Welcome to the penultimate phase of the customer development model — customer creation. If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! You’ve completed the first two phases of the model, customer discovery and customer validation, and now you’re ready to take the next step in turning your audience into real shoppers and loyal brand advocates.
Customer creation is where the rubber meets the road, where all your hard work pays off. It’s the phase where you see your business gain traction and your customer base grow. This is where you begin to see a return on your investment, in both time and money, so it’s an exciting time — not to mention a rewarding one.
You’ve validated your idea, identified your target audience, and tested your product or service. Now it’s time to take the insights you’ve gained and put them into action.
This article will dive into the customer creation phase and explore turning potential customers into loyal fans. We’ll also discuss strategies for driving engagement and fostering long-term relationships with your customers. So let’s get started!
What is customer creation?
Customer creation is the final phase of the customer development model (with customer discovery and customer validation directly preceding it). It describes any activity that drives customers into your sales funnel — or in other words, turning potential customers into paying customers.
It’s a crucial step in any business’s growth as the focus shifts from validating the product-market fit to generating revenue and building a customer base. All that hard work you did to identify your target audience? This is where it pays off.
Now, refine your value proposition and develop a sales strategy that resonates with your target audience. Demonstrate how your product or service solves pain points and provides value that outweighs the cost.
As well as driving new customers towards your product, a primary goal of customer creation is to increase customer lifetime value (CLV), which is the revenue a customer generates over their time with your business. Foster a loyal customer base that repeatedly returns to your company and increases the average order value (AOV) through upselling and cross-selling.
Remember, existing customers are cheaper than attracting new ones, so you get to skip out the first part of the sales funnel — resulting in less effort and resources.
In summary, customer creation converts potential customers into paying customers, increases CLV, and fosters long-term relationships with your customers. It requires refining your value proposition, developing a strategy that resonates with your target audience, creating a positive experience, and providing excellent customer support.
Customer creation vs. marketing: what’s the difference?
Customer creation and marketing are two essential components of any business’s growth strategy, but their approach and focus differ.
Marketing is a broad term that encompasses all activities related to promoting and selling a product or service. It includes advertising, public relations, branding, and market research. The primary goal of marketing is to create awareness and interest in a product or service and to drive potential customers to the business.
On the other hand, customer creation focuses on turning potential customers into paying customers and refers to any activity that achieves that goal, including marketing. It develops a sales strategy, refines the value proposition, and creates a positive customer experience.
While marketing is vital for generating brand awareness and attracting potential customers, customer creation drives revenue and sustains long-term growth. To maximize its potential, a successful business must combine effective marketing with a strong customer creation strategy.
Market types within customer creation
Understanding the different markets is crucial for developing a successful customer creation strategy. Here are the four major types and their defining characteristics:
1. Monopoly Market
In a monopoly market, only one supplier of a particular product or service exists. The supplier has complete control over the market and no competition. Because of this, the supplier can charge a high price for the product or service, which may not be accessible to all customers. For instance, you might already have a monopoly on the market with your product, or you achieve it through mergers and acquisitions, or by dominating your competition.
For example, a company that owns a patent for a life-saving drug may have a monopoly market, allowing them to charge a high price.
2. Oligopoly Market
In an oligopoly market, only a few suppliers of a particular product or service exist. The suppliers have significant control over the market, and there may be limited competition. This can lead to collusion among suppliers, driving prices up and limiting customer choice.
For example, in the airline industry, a few large carriers dominate the market and control prices and routes, limiting customer options.
3. Competition Market
Many suppliers of similar products or services exist in a monopolistic competition market. However, each supplier differentiates their product or service in some way to create a unique selling proposition. This type of market is characterized by intense competition and pricing pressure.
For example, there are many suppliers in the fast-food industry, but each has a unique menu and branding to differentiate itself from competitors.
4. Perfect Competition Market
In a perfect competition market, there are many suppliers of a particular product or service, and each supplier sells the same product or service at the same price. There is no differentiation between suppliers, and customers can easily switch between providers.
Because there are thousands of suppliers in a commodity market, like rice or wheat, the price is determined by supply and demand rather than the sellers.
For example, in a monopoly or oligopoly market, the focus may be on differentiating the product or service to increase customer value.
In a monopolistic competition market, the focus may be on creating a unique selling proposition that stands out from competitors. A perfect competition market may focus on creating efficiencies and cost savings to maintain a competitive price. Know which pool you’re swimming in before you dive in with your marketing.
The 5 stages of customer creation
Once you understand the different market types, you can develop a customer creation strategy. The strategy should include five key stages: Preparation, positioning, launch, demand, and loyalty.
Phase 1: prepare to launch
This phase plans the groundwork for a successful product launch. You should already have your target market and your product defined, thanks to the customer discovery and product discovery phases — now, apply them to the following preparatory steps:
- Set goals and objectives: This includes identifying the target revenue, market share, and customer acquisition targets. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
- Define the marketing strategy: The strategy should be well-defined based on market research and product definition. This includes product, price, place, and promotion. The promotion strategy should include advertising, public relations, social media, and other marketing channels.
- Build a launch team: The launch team should include members from various departments, including marketing, sales, product development, and customer support. The team should understand their roles and responsibilities and work together to achieve the launch goals.
- Create a launch plan: This outlines the steps in launching the product, including the timeline, budget, and resources required. The plan should also include marketing, sales, and customer support strategies.
Phase 2: position your product
This stage defines the unique value proposition of your product and positions it in the market to differentiate it from competitors. It aims to create a clear and compelling message that resonates with your target audience, driving them to choose your product over others.
Thanks to the prior two stages, you’ll already have some of this complete, so apply previous findings to your new strategy.
