Future of Work | Product & Project Management
Meditations on the Buyer's Journey
One of the answers to today’s stressful work patterns is meditation. Forbes goes so far as to say it enhances your work performance! If meditation is so darn good for you, why don’t (more) people do it? It requires no equipment, no training, and has no cost. One hypothesis… it requires “unplugging.”
Struggling to find balance as a hard-working banker, Jackie Corwin had set up a mini-meditation pod in a fire escape window by her office in San Francisco’s Financial District. With a meditative gaze upon people in deep lines at the food trucks below her, Jackie had an aha moment. She realized that bringing people what they need, where and when they needed it, could remove the barrier that many face.
PauseNow Starts Its Journey
Jackie is the founder of PauseNow, a mobile meditation service. After many investigations and adventures, PauseNow serves the citizens of San Francisco via engagements at companies and libraries. And inspiration is striking in other cities to try this. (In fact, Jackie fields call nearly daily, from as far as Barcelona.)
For such a brave new concept, as a marketing person, I wondered what exactly the buyer’s journey looks like. How does Jackie prioritize her resources to reach potential customers where they were (that is to say, at work!)? It turns out to be an instructive mix of push and pull marketing (or as we digital marketers like to call it, inbound and outbound).
Push vs. Pull
As an alumnus of Intel, I’m biased. We think that the Intel Inside campaign invented and proved the case for pull marketing — that is to say, create a crowd of influencers to reach the actual buyer. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that an ingredient brand could provide a useful indication of perceived quality in a sea of PC clones. But when CMO Dennis Carter introduced the concept to Andy Grove, it was considered revolutionary.
In the same way, Jackie knew that her ultimate customer — an HR employee usually with the title “Wellness Director” — might be skeptical of an unproven concept and reluctant to add a new vendor. She could have spent a ton of time and resources on push marketing (emails, ads, and —gulp!— cold calling) to this group. Or, she could win the hearts and minds of the wellness directors’ customers, the employees.
Jackie took her lovely service to places where one might find enthusiastic advocates — weekend festivals. Recent outings to the Oakland Pride parade and Oaktoberfest gave her a chance to connect with people who could try the product. They would provide the warmest of leads to her actual customers, who would then become aware of this unique offering. Then those wellness directors would invite her to the company’s wellness fair, where they could directly gauge internal interest. Or in other cases, set up a trial visit.
Inbound vs. Outbound for the New and Trendy
Those of you who’ve read any of my previous posts know I’m an Inbound Advocate. It’s a philosophy based on being proactively helpful and thoughtful. (And that’s how my momma raised me.)
But, when you’re trying to raise awareness for a new offering, don’t you need to reach out? Perhaps grab people’s attention with some outbound marketing — some online ads, some emails? Obviously, it depends. If you’ve got investors and therefore resources, it makes sense to test out these areas to see if you can find a positive ROI to grow more quickly.
However, if you’re working with a relatively (or radically?) new concept, you may find yourself doing a lot of guesswork and spending money while you fine-tune the value of your offering. For example, does it make sense to buy Adwords for something that people aren’t yet searching for? Does it make sense to buy social media ads if you’re ahead of where your buyers are, mentally? Maybe.
Where Does Social Media Fit?
On the flip side, being on the leading edge comes with its buzz/newsworthiness. In addition to being called by others looking to join her in the field, Jackie is frequently profiled by bloggers (like me!) looking to highlight trends. In fact, earlier this year, the San Francisco Chronicle perfectly captured Jackie’s intention of providing “a food truck for the soul.” Being able to nimbly add some social media ads might have helped provide the extra touches that would take a potential customer from further into a more active stage of the “the funnel.”
The only way to know this is to be ready with a robust social media presence. Instagram expert Laura Maita puts it plainly: “Your social media presence can tell your story, your way, quickly, easily, and visually. You put yourself into a position to connect with your best potential customers via their stated interests and passions, and you are able to see data-rich feedback from the platform’s tools about your best opportunities.”
Business owners should put themselves into the right forums. On Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Jackie shares appropriate content in hopes of connecting and talking with each audience.
In the end, each business will find its own right mix of push and pull, inbound and outbound, (yin and yang). In that balance, they will meet their customers throughout the journey.
As a side note, PauseNow would like to shorten their buyer’s journey and go directly B2C. The hopes are that people leave the FiDi food truck lines and take a meditative pause at that moment. Send Jackie good karma that the San Francisco city council will bless this request! In the meantime, your company can book a PauseNow visit today.