9 minutes reading time | Incl. 7-11-4 guide for Unicorns
Not long ago, Google released some intelligence on how your customers are making buying decisions online today, and it's pretty interesting.
So, if you're not seeing the results you'd like to see in your business even though you know that what you're offering has real value, then keep reading to discover Google's 7-11-4 rule and what it means for you.
First, let's take a look at how things used to be done, and then we'll dive in to Google's study...
The Old Customer Journey
For years it was widely agreed that the buyer's customer journey consisted of just 3 steps.
It all started with the the stimulus, where a buyer would see your advert, poster or flyer, and for the very first time realise that you (or your solution) existed.
After that came what marketers call the first moment of truth, in which the buyer sees your product in-store or is directed to its online product page where the decision to buy or not to buy is made.
The last step was the the second moment of truth, consisting of the customer's experience of your product after having made the purchase with their fingers crossed!
Pre-internet, these three steps worked quite nicely. Customers enjoyed viewing new adverts despite their interruptive nature, as they were one of the only ways of finding out about new solutions to their problems. Today, with the internet at our finger tips, we have far more choice and far more information available to us, and, as Google's research shows, we are using it.
The New Customer Journey
Not long ago, Google identified a new step in the customer journey.
The zero moment of truth (ZWOT) is the point at which the buyer educates themselves prior to making a purchase decision and it is the most vital step in the buying process, taking up the largest amount of time.
So what is 7-11-4 and why is it so important?
Google's research identified that, be it on your website, social media or in-person, a buyer will spend 7 hours, on average, researching your product, looking at reviews, comparing the competition and consuming content about your brand, across 11 touch points and in 4 different locations before they are ready to make the all important decision to buy.
Consumers have grown increasingly skeptical of brands and what they read and see online. Having lived through an era of 'fake news', FYRE festival's false advertising and Sunday Riley's false reviews (to name just a few scandals), your customers will certainly not be relying on any one source of information and will need time to build up their trust in you and your product.
The truth is, that if you don't have enough collateral in place, your audience are unlikely to engage with your brand, resulting in missed opportunities.
So how can you utilise the 7-11-4 rule and ensure that your content strategy is ready to successfully convert your potential customers into buyers? Here we breakdown the 7-11-4 rule into practical examples:
7-11-4 Guide for Unicorns
7 Hours of Content
Customers will look to both online and offline sources of content to measure your brand credibility and understand more about your product offering. Be sure to use varied content formats to enhance the learning experience, some examples include:
A blog article that educates your consumer on a particular pain point
A simple video that shows your consumer how the product is applied
Audio such as podcasts or online webinars
Instagram or Facebook lives, which give your consumers the ability to interact directly with you and ask questions or concerns they might have
Reviews left by your customers - both good and bad reviews help the consumer to build a better picture of your product and the 'worst case scenario'
11 Touch Points
A touchpoint is simply an exchange or interaction between you and your customer, and can be in the form of any resource that your customers can use to learn more about you. In the e-commerce world this information is most likely exchanged online but can be offline too, they include:
Social media posts made by you or your brand ambassadors
Brand brochures or flyers
Product strut cards and other point of sale collateral
4 Different Locations
It's important to know where your customers will go for information, and to ensure you have the right collateral in space in the spaces your audience hang out the most. Here are some places to consider:
Your personal website or social media handle (a must)
An offline location such as in-store or at a particular event or exhibit i.e. Professional Beauty Show at the Excel in London
A third party website or review site that you know your audience are using
A popular influencer's social handle
We hope you now have a better understanding of how your customers go about making their buying decisions. All customers will take a different approach to their zero of moment of truth, and it's up to you to learn where your unique customer profiles are going to educate themselves on your products and brand.
If you'd like help scoping out your unique buyers customer journey, or further tips on growing your marketing collateral in line with the 7-11-4 rule, please do get in touch! We'd love to chat with you.