Converting your traffic to buyers isn’t easy – a lot of times you may end up spending thousands of dollars testing ads, traffic sources, messaging, etc and STILL not know what’s working best.
But I have helped my clients become more effective at reaching their customers using the process of identifying Customer Sophistication.
So what is Customer Sophistication?
It’s not knowledge of fine wine or access to the finest restaurants…
Basically, Customer Sophistication is based on the level of “how often they’ve heard your message before”. To be clear, I don’t mean the message specifically sent from you, or featured on your website, but “have they been exposed to what you’re selling” and if so, for how long?
There are 5 Levels of Sophistication, and each Level the customer reaches makes it more difficult for your message to break through unless it’s highly targeted and unique. This means, as a Marketer or Business Owner, you cannot sit back and expect your success to continue – you need to constantly work on your targeting and your messaging in order to gain more customers.
Level 1 – Companies that enter into the market at Level 1 are the pioneers. Think Microsoft back in the day, MySpace, or more currently, Uber. The level of interest and excitement is high because what they’re doing or offering has never been done before.
Level 2 – At level two, competitors have begun to take notice. Using Uber as an example, there is now Wingz, Lyft, etc – competitors that pretty much offer the same thing, but they’re still at an advantage because of the low saturation level of the message. For example, if Uber targets large cities, Lyft can be successful by also targeting mid-size areas.
Level 3 – At level 3 the market is getting pretty saturated, and your customers have “heard it all before” (and have possibly been burned as well). If your products are targeting customers with a Customer Sophistication Level 3, you have to work extra hard to get specific on the “transformation” that your product or service will deliver. This is the Level where most businesses fail because they’re not doing the work to figure out their UVP (Unique Value Proposition). The most “dangerous” way to hit Level 3 is after a successful journey through Levels 1 and 2. If you’ve HAD a successful business but suddenly what worked yesterday isn’t working anymore, do yourself and your business a favor and take a few days to conduct a thorough Competitive Analysis. It’s likely that the landscape has changed – a lot – and your market may be filled with noise.
Level 4 – Level 4 Communication typically involves being VERY specific with your differences versus the competition in your communications. If you’re promoting healthy recipes, it’s not just “Healthy Recipes”, it’s “Delicious Gluten-free Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Less, Completed in 20 Minutes”. When you’re talking to customers with Level 4 you need to be HIGHLY targeted in your messaging.
Level 5 – At Level 5, interest is usually waning and customers are really primed for the “next big thing”. However, if you work on your messaging and you take an existing idea and do the work to make it your own, a good business idea will continue to succeed. For example, if you’ve been successfully selling supplements and you’re finding your customers are at Level 5, do the research on the latest and greatest ingredients, talk to your manufacturers, and innovate your products. If you’re first-to-market on a “tweak” of your formula, you will find yourself enjoying some time at Levels 1 and 2 again before everyone catches up.Successful marketing is ongoing. Today, with all of the different marketing tools at your disposal, having a strong foundation based on Customers, Competition and Communication, is the only way to ensure long-term growth for your business, no matter its size.