While composing this blog I heard a piece on NPR, about how flowers are nature’s ad men. In order to attract bees – vital to a plant’s reproduction – flowers use a multi-sensory, 'brand led' approach. To us, the visible spectrum is their most obvious tool, followed by fragrance, and bees see ultraviolet light as well. But, it turns out that the humble bee is attracted to flowers by an invisible force – electricity. A bee is able to detect electric fields, and these are unique to each flower. Research published in Science Magazine this week shows that it is this electrical field, in combination with the other attributes of smell, colour, and the ultraviolet spectrum, which attracts the bee. All in all, this tool kit amounts to a brand. For a flower that brand needs to be distinctly different to ensure the plant’s survival as a species.
When I think about the concept 'magnetic demand', I visualize this sort of multi-sensory, subtle, invisible force, the kind that makes a flower appealing, and the kind that you need in order to make your product "magnetic to customers".
What is it?
Business is about attracting customers, customers who desire what you have to sell. It is therefore necessary to ensure your business proposition is compelling, then buyers are irresistibly drawn to it. By this means you achieve more quality sales through design, not by accident. Simple enough on the surface, however it takes a real 'dig under the hood', to understand what your brand experience is all about, and to translate that into meaningful touch points for your buyers.
Great products are not enough. Understanding your buyers, their journey, their tastes and preferences, enables you to target Lead Generation campaigns much more efficiently. Done correctly, it means you turn Lead Generation into real Demand Generation. This way you are talking to your prospects before they turn into qualified leads, and you capture mindshare for your brand, without having sold or pushed a product onto them. If you understand the types of questions a buyer might have, and speak to their motivations while they want to be educated on your product category, you will start to generate a relationship that should pay dividends when they move into the purchase cycle.
Understanding your audience and what they are seeking means you can build content that engages. Rather than telling (or shouting down a megaphone to whoever will listen), you can connect with people in order to build brand equity. The old sales adage applies: “Telling is not selling”.
No amount of good content will begin to deliver quality leads and sales without the right programme of audience engagement. Markets require active conversation now. Passive marketing where people sit in front of television to receive messages is dying. People sitting in front of TV are playing or working on tablets or laptops, perhaps engaging with friends on-line. They are essentially interacting in a low-key way. Conversations are engendered by interesting stories that people naturally want to share or participate in. The aim of your content should be to tell such stories, thereby becoming a part of that low-key conversation going on in the background. Referring to the flowers and bees model - each is motivated by two different but potent forces, sex and sustenance. Stories help sustain us, help connect us to people as well as to brands, and this way lead to demand generation.
A sale will happen once someone, having had a conversation with you, engages with your story and then wants to take it to the next level. Over time, the appropriate renewal of contact will turn that conversation into action, and generate more than just a lead – it will generate demand. Understanding the social context of a buyer’s interaction with your organization can make all the difference. Being appropriate is one of the first social skills we learn, and the same applies to social media interactions. Striking up a conversation that is relevant to your current social interaction will build brand trust. Inappropriate or pushy interaction in social media will reduce brand equity. Social media has been seen as something companies have to do, because everyone is doing it. The design of your social media conversation, rather than being a 'me too' approach, is crucial to generating demand. In essence you want your products and your brand to be Social by Design, rather than by accident.
Why would you want it?
Handled properly, enquirers will turn into buyers, who in turn will become recommenders through the strongest demand generator of all – personal endorsement. And the cheapest way to get leads is by referral. Put simply, Magnetic Demand means you attract more sales, and better ones at that. It is built when you make the investment in understanding your overall brand proposition and how people experience your organization. That understanding is then turned into content that engages your market, wherever they are on the buying journey.
It is far more efficient to build longer lasting and sustained demand than to try forcing sales based on ad-hoc campaigns. Such efficiency gives a better return on the investment of your marketing spend. You want to court the bees and help them remember where to come for your brand of pollen. Your goal is the same – you want to not just survive, but thrive in the market.