The purchase cycle for infrequently purchased non-consumable products presents a different set of challenges. If you are selling a product that is purchased only a few times in a lifetime (think kitchen cabinetry, furniture, replacement windows, etc), it is imperative that you have a constant outreach. The cost of an inconsistent promotion program is lost sales.
Think of the market as an analog clock. Your brand is the second hand. You only make sales when you overlap either the hour hand (smaller market) or the minute hand (a larger but faster moving market).
Your marketing outreach program is reflected in the width of your second hand. Your opportunity to grow your market is like increasing the width of that second hand. A mix of promotion, public relations, email and paid advertising actively puts your brand on the radar screen of prospects who currently are in the market. It extends your brand visibility. SEM can only do so much, because prospects have to come find you — and you are passively waiting for them to come into the market.
Just by having a physical or digital presence, whether in a store, at a distributor or dealer, or doing a reasonable SEM job on your website, you’re likely to get some business when your second hand happens to coincide with the hour hand. That hour hand is a fairly small and temporary market. It’s constantly moving too, as individuals consider a product, make a brand decision and then move on.
Think of this as your nearest grocery store. That store may have higher prices and offer a limited selection, but sometimes you go there anyway just for convenience. Some people will do the same with a durable product too, making a quick decision and moving on with their lives. These are the prospects who reside on the hour hand of our clock. You’ll bump into some simply by being there.
Yet there is a larger market represented by the minute hand. It too is constantly moving (faster!) and it intersects with your second hand from time to time, but briefly as prospects consider their product and brand options and move on. If you aren’t visible to them as they sweep in and out of the market, you’ll lose them. They don’t know the category, they don’t know the options, they don’t know pricing and they sure as heck don’t know the brands. If you miss them on native searches you’ll miss them altogether.
Unless you have a consistent outreach program. It’s how you create brand awareness and recall so that when the prospect does enter the market, they are predisposed to your brand. Consistency puts your brand on the radar screens of the planners and dreamers who aren’t in the market . . . yet.
A consistent outreach gives you the visibility you need to create more opportunities whenever the minute or the hour hand converge on your brand. Waiting for that small hour hand of the given market to come to you will no doubt result in sales. But it’s no way to gain market share.