converting a customer that you’d rather not have which can result in distraction from better customers and poor morale within your team in having to service a less than optimal customer.

Skipping phases usually is the result of the pressure to close business “What can we do to get you to buy today?”

Spending the time to properly go through the phases of Know>Like>Trust>Try means that both parties understand one another and appreciate the value of working together.  And it requires patience.

Patience is hard (that’s why patience is a virtue).

If we adjust our expectations and view the measures, communication, and actions that foster Know>Like>Trust as exciting and important as closing – we’re on our way.

That means applying thoughtfulness and care to selecting our list, creating our messaging, formulating valuable content, and viewing each phase as crucial.

Sometimes more can be gained from what I call a “Call to make someone feel special” than a traditional “Call to Action.”  Making someone feel special – acknowledging their business, acknowledging their accomplishments, giving them a #FollowFriday call out on Twitter, sharing a blog post they’ve written – shows that we’re committed to Knowing, Liking and Trusting them as well.

By not rushing them through the process, we demonstrate that we’re in it for the long haul.  That we’re a solution provider that is truly committed to doing what is right for their business success beginning with respecting their timing.

And on such solid ground, we build a community of customers we’re delighted to serve and are far more likely to refer us.

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