“Outer Circle Marketing” Target Exposed

bow-and-arrowPicture yourself with a bow and quiver full of arrows.  You aim at one of the five circles or rings on your target that graduate inward from WHITE to BLACK to BLUE to RED and finally, YELLOW.

The biggest outer circle is WHITE and directly surrounds the smaller BLACK ring closer to the middle.  (Please refer to the picture to the left to see the five colored rings).

The BLACK circle surrounds a smaller BLUE circle, which in turn, surrounds an even smaller RED circle.  That RED circle surrounds the fifth circle which is YELLOW and in the center of the target known as the “bull’s-eye.”

Why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you this because it is a useful analogy of how your prospects take aim at your marketing offers, whether they want to become first-time customers or multi-buyers.

The way I see it, the WHITE outermost ring represents your “get-to-know-you” offer such as a free Teleseminar, eBook, audio eCourse or video.

This is your opt-in email offer.  To continue the analogy, it is that defining moment when a new prospect has successfully hit your target by aiming and shooting their imaginary arrow at your outermost WHITE circle.

“Outer Circle Marketing” is Time-Tested: Please realize that what I’m talking about here is not just another clever marketing analogy that’s untested.  It is tested and it is time-proven.

OCM = “Outer Circle Marketing” and that’s also the formal name I’ve given to this new breakthrough strategy.  If you want to experience it first hand, join my AskAlexToday Teleseminars scheduled on the first Thursday of each month.

I’ve utilized OCM for the past 2 years withthought leaders such as Jack Canfield, David Bach, James Ray, Raymond Aaron, and even Options Trading guru, Don Fishback.

Sidebar: One of the fastest, easiest and easiest ways to launch an OCM campaign is through Teleseminars. Just pick one day each month to have your OCM Teleseminar and answer questions that come in from your target market :-)

You can even have them sponsored.

My monthly OCM Teleseminars are sponsored by the Electronic Marketing Institute (EMI) and they occur at 10am PST/1pm EST and rebroadcasted at 5pm PST/8pm EST every first Thursday of each month.

If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to boost your productivity and profits, then these monthly calls were designed specifically for you and you may even invite one friend or colleague as your Accountability Partner.

“Target” Analogy Revisited: Let’s revisit what each of the circles (or rings) in our Bow/Arrow/Target analogy represent for Information Marketers.

As I mentioned, the outermost WHITE ring represents your free products or services.

When your prospects draw back the bow and aim their arrow at that WHITE outer circle, they simply want to know what you offer and who you are.

That’s what’s so great about OCM Teleseminars – they’re predictable (monthly), content-rich (ASK campaign-driven) and highly intimate (community building).

The slightly smaller BLACK ring that’s inside the WHITE circle represents offers in the $97 to $497 price range. These are typically “How To” info products that are either digitally or physically delivered.

Are you following this analogy?

Since the BLUE ring is once circle closer to the bull’s-eye so it theoretically has more value and demands a higher price of say, $497 to $997.

KEY POINT: Notice how the purchase level for customers is their choice.  “Outer Circle Marketing” is a prospect-centered strategy, not a product-centered one like the “Funnel Marketing Theory” which I’ll discuss in a moment.

Metaphorically, your product price points in the smaller BLUE circle are higher than products offered in the BLACK or WHITE ring.

Higher prices demand higher value propositions so offers in this category are Teleseminar series, multi-media eCourses and seminars.

The RED inner ring on the target has a broader price range, of say $997 to $4,997.  Products in this price point category routinely involve one-on-one coaching, narrowly niched 3-day workshops and membership websites.

The yellow bull’s-eye is the solid, inner most circle.  The prospects who aim, shoot and land their arrows in this yellow bull’s-eye have the greatest Lifetime Value (LTV) and eventually treat you like their trusted advisor.

The price range they are able and willing to pay is $4,997 to has high as $60,000. Offers in this category are referred to as “Inner Circles” or “Platinum Clubs.”

The people who come into your marketing mix at this level are your advocates and they can often become Strategic Alliance Partners.

Now I don’t know if you agree with my Outer Circle Marketing philosophy, but I do hope you agree that OCM is a more accurate marketing model that depicts customers more accurately than the obsolete Funnel Marketing Theory.

