The 3 Marketing Stages That Create Relationships

marketing The 3 Marketing Stages That Create Relationships

The Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass helps you build a marketing action plan. Your marketing plan is a must for the success of your business.

The traditional marketing funnel includes Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase stages. This approach is often viewed as a straightforward and simple process.

But today's customer journey is much less predictable. It is also far more focused on building lasting relationships.

And the right content, at the right time, will help you build relationships with your prospects.

You need to understand how your buyer wants to buy and then put your brand in her path – long before she even knows what she's looking for.

Unlike the traditional marketing funnel, the Marketing Hourglass focuses on building happy customers. 

Why? Because they're more likely to buy again and even refer you to others.

And to create happy customers, you need to create content to meet them where they are when they need it. And it would be best to answer their questions – sometimes before they know what to ask.

The Marketing Hourglass is an end-to-end customer journey.


Know, Like, and Trust – the Top of the Marketing Hourglass

These are the first three stages of the Marketing Hourglass.

At the top of the hourglass, you need to think about your prospects as they first get to know your brand. 

They're most likely not ready to make a decision yet. But as they move through these three steps, they're getting closer.

Your content will act as the voice of your marketing strategy.

Know – The First Stage of the Marketing Hourglass

The Know stage is the awareness phase. During the Know phase, your audience will begin discovering you for the first time.

In which ways does a prospect become aware of your business, products, or services through:

  • Advertising
  • Search Marketing
  • Content
  • Social Media
  • Community
  • Referrals
  • Sales Outreach

Content ideas in the Know stage could be:

  • Landing Pages
  • Blog Posts
  • Core Web Pages
  • Free Tools
  • How-to Video
  • Social Media Posts
  • Curated Lists
  • Infographics
  • Media Coverage
  • Quizzes
  • Podcast

Like – The Second Stage of the Marketing Hourglass

Once you've attracted someone to your site, this is the stage where you have given them reasons to return. You might also give them reasons to relate and even reasons to like your team.

How does a prospect who becomes aware of you decide if she likes what she sees and wants to know more?

  • Is your messaging focused on solving her problems?
  • Are you speaking to her specific persona or being too general and confusing her?
  • Are your brand elements consistent in design, style, and voice?
  • Is your content consistent?
  • Are you leveraging effective storytelling?
  • Do the images and visuals you use match your brand and content?
  • Again, is your content focused on solving your ideal client's problems?
  • And is your content useful and valuable for her? Or is it too salesy?
  • Is each of your social media channels consistently branded?
  • Is your social media content focused on being human and relational? Or are you too promotional?
  • How frequently are you posting to social media?
  • How quickly does your website load?
  • Is your site easy for her to navigate?
  • How easy have you made it for her to contact you from your website?

Content ideas in the Like stage could be:

  • Post-click Pages
  • Tip Sheets
  • Checklists
  • How-to Video

Trust – The Third Stage of the Marketing Hourglass

In the Trust phase, you will want to provide prospects with ways to come to know and trust your brand. 

How can you intentionally build and support the prospect's desire to trust your business as part of her decision-making process? 

  • Can you use visual cues like association badges, certifications, client logos, media mentions, or 3rd party reviews?
  • Is your prospect able to discover valuable resources on your website?
  • Have you made it easy for her to download helpful content?
  • Do you have case studies, testimonials, or videos to show how others have succeeded through your offerings?
  • Do you lift up your staff stories to give your prospect a look behind the curtains of your organization?
  • Can you share any user or customer-generated content about your product or service?

Content ideas in the Trust stage could be:

  • Segmented Audiences
  • Case Studies
  • Webinars
  • Comparison Guides
  • Newsletters
  • Reviews
  • Endorsements

What are the other stages of the Marketing Hourglass?

  • Try – The Fourth Stage of the Marketing Hourglass
  • Buy – The Fifth Stage of the Marketing Hourglass
  • Repeat – The Sixth Stage of the Marketing Hourglass
  • Refer – The Seventh Stage of the Marketing Hourglass

I'll be speaking about each of these steps in future blog posts. 

Stay tuned for more!