A New Framework for Intent Levels: Beyond TOFU, MOFU, BOFU
The traditional "TOFU, MOFU, BOFU" model has been a mainstay in the marketing world for categorizing and targeting customers based on their buying journey. However, this model is increasingly seen as oversimplified and insufficient for addressing the diversity of customer interactions. So, it's time we rethink our approach to customer intent. Let's explore a more nuanced and comprehensive model.
Redefining Levels of Intent
- Just Got Here: The visitor has landed on your website or blog out of curiosity or perhaps by accident. They're in the earliest stage of interaction, casually consuming content that appears interesting.
- No thank you, I'm just browsing: The visitor is exploring your website without a specific objective. They're familiarizing themselves with your brand, offerings, and value proposition but aren't yet looking for solutions.
- A series of Oh shit! moments: The visitor has realized they have a problem and is actively looking for content that resonates with their pain points and offers potential solutions.
- The First Action: The visitor begins to engage more deeply with your content. They're interested in your product or service and are seeking answers to specific questions about features, integrations, and use cases.
- The no-commitment engagement: The visitor has developed a warming interest in your brand. Drawn back to your site by your persistent presence on social media or retargeting ads, they return for a more detailed exploration.
- The urgency moment: An external event such as a regulatory change or a global crisis has intensified the visitor's need for a solution. This stage is characterized by a sense of urgency and openness to immediate solutions.
- The benchmark: The visitor is seriously considering your product or service but needs to establish its reliability and effectiveness. They may seek proof through customer reviews, testimonials, or comparison pages.
- Self-service exploration: The visitor is keen to understand your product better but isn't ready for a personal demo yet. They may seek video walkthroughs, in-depth product descriptions, or try out a free trial if available.
- Window shopping: The visitor is comparing different options and evaluating their cost-effectiveness. They're likely to visit your pricing page and may compare it with your competitors.
- Matchmaking: The visitor has decided your solution meets their needs and they're ready to take the next step. This could be filling out a contact form, requesting a personal demo, or making a purchase.
The Power of Generative AI in Nurturing Intent
In the era of AI, platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard are redefining customer interactions. Instead of navigating through the stages of intent, a visitor might simply ask an AI a question, and the AI could present the most suitable offer based on its understanding of the question's underlying intent.
To leverage these AI platforms, companies need to ensure they provide clear, comprehensive, and easily accessible information about their offerings. AI tools need to be trained with up-to-date and accurate data about your products, services, pricing, use cases, testimonials, and more. Additionally, businesses should consider integrating these AI platforms into their websites and social media channels, ensuring seamless interactions for users.
Realigning the Offer for Every Stage
Instead of pushing all visitors towards a demo or a sales conversation, consider crafting a variety of offers that cater to each intent level. For example, for visitors in the "A series of Oh shit! moments" stage, provide insightful content addressing their pain points. For those in the "Self-service exploration" stage, offer video walkthroughs or comprehensive product descriptions. Create a pop-up subscription page for the newbies to get on your social targeting list and see your ads.
By creating a diverse array of offers that match each intent level, you can guide prospects through their journey, from initial curiosity to active need, more effectively. This approach transforms your website into a resource that visitors find useful at every stage, fostering greater engagement, building trust, and ultimately improving conversion rates.
Preparing for the Future of AI-driven Customer Interactions
As AI platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard continue to evolve, the traditional customer journey could be reduced to a single, well-articulated question. To thrive in this changing landscape, companies need to prepare their digital presence for AI interaction.
First, ensure your website and other digital content are structured in a way that allows these AI tools to easily extract and understand information. Then, maintain an up-to-date knowledge base that AI can use to provide accurate and relevant responses. Lastly, consider creating an AI persona that aligns with your brand identity to provide a more personalized and engaging customer experience.
It's time to move beyond the traditional TOFU MOFU BOFU model and embrace a more nuanced understanding of customer intent. By adjusting our offers to match each level of intent, we can cater to the diversity of customer interactions, meeting customers where they are and driving better results. And by preparing for the integration of generative AI tools, we can stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving landscape of customer engagement.
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