Understanding your audience’s motivations and purchasing behavior is the secret to closing more sales. In this article, we’ll discuss the huge impact that brand awareness can have on the success or failure of a sales pitch. Before we get into why brand awareness is one of Ð if not the most Ð important factors affecting the sales cycle, let’s review the five steps of the customer buying cycle, as it will provide valuable background information that will help you understand the importance of brand awareness more clearly.
The customer buying cycle
Keep in mind that these five steps are the same for both B2B and B2C customers, and they happen in order, though each person may take a different length of time to move from one stage to the next.
Step one: recognizing a need
The first step is when the potential consumer identifies the need or problem which inspired them to make a purchase. To ensure that your marketing collateral speaks to potential customers in this stage, it is very important to consider which need they are aiming and explain why your product is the best one to solve the problem that they are experiencing.Ê
Step two: information search
As you might have imagined, in this stage a potential customer does his or her research into products and services that can likely solve their problem or address the need that they identified in step one. At this stage, if your company has strong brand awareness with your potential customers, you will already be miles ahead of the competition. Keep reading on to find out why.
Step three: evaluation of alternatives
In this step, the potential customer evaluates the best options from their information search, comparing each and getting prepared to make their final purchase decision.
Step four: purchasing decision
Again, this step is self-explanatory. The decision and the purchase is made.
Step five: post-purchasing behaviour
In the final stage, the new customer has already made their purchase. They re-evaluate their purchase and the product/service itself to determine whether it did address the need that they were experiencing. This is where (you hope) he/she will share positive information about your product/service with their network.
The key benefits of brand awareness
Between step one and two, consumers will recall all the potential vendors that they have interacted with in the past to determine if they already know and trust a company who offers a potential solution for their problem. If they are already familiar with your company and product orÊservice, you will be one of the companies that make their short-list for step three, during which they evaluate which product or service is the best to address their needs. By skipping the straight to step three, you shorten your sales cycle drastically, which is a huge benefit to any company, especially if you are in the start-up phase.
Now that you know how important brand awareness is to closing sales, what’s the best road to brand awareness?
How B2B companies can create brand awareness
The best and most effective ways to achieve optimal brand awareness are by using content marketing and media relations. Combining the two is the most highly effective as well as being less costly than traditional advertising. This is especially prudent for a small business with a small budget to match or one just starting out.
Media relations is a highly effective marketing tactic in which a company pitches fact-based stories to journalists that highlight their company, product or service, with the goal of inspiring the journalist to cover their story in the publication. In the minds of potential customers, editorial coverage is the same as securing an endorsement from a journalist, which provides strong credibility for your company because journalists are known to adhere to strict ethical standards as a job requirement.
Content marketing is also a very effective tactic for establishing your spokesperson and company as an expert in your industry. In content marketing, you draft articles offering information and tips about your area of expertise within the industry and submit them for publication to hospitality trade media. For example, if your company sells an RMS, you could write articles that offer tips on revenue management best practices, how-to guides for purchasing an RMS, etc.
The bottom line
Brand awareness will move your company from step three, ‘evaluation of alternatives’, to four, ‘purchase decision’, more quickly because your potential consumers will already know your company and believe in your credibility. Over time, this will make potential customers respond more positively to your sales pitch, even in response to a cold call, increase your conversion rate and make your company more financially successful.
About JLNPR Inc.
JLNPR Inc. is a full-service public relations and marketing agency that lives and breathes all facets of the travel technology industry. From online travel agencies to revenue management systems, tablet-based aviation automation solutions to IFE technology, hotels to airlines and everything in between, JLNPR uses our knowledge and experience to get your B2B travel technology company noticed by media, influencers and potential customers Ð and whenever possible, without the overused, often abused press release. In addition to traditional media relations outreach, we also ghost-write exciting, informational copy that will be published (in our client’s name) by top hotel industry media outlets Ð in order to increase your company’s visibility with potential customers, boost brand awareness and increase sales. To learn how to do your own PR for your company, download JLNPR’s free guide: How to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Sales – Without Blowing Your Budget. To find out more about JLNPR (including our services and out-of-the-box philosophy on press releases), please visit www.jlnpr.com.