So far in this little course we have learned about a range of things including what a customer really is and how he or she is attracted to a product or service. ‘Conversion’, we have learned, is about transforming one type of prospect into another, the type that becomes a customer. And we have learned that all of this has much to do with something that we have termed a ‘vacuum’.
Please remember that whenever we use the word 'vacuum' we are talking about need. The point of using the word 'vacuum' and not 'need' - and calling it vacuum power rather than 'need power’ - is that the word 'vacuum' suggests qualities and characteristics which are more helpful in understanding what is happening with customers than the word 'need' does.
What do we know about vacuums from basic science? As we have seen, a vacuum is defined as a space or container from which the air has been completely or partly removed. What happens in the vicinity of vacuums? Surrounding air or objects are pulled toward a vacuum until it is filled. The bigger the vacuum, the stronger the pull. Vacuums create attraction. They have a pull.
Prospects of various kinds are walking around the world, carrying with them their own inner needs. They may not be aware of these vacuums; they may only have some slight inkling of them; they may be urgently aware of them and trying to deal with them; or they may feel that the vacuums are not pressing.
That’s what makes a prospect a prospect: a prospect is someone with an actual or potential vacuum.
That means just about anyone who is alive, right?
So the job of a successful business is to find or create vacuums that resonate with prospect vacuums.
The 'vacuum' could be a need for food or a casual desire for a holiday, or a need to feel an emotion, or a desire for a better kitchen; it could be a sensation, a need for relief from pain, a particular appliance, a new look, or even peace of mind. The range of effects that could be described in terms of vacuums is infinite.
But for now it will help to examine specific types of prospect vacuums. There are four basic kinds of prospect vacuum:
External positive vacuums: these could include escape to a better place, a healthier world-view, a better relationship with someone and so on - things external to the prospect.
Internal positive vacuums: these include things like a peace of mind a character would like to achieve, a state of fitness they want to reach, an emotion they’d like to express and so forth, part of the person’s internal world.
External negative vacuums: these could be things like declining health, insecurity in the character’s environment, a hungry family or a forthcoming redundancy - real, external factors.
Internal negative vacuums: including the fear of a future health problem, hunger, pain or personal depression or anxiety and so on - mainly psychological aspects.
Positive/negative, internal/external: master the recognition of these vacuums and vacuum generation becomes easier and more predictable.
Vacuums either pull your products or services toward the prospect or the prospect toward your products or services.
The job of the successful business is to create vacuums that overlap with the vacuums of the prospect and then magnify them.
Filling the vacuum produces a moment of fulfilment for the person. A large vacuum being filled produces a bigger, more emotionally fulfilling effect. Somewhere along the way, a prospect turns into a customer: they perceive that you can fill their vacuum, and hand over some money to get what you are offering.
Your job does not end there (though many businesses think that it does). What’s happened at that point is that your prospect type has been transformed from someone wanting to buy into someone who now has possession of your product. You now have to make sure that they use it and are satisfied with it.
The more creative and energetic your business is in creating and filling vacuums, the more successful it will be. If a business successfully fills a vacuum, customers will either return to have more vacuums filled (even ones that they didn’t realise were there!) or they will recommend other people to come to you, through a contagion of vacuums.
Provide good food, effective counselling, an enjoyable holiday, a powerful new appliance, a great children’s gift, a perfect new look, or even lasting peace of mind and the customer who wanted it will return to you again and again. And they’ll want their family and friends to come to you too. But what makes the business ‘good’ is vacuums; what makes the product ‘effective’ is vacuums; what makes the service ‘enjoyable’ is vacuums, and so on.
Next: What a Marketing Campaign Actually Is