Funnel Marketing Theory: As its name implies, it is a “theory” and it “confuses the map with the territory.”

According to the Funnel Marketing Theory, marketers are encouraged to develop their first line of info products at low prices to attract lots of low-end customers to start building a database.

This marketing theory is taught from two different angles: The prospect evolution angle and the product price point angle.

The prospect evolution angle depicts the linear progression of all first-time customers starting at the top of the funnel (Awareness) and graduating down to its narrow bottom (Advocacy). 

This is a linear progression that starts at the top of the funnel with Awareness then narrowing down to Interest then narrowing more to Preference and Action/Inquiry and then narrowing even more to Conversion (Permission), narrowing  more to  Satisfaction and farther down to Repeat Visitor and finally to Advocacy.funnel-theory-31

The fatal flaw of this “Funnel Theory” angle is that prospects who become customers don’t always start at the Awareness level and many even decide to leap-frog to the Conversion (Permission) level.

In fact, the majority of my new Teleseminar Secrets students – who are referred by loyal alumni – started at the Advocate level.  My experience with customer acquisition is that it is spatial, not linear.

If Advocacy is at the bottom of the funnel, then my own customer database would resemble an hourglass, not a funnel or inverted triangle as the image to your right.

The second “Funnel Theory” angle deals with pricing and reveals a progression (from top to bottom) of how product price points impact the total number of customers you can reach at each level.

The theory holds that as these prospects and customers get to know, like and trust you, they slowly move down your Funnel until they reach  your highest-end and most exclusive “Inner Circle” or “Platinum Group” offers.

Because fewer people have the disposable income to belong to an “Inner Circle,” the Funnel Marketing Theory implies that you’ll attract a lot more low-end customers who enter the Funnel from its widest opening at the top..

This type of Funnel Marketing Theory is about demand elasticity and the inverted triangle to the right was the best funnel-theoryexample I could find on Google.  (The prices are much too low for for me, but I think you get the picture).

Free or low-cost offers are at the top “widest” portion where more customer transactions are possible because of low prices.

Your moderately priced offers graduate down where there are fewer customer transactions.  Then at the bottom tip is where the highest-priced offerings are, so therefore fewer customers can afford them.

What surprises me most about the Funnel Marketing Theory approach is the fact that it is still the marketing model that most “marketing gurus” still teach.

In my experience, your first-time customers don’t buy based on a low-price to high-price linear progression, they buy based on value, appeal and desire to trust you.

If their trust level is high from the start, they can come in at the high price point level.  That’s what many of first-time Teleseminar Secrets students do.

I remember an incident when I tried to purchase a $4,500 training program from a well-known marketer and was denied making the purchase because I wasn’t flowing through the funnel in his prescribed sequence!

So the fundamental problem with the Funnel Marketing Theory is that it doesn’t allow flexibility for customers to enter “from the  side”  or from the “bottom-up.”

When I began my Internet info publishing business in April of 2001, I empirically knew that a low-end offer would cause me more challenges to get my new business off the ground than offering a moderately high-priced offer.

So I started with a mid-range price point at $247 for Marketing With Postcards which is still available today.

The logic behind my decision was driven by the simple the fact that I would have to acquire ten times as many $25 customers to generate the same amount of income derived from a single $247 customer!

So if my first info product was offered at $25 price point, I’d have to expend ten times the marketing effort, I’d have ten times the number of “problem children” customers and ten times the refunds than the $247 price point.

Because your low-end customers have less discretionary income and often second guess their purchasing decisions, which, in turn, leads “entitlement” behavior with your customer care team.  If you have lots of low-end customers, you know exactly what I’m talking about :-)

Look, as long as your customer’s perceived value matches or exceeds your offers pricing point, attracting fewer high-end customers accelerate your profits (and productivity) than truckloads of low-end customers.

What To Do Now: Draw an imaginary target with 5 rings and fill-in product offerings with their corresponding price points inside each ring of the target.  The right marketing mix has at least one product in each pricing category.

If you’re a first-time marketer, I encourage you to start with the BLUE ring and make offers of $497 to $997.

You’ll even find it’s just as difficult to attract a $97 customer as it is to attract a $997 customer, but the high price point brings you 10 times the income with 10 times fewer customer hassles.

Please give me your comment to this post.

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