One of the large challenges you face as an equine marketer is achieving what marketing professionals call "top of the mind awareness" of your horses and business.
TOMA is being the first supplier a prospective customer thinks of when they think about the horses, equine products, or horse-related services that you offer. Increasing your level of TOMA in your prospects' minds impacts your current sales of horses and services as well as your future sales.
Example 1: You have TOMA of products with which you are familiar.
If someone asks you about farriers, the image or name that pops into your mind is probably that of your own farrier. You are most familiar with your own farrier, so he is on "top of your mind." Your awareness may be so strong that when you hear the general word "farrier," you picture your own farrier's face!
Most people maintain their own status quo—when they find their service providers to be satisfactory, they are in a comfortable position than selecting another and venturing into the unknown. You are a current customer of your farrier and, as long as you are otherwise satisfied, that familiarity helps to keep you a current customer.
Example 2: You have TOMA for products that you have never used!
Think about a type of product that you haven't tried. For example, the first time you think you might try feeding a joint health supplement, do any names come to mind? Cosequin, Corta-Flx, or another brand?
Even though you don't have first-hand familiarity with the product, you probably can think of one or more specific brands. The reason those brands come to the top of your mind is that effective marketing has put them there! You have seen an ad for the brand, or the product package, or heard its name in conjunction with the product's purpose. Odds are, you have been exposed to information about the product in several ways and many times. Your mind has associated that brand with the idea of "joint supplement," and stored it away in your memory.
Familiarity builds positive associations. In one psychological study, each subject was shown a random squiggly line. When the person was later presented with a set of squiggly line patterns and asked which they liked the best, most chose the line that they had seen before.
It works for squiggly lines, for products, and for business and brand names: The more familiarity, the more likely that something is preferred.
Think of ways to create TOMA with your prospective customers, put those strategies into practice, and become your prospects' instinctive first choice.
Have a question about Top of the Mind Awareness or other comments regarding this article? Send Ingrid an email at Ingrid@equinnovation.com. Thanks for your feedback!
Copyright 2005. This article first appeared in The Equine Business Edge, Equinnovation's complimentary newsletter (click to subscribe).
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