Below are some steps in positioning your product as part of the customer creation stage:
- Conduct a brand audit: A brand audit involves analyzing your current positioning, brand perception, and market share. It helps you identify your product’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market. The audit can be conducted in-house or with the help of a branding or marketing agency.
- Define your target audience: This involves identifying your customers’ demographics, psychographics, and behavior. It helps tailor marketing efforts to resonate with your audience.
- Identify your unique value proposition (UVP): Your UVP sets your product apart from others in the market. It should be a clear and compelling statement that explains how your product solves a specific problem or fulfills a unique need better than competitors. Your UVP should integrate into your marketing message and brand identity.
- Create messaging framework: Outlines the key messages communicating your UVP to your target audience. It includes your brand tagline, value proposition, product features, benefits, and other elements. Your messaging should be consistent across all marketing channels and touchpoints.
- Position your product in the market: Once you’ve defined your UVP and messaging framework, it’s time to position your product. This involves identifying the key features that resonate with your target audience and creating a message that communicates to them. It also involves identifying the proper channels and touchpoints to reach your audience effectively. Again, you’ll have all the information you need if you’ve completed product discovery before reaching this point.
- Work with PR companies: Public relations (PR) companies can position your product in the market by creating positive media coverage and brand awareness. They identify opportunities for media exposure, craft compelling press releases, and manage your brand reputation.
Check out our guide to product positioning for more tips.
Phase 3: launch your product
Time to kick off your marketing plan and introduce your product to the crowds. This phase aims to generate buzz, create awareness, and drive sales.
Below are some steps you’ll want to follow for a successful product launch:
- Build anticipation: Anticipation is crucial for creating excitement around your launch. Release teasers, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes footage on social media and other marketing channels. Offer exclusive pre-order deals to incentivize early adopters. If you’re feeling lost, work with an ad agency or freelance marketing specialist for ideas and guidance.
- Execute your marketing plan: Your marketing plan should include a mix of paid, earned, and owned media. Paid media offers advertising on social media, search engines, and other channels. Earned media includes media coverage, reviews, and influencer endorsements. Owned media includes your website, blog, and social media channels. Your messaging should be consistent across all channels and touchpoints.
- Monitor and adjust: Optimize your launch efforts. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, social media engagement, and sales. You can use tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Salesforce to track KPIs and adjust your marketing plan accordingly. Here are some product metrics you can follow.
- Provide excellent customer service: This step is crucial for retaining customers and generating positive word-of-mouth. You should provide timely and helpful support through various channels, including email, phone, and chat. You can also use customer feedback to improve your product and marketing efforts.
Phase 4: build demand
Below are some steps for building demand:
The fourth stage focuses on increasing interest, desire, and demand for your product to create a sustained and scalable customer acquisition engine that drives sales and revenue growth.
- Optimize your marketing funnel: Your marketing funnel is the journey prospects take from awareness to purchase. Optimizing it involves identifying key touchpoints and channels that generate the most leads and sales. For example, tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot track your conversion rates and fine-tune your website and other marketing tools to operate in tandem. And remember — optimization is a continuous process of improvement.
- Increase brand awareness: Increasing brand awareness involves creating a consistent and recognizable brand identity that resonates with your target audience. Create a compelling brand story, leverage social media, and invest in content marketing.
- Generate leads: Generating leads is about capturing the contact information of prospects interested in your product. For example, you can offer lead magnets like ebooks, webinars, and free trials for your service. You can also use targeted advertising and email marketing to nurture leads, converting them into customers.
- Measure metrics: Measuring metrics is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of your demand generation efforts. Key metrics include lead conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, lifetime customer value, and revenue growth. Tools like Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Mixpanel can track your metrics.
- Iterate and optimize: Iterating and optimizing your demand generation efforts involves continuously testing and improving marketing tactics and strategies. A/B test your messaging, targeting, and channels to identify what works best for your target audience. You can leverage customer feedback and data analytics to improve your product and marketing efforts.
Phase 5: build loyalty
The fifth and final stage of the customer acquisition process is building loyalty. Loyal customers generate repeat sales and provide valuable word-of-mouth referrals.
Below are some steps for building customer loyalty:
- Create a memorable experience: This involves delivering exceptional service, exceeding expectations, and treating customers like favorite guests. Additionally, you should follow up with customers after their purchase to ensure their satisfaction with your product or service. Do this with automated emails or personal phone calls.
- Reward loyal customers: Rewarding loyal customers effectively encourage repeat purchases and shows appreciation for their support. For example, offer discounts, exclusive access, or rewards points to redeem prizes, gifts, or discounts.
- Collect customer feedback: Customer feedback is essential for understanding how customers feel about your product or service. Encourage customers to leave reviews and ratings on online platforms like Yelp, Google, and Amazon. Additionally, use surveys and interviews to capture detailed thoughts and feelings.
- Show appreciation: Likewise, showing appreciation is an effective way to build brand loyalty and trust. Send thank-you cards after purchase, offer gifts during special occasions, or simply say “thank you” when engaging with customers on social media.
- Stay in touch: Staying in touch helps keep you in mind with customers and can be used to re-engage potential customers who have previously expressed interest. Do this through email newsletters and leveraging social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Master customer creation with project management software
Project management software provides a centralized place to store all your customer and product data — and there will be a lot!
Additionally, you can easily assign tasks and track progress with Backlog. Automated notifications and reminders keep everyone on the same page, while analytics and reporting capabilities provide visibility into customer acquisition efforts and progress.
With project management software, you can create a well-defined customer creation process to quickly and efficiently identify, qualify, target, engage, and convert customers. You can measure progress and fine-tune your demand generation efforts for maximum results by tracking key performance metrics throughout the process.
Project management software is a powerful tool for growing your customer base. Pair it with chat apps and diagramming tools for maximum collaboration, and you’ll have the power of a united team driving you full-steam toward success.