The tipping point08/22/2012 | Follow Neil | Connect with Neil

What makes a person finally take that plunge and go from ‘prospect’ to ‘customer’? Wouldn’t it be great to know? But can we ever know?

Most of our marketing activity is about nudging people along the pipeline, staying engaged with them throughout, feeding them positive information in sensible bites until they reach the point of making a decision and then ensuring that the information they need is readily available through staff, outlets or online. Occasionally campaigns are designed to drum up immediate business, and these are relatively easy to track if you have a promotional code, etc. But in all other cases can we ever really understand what drives that final decision?

In my day job we deal with companies in the medical sector selling them design and consultancy services. One of our target clients called us recently asking us to quote on a number of projects. We’ve known them for years through personal relationships and they receive our magazine and email updates. who is We bump into them at conferences and exhibitions and I’m certain they will have seen a few of the articles that we wrote in trade magazines. But what combination led to that phone call? Were we just building up positive brand associations until it got to the point where a desire to work with us was just too great? Or was it that one of our many touch points happened to fall on the same day that they had to make a decision? If it was the second one, then that is incredibly lucky. I’d like to think that it was the first one.

I guess this reflects the nature of marketing today. We have to be multi-channel, multi-time zone and fully integrated as our target markets want to engage in different ways and at different times. Plus, the lifetime of messages are short (especially through digital channels). The result is the need to be constantly switched on and communicating. This also has an impact on our skills. As marketing evolves over the next five years what do we need to know?

We tackle this issue of future-proofing skills through Charles Nixon (of Cambridge Marketing College) and Richard Peters (of Decoded) on October 18th at Another Marketing Conference. Also, Hanne Tuomisto-Inch (of Google) talks about how Google is focusing at helping clients win at the moment of truth when people go from undecided to decided.

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