Marketers have long known about the awareness continuum–the process of moving a shopper or a potential new customer from a state of unawareness to awareness, then to interest, consideration, trial, purchase, repurchase, and ultimately loyalty and brand advocacy.
In a recent WSJ article, Amazon Takes Over The World, I was surprised to learn that 55% of searches for products begin on Amazon, not Google. The author points out that “Amazon could be described as a search engine with a warehouse attached to it.”
With voice being the next frontier of human/machine interaction, voice search looks like a winner for Amazon, with 70% market share today of voice technology in the home. Alexa is becoming our personal, in-home shopping concierge.
Owning the first step of the awareness and search process is a structural competitive advantage that will be hard to beat. Word of mouth takes on new meaning when the words on the other end are coming from a machine inside of the organization that has the best choice, selection and price marketplace available: yes, Amazon.
There are plenty of other options: Alibaba, Costco and the thousands of retailers that would love to be your first choice, but won’t be.
So what does this mean for you? Three questions:
1. Where are you in the search process for the products, services, membership and conference attendance that your current and new customers/members care about? If you’re not first, who is, and how do you displace them?
2. It is very unlikely that you know the answer to question #1, so what will you do to determine what the awareness continuum is for your organization and who is at each step of the customer/member journey? Is it you, a competitor or an alternative that is syphoning off demand from your organization?
3. What will be the one thing that you plan in Q4 of this year that will position your organization to gain a greater share of voice among your desired audience in 2018, bring more customers and members into the fold and build deeper loyalty with those you already have?
What is your Amazon Echo? Who is your Alexa that is there when your members and future members have a question, want to register for an event, get advice on an issue or just find a dose of inspiration?
For now, I’m betting on human intelligence, real people and live interaction for most of our organizations to succeed. Play to your strengths, and put your people in a position to be the voice that creates awareness and builds loyalty for your organization.