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The marketing communications pyramid
Recognizing at what stage of the purchase decision your prospect is and what type of marketing materials matches their interest level is easier than expected. You can break down the process into five stages starting from a curious prospect through purchase to ongoing customer management.
My colleague and mentor Edward DiMingo expressed the stages of marketing communication as a pyramid. Each level reveals the level of interest and matches it against appropriate marketing deliverables. The key to the pyramid is to craft your messaging and content so that it matches the prospects (or customer’s) level of interest and needs. Insert the wrong level of content into a deliverable and you risk confusing or overwhelming the reader.
The marketing communication pyramid is how Ed honed what level messaging was appropriate for the material he was writing. And since the day he reveal the pyramid to me, I too have used it similarly; for both copy and design.
The shape isn’t important; it’s about the levels
Some who’ve I’ve shared this concept with have argued the pyramid would be better as a funnel, since it’s progressing the reader through the sales process. I always reply, you’re missing the point, the shape is inconsequential, what’s important is matching the level of interest with the right deliverable - and more importantly the correct content messaging.
From Prospect to Customer Retention
A prospect starts, unaware of your product or service, then flows downward through purchasing and then into customer support. During this time the need for information changes as more and more detailed information is required - to make a decisions to purchase - or to support the purchase decision with others.
At this level your prospect may not know of your company, product, or service. So the basics are growing awareness and conveying your USP and potential benefits to them. Materials at this level are very high-level; what you do, how you do it, and how it can help. PR, advertising, and your corporate website and materials are beneficial here.
Once you’ve piqued the interest of a prospect it’s likely they’ll ask for more detailed information - or be ready for it. They’ll want to know more about what you’re offering. They’ll want a brochure or catalog or be open to receiving emails and direct mail.
Evaluation & Comparison
At this point the prospect is reviewing your option against competitors or existing methods. This level usually also involves consensus building among superiors to enable authorization of a purchase. Sell sheets with specifications, white papers and case studies, and third party review, endorsements, or analysis are important. Social media also plays an important role at this level too.
Trial / Purchase
Depending on the product or service, a demo or trial may be required, to demonstrate capabilities or advantages. It’s usually at this stage that costs, contracts, and warranties are reviewed.
Confirmation & Repurchase
If all the other levels proceeded smoothly, after the purchase is made, one more critical level remains. This is ongoing support and customer relationship management. User manuals, training, webinars, and continual contact are important. To keep the customer happy and to start them down the next funnel towards upgrading or repurchase.
Craft your messaging to match the interest level
The communication pyramid helps to focus your deliverables so they’re appropriate to the recipients level of interest. You don’t overwhelm them with details nor leave them uninformed and wondering what you offer. At each level you have materials that are informative and supportive. Since Ed first shared his secret pyramid process, it’s proven helpful to me and my clients.
Dec 19, 2013
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