Catching up on my reading this weekend, I came across an interview in the AMA's Marketing News magazine with John Goodman, vice chairman of Tarp Worldwide Inc. In case you're not familiar, his firm is the one that discovered the ratio of 5:1 for cost of acquiring a new customer vs. keeping an existing one. He also says that, for B2B, think more like 20 to 50 times as much.
Let's get to that Psychic Pizza - an excerpt from the interview:
Q: According to Tarp research, if companies can anticipate the customer's next question or need and proactively deliver it, they'll move the transaction from uneventful to dazzling. You call this 'psychic pizza'-that is, ringing a customer's doorbell and saying, 'Here is the pizza you were about to order.' How can marketers create a 'psychic pizza' experience?
A: They can identify the next question the customer is going to ask or the next service that is going to be needed and basically figure out how to get there in advance with that answer or with that service.
He doesn't provide any B2B examples, but to give you an idea of what a psychic pizza looks like in action, consider Allstate Insurance. They know if you have children and they know when your teenager is reaching driving age. So they created a brochure that says "Here's how to talk to your kid about driving..." Parents have responded well because it helps them know how to approach that conversation with just-in-time information they need.
Applying the Psychic Pizza concept to content marketing works along the same lines. I'm constantly talking about the Buyer Q&A and the art of simulating conversations when developing a content strategy. It's essentially the same thing - albeit without the cool name.
The point is that Psychic Pizza applies to every interaction a company has with prospects, customers and even partners and employees. It applies to marketing, sales, customer service, product development, and more. For now, I'll box it in around eMarketing and the buyer experience.
From an eMarketing perspective, it really is about knowing your buyers well enough to develop what I'll term "psychic knowledge." Psychic knowledge for marketing comes from doing the work to learn about your buyers' problems and priorities well enough to break them down to determine all the questions, issues and obstacles they'll encounter during the process of trying to solve the problem. (buy your solution)
Once you have those pieces, you can answer each one with content designed to deliver recognizable value your buyers want and need to take next steps. That's how you build a Psychic Pizza for content marketing. Think of it in terms of anticipation, not assumption.
Start by figuring out how to get from "Why the Heck Should I Care?" to "Tell Me More." In many cases we don't start early enough in the process.
From an eMarketing perspective, marketers will need to get much better at analyzing online behavior to evolve their Psychic Pizza.
Mr. Goodman also made a great point about metrics. He cautions us to realize that using averages can cloak critical points that we need to isolate. For example, customer service call satisfaction. If we take this metric as an overall average, we may think our customers are highly satisfied. But, if we take out all the easy calls that are handled quickly and look at the more difficult ones, we may see something very different.
Additionally, he pointed out this obsession companies have with comparing themselves to industry metrics. That's leaving a lot to chance unless you know your customers are exactly like everyone else's customers. And, we all know they're not.
This concept of Psychic Pizza from a content marketing perspective gets to the heart of what differentiates your company from other options. It emphasizes the need to become proactive in our content marketing strategies through knowing just who the prospect or customer is and what they're looking for at this moment (anticipating) based on their previous behavior.
If what you know is that your prospect is a CIO in the Telecom industry, your psychic sensibilities need nourishment - lots of it.