Marketing Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

April 1, 2016

No one ever won a marathon by sprinting the entire race. Developing a consistent pace helps runners finish the race and helps your marketing stay strong throughout the sales process.

This look at the classic sales funnel will jog your memory so you can find a well-paced stride to the winner’s circle.

Step One: Awareness

To win the race, you have to be prepared. You can’t outpace someone if you aren’t on the same track, and you can’t sell to someone who doesn’t know who you are. You need to take the steps necessary to ensure you’re on a potential customer’s radar. It can be as easy as developing a website with strong SEO so your site shows up in relevant searches, or it could involve creating an advertising campaign that places your company where your prospects are.

Step Two: Interest

Though awareness is good, it doesn’t make the sale. Your prospects may know who you are, but you need them to take the next step. A well-paced marketing strategy should move a customer beyond initial awareness to build interest in your product or service. Having a content-rich strategy does this by providing value to the customer wherever they may find you.

Step Three: Consideration

You aren’t the only one running this race. When potential customers move into the consideration stage, they are looking at reviews, eyeing your competitors’ offerings and contemplating how your company will help them before and after a purchase. Sharing free advice through blog posts and expert tips can assure a customer that you understand what they really want. Take the new McCafe commercial, for example. What most moms really want is energy and quiet time, not coffee. Through focusing on the true desire of moms, McCafe was able to create an advertisement that could resonate with its customer.

Step Four: Intent

Well-paced marketing is never more important than when your prospect has moved from consideration to intent to buy. At this point in the race you need to start setting the pace for your customer and encouraging them to keep moving toward the sale. Support them by showing how you can solve their challenges with specific benefits that make your company the smart choice. By positioning your company as the right solution, the finish line is in sight.

Step Five: Evaluation

Your customer is ready to buy, but first they need to evaluate their options. Featured customer reviews, blog posts, buying guides and product demos are great resources to exploit in this phase. Before your pace earns a purchase, the customer must feel well-prepared for the final step.

Step Six: Purchase

You’re almost there! Seal the deal by providing an effortless purchase experience. Nothing can derail your sale quicker than an e-commerce website that doesn’t work smoothly or a long wait at the retail counter. A final sprint can win the race. Once you’ve made the sale, don’t just collapse on the finish line. It’s time to start the next race to ensure your first-time customer becomes a life-long customer and brand enthusiast. Simple tokens like an exclusive coupon or discount, free shipping or a referral bonus can assure your customer that they’ve made the right choice–and bring them back again.

Well-paced marketing meets customers at every phase of the sales funnel with a proactive stride rather than a reactive break-neck sprint. Just as pacing yourself is crucial to winning a marathon, finding your company’s stride is crucial to winning customers. Do you feel daunted by the sales funnel? Contact us at or by calling 717.274.0292.


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