In his previous article, the author explained a three-step process for predictable sales. One of the crucial frameworks for that was Zeroth Moment of Truth, aka ZMoT. But here’s the challenge that he sees with most entrepreneurs that is market visibility.
Your idea may be one of the best, but are you visible enough to make it work in reality? You know what you are doing, and you know why you are doing that. But if nobody knows about it, what is the point? You may be a great dancer, but what is the point if you are performing in the dark and no one sees it?
Like it or not, this is painful. It means you can spend many years of your life building a great product and delivering awesome services without reaching the payoff it truly deserves. On the other hand, you will often find another product or service, which is suboptimal compared to what you are doing, and yet they can make the most out of it. Why?
You see, visibility and attention are highly valued commodities these days. More visibility, of the right kind, can ensure more attention, which then can help you generate more business.
Think about your competition or businesses you look up to. Can you recognize how visible they are and how their visibility has created a positive loop for their business? It is mainly because more visibility means more income. More visibility means easy scalability. And more visibility also means more fun.
Visibility generates attention….
What Makes You More Visible?
When people look at advertisements and PR, it is easy to misunderstand that visibility can only be bought with tons of money. While these things may amplify your visibility, without three key ingredients it will be unlikely.
Moreover, visibility is not always about PR or advertisements. Its scope and reach are much wider. Your product or service, the content around your business, and the way it is made available do play a crucial role in your visibility. While having just one thing is useless, having two does not take you much further.
1. When You Ignore the Format
Many times, businesses have a useful product as well as some content, but not necessarily in a desirable format. This is useful, but not as much.
It results in sluggish growth, and the businesses cannot scale. Mostly this happens as a result of the DIY approach. It is understandably a poor man’s formula to plug the gaps. However, it does not do any justice from a scale or speed perspective.
2. When You Ignore Content
Some businesses do the other way round. They invest in an appropriate format and ensure they have a useful product. But lack of content soon makes it quite boring and mundane. Typically, all advertisements fall into this category.
Eventually, these ads become invisible and so does the business. People keep posting on social media about the greatness of their products, but that’s where it stops. There is nothing more to it.
Product+Format–Content= Boring Brand
3. When You Have Weak or No Product
This one is a rare occurrence, but not impossible. It is when the business shifts its focus to producing content and ensuring appropriate format. However, what is the point of all this if there is no value added, if there is no valuable product to sell?
It is a sheer waste of money, which creates a lot of buzz and noise but does nothing for your business or customer. Content and format are there to amplify your product or service. If the product is no good, amplification won’t help.
Why are they Important?
While these three factors look seemingly obvious, businesses have shown some resistance to accepting them as critical factors. It makes things difficult because if people don’t appreciate the importance, they are unlikely to take any action.
Building a product ecosystem takes time, but it’s worth the effort
And by the way, the same applies to your customers too. If they do not appreciate the importance of your business and the value it delivers, they will do the same—they will not take any action.
Let’s take a quick look at why each factor makes sense and why it is important.
The term product does not only mean a set of physical items. Many services can also be delivered as products with a standardized delivery mechanism. This way even services can be replicated by several people. Essentially, a product is what your customer wants to achieve their desired outcomes with.
Carefully crafted content often becomes a business generation tool by itself
However, after working with hundreds of businesses, we have observed that having one product in your portfolio or offering is severely limiting. Unfortunately, everything relies on one product and then it becomes a bottleneck.
If you were to increase your chances of success, you need multiple products. Not just several disjointed products or product variants, but a portfolio that makes sense together. An ecosystem of products and services is often a prudent way to progress.
While your core offer or product must solve significant pain for the customer, the rest of the portfolio should support that offering in some way. Building such a product ecosystem takes time, but it is absolutely worth the effort.
You may have often heard people saying content is king. It can be in the form of reports, brochures, podcasts, blogs, videos, photos, designs, books, or anything else you can imagine. This content essentially helps people to get to know your business. Moreover, it also clarifies your thinking.
The good part is, content is often scalable and can remove several bottlenecks. When done correctly, it is also shareable. Who does not want their customers to share their content with other prospects?
Carefully crafted content often becomes a business generation tool by itself. As one of the valuable assets, published content showcases you as an expert in your field. It helps in establishing credibility and therefore makes it easier to sell and bring in more business.
Using the right format to engage the audience at a psychological level works wonderfully
More and more businesses these days are philosophically driven. Many founders have a stronger purpose and connect with the ecosystem. But for your philosophy to become an asset it must be highly distinctive. Distinctive in the sense that if we spoke about your philosophy without mentioning your name, people would quickly realize we were talking about you.
But the content is cheaper to produce nowadays; don’t you think so? And that means almost everyone is doing it. So, how can you do it better to stand out?
The biggest issue today is the amount of junk on the internet. When every piece of content is screaming for attention, it gets noisy. So, to ensure you get the attention you deserve, it is critical to ensure your content is cutting through that noise and making it to the eyes or ears of your audience.
This is where the format comes into play. The format is the form in which your content or information is made available to your audience. It ranges from video, audio, print material, social media posts, animations, gif images, banners, posters, or anything similar.
Each form comes with its own pros and cons. For example, a digital banner shown on out-of-home (OOH) media may look much nicer but cannot be shared by the viewer. A useful video on YouTube is easy to share on several other channels, but if posted on a social media channel could be restricted to a single platform.
However, the crucial part of getting the format right always begins with knowing where your target audience gets their information from. Once you know it, it is easier to pick or discard the formats you might be using.
As much as your content is meant for your audience, we all want it to spread, and go viral. More views, likes, shares, etc can be a proxy for some sort of validation. And the key to having that attention-grabbing format lies in how well it is designed. Knowing how to use any format to maximize its impact on the audience at the psychological level is highly important. After all, that’s how the message spreads.
So, How Can You Improve?
To put it simply, when you get the trio of product, content, and format rightly mixed, it has the potential to amplify your visibility.
A well-designed product becomes an asset. A well-designed content becomes an asset. And when both are delivered in the right format, it amplifies everything.
ZMoT is the reality of today’s market, and having the right kind of visibility can tilt the balance in
The good news is—most businesses already have all these things available in some shape or form. So, it won’t be a starting-from-scratch challenge.
Nonetheless, it requires continuous and diligent work, on all fronts. It may also mean everything cannot be DIY style. In the beginning, everything is done by one or two people in the business.
However, the visibility game needs more support and a functional mechanism to make it work consistently. Going DIY may be possible, but it would mean that DIYer becomes a bottleneck at all times and that severely limits the speed of growth.
As always, the first step is to assess gaps and avenues for improvement. When you clearly see where’s the scope to improve, improving becomes much easier.
ZMoT is the reality of today’s market, and having the right kind of visibility can tilt the balance in your favor. So, ask yourself—are you a visible entrepreneur?
PS: You can check your visibility score with this quick 5-minute visibility test.
Anand Tamboli is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, award-winning author, and an emerging technology thought leader