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Research from McKinsey & Company: The Case for Inbound Journalism?

One of our League of Extraordinary Marketers members, Ellie Becker, recently brought an article to my attention and we highlighted it in a recent #TheBrandPublisher episode. New research from McKinsey & Company states that for CEOs seeking growth in today's environment  (a top priority for many), where buyers have much more choice and information, their marketers may be well advised to shift from customer-retention and loyalty programs to increasing initial consideration at the beginning of the customer journeyThe research helps make the case for Inbound Journalism it seems to me.

This research also correlates with the observation by SiriusDecisions that 67% percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally… and online searches are an executive's’ first course of action (just like everyone else).” We have been writing about how this dynamic puts power in the hands of the buyer at the beginning of their journey and forms the basis for Inbound Journalism because it is a framework to provide value. 

While loyalty is important, McKinsey points out that it is elusive; even though the strategy has commanded a significant share of the customer journey-focused marketing mix with tools such as the Net Promoter Score over the last several years.

The article introduces a new metric called the Customer Growth Indicator (CGI), an index which "takes into account the consideration a brand is able to command, as well as the fact that as a brand’s share grows, greater consideration is needed to keep up the pace of growth." Based on leverage provided by new buyers, especially when you consider the lifetime value of the relationship, McKinsey identifies three recommendations for CEOs and CMOs to consider:

  1. Resegment consumers - Focus on making more customers aware with "marketing geared to growing initial consideration will exploit a more diverse and wider set of consumer segments, many with limited or perhaps even no experience with the brand."
  2. Rebalance marketing budgets - Give more weight to what counts most towards growth by increasing the flow of new customer audience members - Pruning spending on closing the sale and/or loyalty while encouraging consideration
  3. Build a pipeline of innovative product, service, and brand news - Innovation and News work together in a virtuous circle by encouraging new consumers to add a brand to their initial consideration set and keeping current customers engaged. The exemplified by Apple which:
    • "earns high CGI scores and has outgrown competitors by offering product innovation and a differentiated consumer experience. It has long used product news on innovations to stoke the interest of shoppers who then place the brand in their initial consideration set." 

The McKinsey article concludes: 

"Every company we know is sweating out efforts to increase revenue from their brands. Earning a spot in consumer’ highly valuable initial consideration sets has never been more crucial. Measures like the initial consideration index can help companies understand how their brands stack up against those of competitors while offering a way to track progress as they encourage consumers to consider their brands first.

None of this, of course, diminishes the need for a well-orchestrated program across the consumer decision journey, including staying in the mix during active evaluation, converting sales at the moment of purchase, and ensuring loyalty and retention. Yet in a world where market noise will inevitably increase, initial consideration has emerged as marketing’s most critical battleground."

Austin Lawrence's Inbound Journalism is a brand publishing strategy to use corporate owned news media and thought leadership to stimulate demand generation, open a dialog with customers and close more sales in a world where customers are able to compare your offering to competitors 24x7.As we define it, Inbound Journalism provides a six-step methodology (below) for publishing to target customers most likely to contribute to your growth. Unlike traditional, ad-supported journalism, Inbound Journalism derives value by creating a customer relationship. As such, the adherance to facts and editorial standards is as as important as it is with a traditional publication.

Watch our webinar in which we discuss the new article from McKinsey.

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