One of the trails we run has been a little chilly this winter..
This past October, I decided to start running - right in the grips of winter. I do like to keep things interesting!
Running is an entirely new habit for me. But I didn’t just want to run - I wanted to do it outside. With lots of scenery.
Running outdoors in winter proved a challenge. Running outdoors in winter in a forest proved an even bigger one.
The first few runs were totally fine, lovely and dry - if a bit dark and fresh. But after a little bit of rain and a few puddle incidents, coming home cold, soaked and with soggy feet, we realised we needed some decent running gear. We needed clothing that was going to keep us warm and dry.
Like any modern consumer, I dutifully began looking for running gear. Most of what I found in that original search was of no use - things for the gym or happy summer months.
After refining my search, I discovered what we were doing: running outside in nature, on tracks through a forest, is called “trail running”.
Once I had this little tidbit of information, “winter trail running gear” proved a very fruitful search. A whole new world of technical clothing was opened to my eager little eyes!
I discovered waterproof running shoes existed - no more soggy feet! Thermal running tights existed - no more cold thighs! Super lightweight raincoats - warm, dry bliss!
After deep research into all the options available, I had a list of specific clothing items I needed. And a few that fit my budget. Then after some review research, I found shoes, tights and running tops which I absolutely love.
I now run in all weather, and I’m nice and toasty roasty.
There’s a critical marketing observation in all this.
I went through some concrete steps before purchasing: I perfectly exemplified the awareness journey. This journey is what every consumer goes through before they buy online.
The awareness journey is as follows:
During those few initial blissful days of running, I was completely unaware of the sodden puddle problems lurking ahead.
After a few days of soggy feet and being cold and shivery, I was very much problem aware. That’s when I started my research phase, quickly researching and uncovering my situation’s width and breadth.
I discovered options that I didn’t even know existed: the staple winter trail running gear of waterproof trainers and thermal tights. I became solution aware.
My product aware stage emerged when I realised specific brands provided the gear I needed.
Finally, I became most aware when I researched reviews, narrowed my options down and filtered for things in my budget.
Running throughout the winter has been possible because of this gear. Without it, I would have given up long ago.
Of course, this journey is not unique to me and my running purchases.
Awareness is a journey we all go through to buy. Sometimes it’s quick; sometimes it’s long and protracted.
It’s the same for B2B, B2C and even B2G.
But this wasn’t a perfect process. As a consumer, the process could have been so much smoother.
My biggest frustration was the number of sites I had to go through to find what I needed. Lots of blogging sites and forums from trail running enthusiasts gave me the information I needed. But they had no products for me to buy.
I ended up purchasing Karrimor and Salomon clothing off Amazon.
Why did neither company have the blogs and information I needed to bring me in, giving me the information I needed and helping me buy directly from them?
As a result, I have no affinity for those brands; the relationship I built was with the communities that enlightened me and gave me the information.
What a majorly missed opportunity for those brands.
Karrimor could have offered in-depth content on preventing soggy feet, what trail running is, how great it is, how to stay dry on your runs, the best gear and case studies, user reviews, and in-depth comparison information.
Salomon could have shared tips on keeping your muscles warm in cold weather, how warmer muscles mean you’re less likely to develop an injury, and that your performance is better with the proper clothing.
Neither brand catered to my awareness journey.
That’s where you can do better. Cater to the awareness journey. Create content that helps your audience transition through stages.
Fantastic marketing aligns SEO, content, lead magnets, nurture and follow-up and sales along the awareness journey.
So here’s my question to you - if your ideal customer is starting on their awareness journey, how well do you help them? What are you offering each step of the way?
The awareness journey isn’t just an excellent backbone for your marketing - it also helps you tap into the purchase formula.
The purchase formula is how the brain decides whether or not to buy something. If you want to find out how that works, you can check it out here.
The main takeaway is that the more time you spend helping your consumer, the higher the brain's reward activation is for your business, and the more you increase the likelihood of conversion rates.
Catering for the awareness journey is not only a fantastic way to get more traffic and find more leads - it’s the best way to increase your conversion rates.
Your content doesn’t always have to be extremely clever or advanced, it simply needs to provide solutions to what your consumers are looking for in the moment they are looking for it. And that is the power of awareness!
Something to make you laugh - marketing is ridiculously full of jargon isn’t it?
Like a bit of social psychology? Trying to build a movement and something people care about? The Journal of Consumer Psychology released a fantastic article on How social movements succeed. It has fascinating insights into how Black Lives Matter succeeded when so many others did not, a framework for building a movement, and some great takeaways for those of us wanting to inspire change: https://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcpy.1201
Have a keen interest in discounts and framing around them? There is new research that suggests that wording your “buy 2 get 50% off” might be the wrong thing to do… https://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcpy.1166
Marketing Week has a great little snippet on how company ethics are one of the most important factors for GenZ buyers: https://www.marketingweek.com/gen-z-smartphones-consumer-confidence-5-interesting-stats-to-start-your-week/
Cxl did a great piece on B2B challenges, and I especially live their seven most common B2B Marketing mistakes: https://cxl.com/blog/b2b-challenges/
And staying with our awareness theme, Copy Hackers wrote a great post on how to write langind pages for problem aware consumers: https://copyhackers.com/2020/07/how-to-write-a-landing-page-examples/
That’s a wrap for this month’s brainbox! I have some questions for you if you fancy penning me a little response:
How comfortable do you feel with your awareness understanding?
Do you feel you’ve got content in place across their awareness journey?
The evenings are getting brighter here in the UK, and while we’re all focused on pushing our marketing and making our businesses stronger - I hope you’re spending a little bit of time doing something lovely for yourself!
I have another lockdown birthday coming up… I’d love your suggestions on ways to have fun, and a little line on what’s going on in your world 🙂