The EIC Model.
When studying marketing, you will undoubtedly come across many different iterations of the Marketing Funnel for converting audiences into a sale. Sure, you can deconstruct the general idea of selling into many different component parts, but at the end of the day, I truly believe that all sales (everything is a sell when you think about it) comes down to three simple steps:
The first step in all Marketing Funnels deals primarily with brand awareness. Who are you? What do you do? What do you have to offer me? Without first educating consumers on your brand, how can you ever hope to sell to them in the future?
We all want to be inspired. Rather, we all want to be inspired to keep looking at a certain brand, product or service. If audiences are not creatively enticed to take part (via offering up a fraction of their time through their eyeballs), then a company will have very little traction long-term. Longevity, for the uninspired, is a non-issue.
The final step in all sales processes; yet, the one most enthusiastic (but naive) marketers will try to jump to first (or a little too quickly).
Here’s a thought-experiment for you:
Who would you be more willing to give a dollar to—someone you don’t even know who comes up to you in a store (all duress aside) or a trusted friend who you’ve known for a very long time?
You see, we can be so quick to jump to the final ‘ask’ that we forget to foster a quality relationship beforehand. Sure, all marketing does come down to selling, but the foundation for making that sale happens long before then. If you want to build a strong company, with a legitimate ask, then you’re going to need to Educate and Inspire your consumers first.
Personally (well, I guess it’s all personal since I made this whole model up), I like to think of the EIC model as more of a spectrum than a three-step process (despite it all still being a process…). Where your company lands in the communications, relationship building, marketing and sales funnel isn’t a step ladder; rather, it’s more like a sliding scale.
For example, your company or brand can be in the Educate-Inspire phase, leaning more towards Educate than Inspire. What this means is, you’ll need to put more effort into educating your target audience (ie. brand awareness strategies with recognition being your primary goal) before moving audiences into the Inspire phase—where you can then move on to a Call-to-Action. The thing about a scale is that you can’t jump or skip steps (but you can if you’re quickly trying to climb a ladder). The overall process is fixed and harbours a logical flow.
In the end, the biggest takeaway from all of this is that sales, and building brands with true longevity, is more about the relationship than the actual ‘ask’. No one likes to be asked too many things (especially all at once) from someone they don’t even know; what they would prefer is to engage with someone and, dare I say, start to care about them first. And that, really, is where the power of Social Media kicks in… but that’s a topic for another time…