September 10, 2014

Flip the Marketing Funnel; Create Moments of Inspiration

Whether you were schmoozing with Content Marketing World (CMWorld) attendees on the orange carpet in the expo floor or at Jacob’s Pavilion at the all-conference after-party, one overarching sentiment was shared: Andrew Davis, author of “Brandscaping” and the opening keynoter on Tuesday, Sept. 9, brought down the house.

Within minutes participants knew they were in for a treat when Davis took to the stage at 8:45 am, busting out some robot dance moves to “Turn Down the What.”

Davis began his speech with one very simple statement, “We have a funnel problem people.”

“Not like a beer pong funnel problem but a funnel problem,” he went on, eliciting laughter from the standing-room only keynote area.

As marketers, we all rely on the traditional marketing/sales funnel, one first introduced by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. The funnel is simple. It dictates that motivation to make a purchase depends on awareness of the existence of a product or service; interest in paying attention to the product's benefits; and desire for the product.

So what’s the problem with this funnel? Well, for starters, a lot has changed since 1898 but the framework we use to market and sell has remained wholly unchanged.

As such, Davis challenged CMWorld attendees to take a new world view when it comes to marketing and content creation. He encouraged marketers to begin this evolutionary process by getting closer to the center of their audience’s every day online experience. To begin, marketers should embrace the concept of a Galilean customer journey model, one that accounts for the fact that at the center of the universe is search and Google—instead of a model centered around your brand.

“Google is the comfort food of search—the meatloaf and the mashed potatoes,” Davis argued. “I love Google. I use Google all day long. So we have to look at how people actually search.”

Everything starts with a moment of inspiration, Davis argued, as an individual gets motivated to take action. Perhaps it’s the desire to look up a new recipe for dinner. Or maybe it’s a quest to find a great vacation spot.  As this journey beings, immediately one brand will come into a buyer’s head, something Davis referred to as the “initial consideration set.” After that moment, the buyer active evaluation process begins.

Consumers will start to add and subtract brands as they get closer and closer to their moment of purchase. As they get closer, they will search for more information—namely content—to help them make that decision. Once the active evaluation finishes, a new relationship is struck between a brand and a buyer.

So what’s the problem?

“We create a lot of content close to the moment of purchase,” Davis said. “… But if you look at the beginning part of the journey, that is the single largest content opportunity to drive revenue. Create moments of inspiration that send people on a journey.”

Moments of inspiration (MOI), a moment in time that sends you on a journey you didn’t expect, creates ROI, he argued.

One needs to look no further than Disney for an example of just how powerful MOI are. “Finding Nemo,” for instance, garnered almost a billion in the box office in 2003 and still reigns as the best-selling DVD. But the movie’s ability to create MOI and powerful content creation was truly noteworthy. Suddenly, six-year-olds everywhere were asking their parents to take them to the fish store so they could purchase their very own Nemo. So began the Nemo effect as children clamored to get their hands on a clownfish.

Once kids got their very own Nemo, they then needed everything else that goes along with fish care—from the aquarium to the treasure chest.

“Suddenly, you spent $300 on your $4.99 fish,” Davis said.

So stop making campaigns and start making commitments to customers, a commitment to telling a bigger story, Davis argued.

“Too often we let our quest for engagement get in the way of our goal of getting people to buy something at the end of the day,” he added.

Valuable content increases demand for the products you sell, the keynoter argued. Davis left attendees with four simple secrets to creating moments of inspiration:

  1. Build suspense: When you tell a story, create anxiety about what will happen. That way your buyers will want to know how the story ends. Content that is written for those at the moment of purchase seldom builds that suspense. 
  2. Foster aspiration: Aspiration is critical to the purchasing process. Buyers have to want more.
  3. Drive empathy: Brands have to find a way to connect on a human level with their buyers.  Figure out a way to get others emotionally invested in your product or service.
  4. Harness emotion: Marketers need to create emotional pieces of content. Emotional content gets people to act.

Looking for more from CMWorld? Check here for a recap of day one!

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