If Apple introduced a washing machine tomorrow – there would be people lined up outside of their stores to see a preview. If Whirlpool did the same thing – the yawn would be deafening.
There’s a reason for that – and we can explain why. More importantly, it is the purpose of our company – Clickafy Media Group – and this project – The Brand Media Studio – to show you why and teach you the things needed to replicate that result in your business. The simple key difference that gets Apple customers lining up around the door, and makes Whirlpool a ho-hum brand, is the difference between thinking like a publisher, producer, an impresario, and building an audience around what you are, versus being a vendor searching for a customer.
There is a difference between a customer and an audience member. What is that difference?
The Death of the Funnel
David Mamet fans are well familiar with what it takes to sell real estate, that coffee is for closers, and that second place is a set of steak knives. The epic soliloquy in Glenn Glarry – Glenn Ross about converting leads into sales has been praised and parodied. There is no doubt in my mind right now, some motivational coach somewhere is telling some sales team somewhere – A I D A (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action) or A B C (always be closing), as if he’s Alec Baldwin.
In the end – it’s about the sales funnel. The holy grail of pushing people from casual interest to handing their money over to you. I typed in “Sales funnel” into Amazon – and got 2, 831 books as results. You could read one book a day, for seven and a half years, about the sales funnel (and that’s just books with the title “Sales Funnel” – not a concept search.
Here’s the one challenge with the funnel approach. Where does the funnel end? Well when it’s drawn, the funnel, after conversion and sale, the person falls out the bottom of the funnel. That is indeed what happens in the transaction. The person buys whatever, and then to convert that person again, they have to be put back in the funnel. People who buy from you may start their journey the second time as leads (since they show some interest), but there is an entirely new dance to capture them each and every time.
That is the downfall of having a customer. Once sold, they have to be sold every single time for every single sale. It may be slightly easier the third, fourth, fifth, time, etc., but sold each and every time nevertheless.
Audience Hourglass Approach
Businesses make money two ways – attracting a new customer, and selling an existing customer more stuff. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or work for someone in a company, that’s really what you’re focused on in growing your business – adding customers, and selling them more.
The funnel focuses largely on adding new customers. It’s like a wheat thresher – wheat goes in – grain comes out, chaff gets discarded. If you want more grain – you have to plow more wheat.
When you build an audience, it doesn’t work like that. It’s an hourglass.
Consider for example Apple. Apple has an audience. They’ve built a following of people who buy into the core premise of what they sell – we are a company who serves people who think differently. Doesn’t matter if they think differently about technology, computers, or washing machines. Apple could build anything they wanted, and a ready-made audience of people will go and buy it. Apple is not the only company that has built that – but they are perhaps the most efficient example of it.
J.K. Rowling would be another example. Thanks to the Harry Potter series, there has been an entire cadre of goods and services built to forward the experience of the audience in Harry Potter. A theme park, various merchandising, etc. When Rowling comes out with a new project, there will be an audience waiting to experience it – at least give her a try and see if they like the new project.
When you build an audience, instead of a customer, the challenge is not what are you going to have to do to re-sell something new to a customer – the challenge is what can we do that continues to delight the audience in ways that is exciting to them.
For example, Apple’s new iWatch is their latest attempt to delight the audience. The computer watch has been done before (Samsung did it) – but Apple is banking its audience will appreciate it’s watch more. Long-term, however, Apple needs to come up with something quite amazing to delight this audience – another iPhone or iPod isn’t going to do it. Since Apple’s core business is finding solutions to challenges of an audience that wants to “think different” – it’s hard to know where that innovation would come from. Maybe it will be washing machines, like I wrote earlier – a set of integrated appliances. Maybe it will be smart technology that integrates your house and information. Who knows – when you’re not locked into “we sell a widget – find more customers for it”… your business opportunities to make revenue are greater.
You can do it as well
I realize people are reading this going “well that’s all well and fine for Apple, I can’t do that”. The simple answer is – yes you can. We’re going to demonstrate how here at the Studio.
We know that content marketing is now this buzzword that has come to mean something magical – it’s selling without selling – or something to that effect. The myth is simple enough – write a great blog, make a funny video, record a catchy tune, and pow – instant riches.
Like all good myths – there is some truth to it. What’s missing is the strategy and the “how” – we’re going to show you that part of it. We’re going to show you how building an audience can lead to great success – and how it can be done for any product or service. People love certain brands – but merely buy others. The difference is not that one brand makes something considerably better (doubtful), but in how certain companies approach the market. In particular, we’re going to talk a lot about the hour glass – how building an audience leads not to just one sale – but a lifetime of revenues.
I look forward to this journey with you.