In this post, I’m talking about a key concept, namely the three phases of the strategic marketing process. Attraction, Education, and Sale.
Whatever your business, whether it is an online business or an offline one, they are always there. It doesn’t matter whether you have a pizzeria or sell a course to become a software developer: in any case, you will face these three phases.
Online marketing (the name should already help you) is a derivative of marketing in general; therefore it is not one of its branches in which it is possible to do what one wants and where there are no precise rules.
It seems essential to me to remember this because very often we tend to consider online marketing (because of the fake gurus who deal with it) as something esoteric and confusing, for which it becomes very difficult to distinguish the truth from the lies.
Fake gurus have led you to believe that in online marketing there are different opinions, different strategies, or schools of thought… and that they are all the same. Of course, that’s not the case. And the only way to verify the validity of a position is through the results.
Most of these phantom experts flood your feeds on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. as a result he has never reached them, he cannot show them to you, and (although he has never applied marketing to profitable businesses) he cannot even make a profit just by teaching their strategies.
Discover the three crucial phases of the strategic marketing process: Attraction, Education, and Sale. Learn how these phases apply to any business and how to master them for success.
The three phases of the strategic marketing process
The three phases I’m telling you about are the attraction, education, and sale. I took the liberty of summarizing these phases of marketing from a conceptual point of view using these three words.
The terms I use are therefore not commonly recognized and you probably won’t find them in academic courses (which I advise against).
The first phase is the so-called attraction phase. Attraction obviously not intended on a metaphysical or romantic level, but in terms of customer acquisition.
In other words, it concerns what in jargon is called lead generation. Your goal is to attract and find target customers by placing them in front of an offer that is congruent.
It is at this stage that advertising manifests itself, whatever its form. Not necessarily sponsored on Facebook or Google, not necessarily a flyer at the pub. This phase includes all the practices carried out to show one’s offer to a prospect.
If there is an affinity between the potential customer and the offer proposed to him, the person will therefore be interested in your products and will thus be encouraged to learn more about your business.
The decision of what the niche of your potential customers is something that happens when you plan your marketing plan. It, therefore, means that it is possible to undertake the first phase only when you have a clear idea of the product you want to sell and the customers you want to sell it to.
In this phase, the customer is educated to explain to him the reasons why he should choose us over the competition or even simply motivate him to buy when he would not automatically be inclined to do so.
This is the process that follows having “captured” the attention of the targeted person. It includes everything that has the purpose of convincing the potential customer to trust you and buy your product.
In most cases, the customer is stimulated by several, often very similar offers. And it is therefore in this phase that we try to establish a certain type of relationship with the prospect to ensure that he recognizes what distinguishes you from the competition or what makes you perfect for satisfying his needs.
The nurturing phase can take place in the most disparate ways, such as the offer of a test drive in the case of a dealership or a series of free educational videos in case you sell a video course.
It is important to be able (always during the development of the phases of the strategic marketing process) to identify which are the best activities for your niche. In fact, a simple sequence of emails or a free trial period is not always congruent.
You must learn now, once and for all, that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for all businesses and all industries. For this reason, even at the cost of repeating myself, I always remind you that it is important to plan everything with precision before starting to present yourself on the market.
Finding solutions on the run, very often looking for answers to generic questions, is very difficult. And it can risk putting you out of the game in a very short time.
The establishment of this relationship, this approach of the customer to your product or service is clearly always aimed at the sale, which is the last phase.
Selling is all about the practical embodiment of exchanging your product for money accompanied by the so-called up-sell and cross-sell.
- By up-sell, we mean all the techniques to lead the customer to buy other products with a higher margin or that improve the quality of what they have already purchased, to guarantee you a higher profit. What happens when you are about to buy a smartphone with 256GB memory and end up buying the one with 512GB.
- By cross-sell, on the other hand, we mean the accessory sale, that is, the act of selling the customer products or services similar to what they have already purchased. This happens both to increase raw profit and to maintain a more stable and profitable long-term relationship with the customer. Staying with the example of the sale of smartphones, cross-sell is when you are offered to buy the cover together with the smartphone.
It is therefore important to guide customers up to this last phase only when you are clear about what you want to sell them and what you can sell them.
You would be amazed to know how many times I happen to talk to people who focus all their attention on the first two phases, completely lacking clarity for the last one.
And this is a problem also and above all because it makes you run the risk of approaching potential customers who are absolutely not on target with what you want to offer them at the end of the course.
The whole must therefore be a congruent process.
Each business has its own story
The specific weight that the individual phases assume depends on the sector in which you operate. As mentioned, it is true that all three are always present, but it is natural that in some cases there is a preponderance of one over the other.
For example, in the case of a training business, the central phase (i.e. education) is the main one.
If you sell courses that want to teach something, you need to give free content, offer applicable and practical concepts, give prospects value, gain their trust and demonstrate your skills.
Once the potential customer has been attracted, for example with Facebook Ads, the final aim must not be the like or the follow, but to complete the sale by showing him that what he sees in the educational phase works and can be verified by testing facts.
But be careful: the ultimate goal must always be the sale.
Getting leads, and potential customers don’t mean surrounding yourself with people who are exclusively interested in what you have to say and only willing to absorb your free content. Instead, it means directing one’s strategy towards people who (if educated) fall within the target group willing to buy your product or service.
There are other businesses where, for example, the first phase is greatly sacrificed because it is no longer necessary.
Think Apple. As an established brand with a well-defined positioning, it does not need to concentrate its major energies on the attraction phase. Apple (due to the level reached) now almost automatically gets potential customers interested in its products.
On the other hand, there may be businesses in which the first two phases, that attraction and education, are fundamental, and the last one follows almost automatically.
Again to give you examples, think of the niche of heat detectors.
2/3 of fires are fatal not because of the smoke, but because of the heat. Once this has been explained to the customer, he will be led to buy without having to operate such a complex sales strategy.
There will not even be the need for up-selling or cross-selling because perhaps, once the detector has been purchased, the need for periodic maintenance will already be obvious, which will therefore maintain a loyal relationship with the customer.
There is no marketing that does not include these three phases.
Their weight may be different depending on your sector or the product you sell, but it is inevitable that they are present in any case.
And although all of this may seem obvious to you in your heart, in practice you will realize how often errors have arisen precisely from the underestimation or exclusion of one of these marketing phases.
Therefore, for yours to be a successful business, it is necessary to know how to master these three phases of marketing, or at least it is important to be sure that all three are perfectly integrated and well-oiled.
We need to recognize and study these three phases perfectly, especially if you come from a business in which one of these was entrusted to a third party.
This is perfectly valid for example for those involved in Amazon FBA or Kindle Publishing. In this case, Amazon itself is in charge of the attraction. She takes care of bringing potential customers closer to your product.
For this reason, then you could run the risk of not knowing how to do it when you decide to operate in another sector by completely changing your activity. A mistake absolutely not to be made.