the 4 “I’s” Model

Tony Grima has developed a model which helps to understand a customers buying process. It should be viewed as an ongoing reciprocal process rather than sequential and will assist to focus your resources to not only maintain existing customers but also to attract new customers. The key point to remember is that customers will move between the quadrants at different rates. Some will sit in quadrant 1 (top left) for years while others will move to the buying stage very quickly. The goal of your business is to move all customers to the 4th quadrant or the buying stage, but to do so attention must be given to all parts of the cycle.

When first formulating a marketing strategy, part of the process is to segment the market where your business is best placed to meet the needs outlined in quadrant three. Essentially you need to identify and meet the needs and wants of your target customer. Any business effectively doing that has the edge over their competitors.

Quadrant 1 – I have heard about you: This phase is all about communicating your customer value proposition, building brand, credibility and reputation. This is achieved by advertising, word of mouth, referrals and recommendations, social media and your sales team.

Quadrant 2 – I am interested in what you offer: This is an important stage of the cycle and must be given plenty of attention. Your name is out there and customers are now interested in your products or service. Relationship building is key to securing new business but also retaining existing business. Customers may still say no to purchasing your product or service, but what they are really saying is “not now”. It is well documented that it cost far more to secure new customers than to retain existing, so do not neglect regular customers who have already moved to the buying stage. These customers should always be made aware of new products and services you are offering with the goal to capture more revenue.

Quadrant 3 – I need your help with a problem: A critical phase of the cycle. The customer is aware of your business, they have an interest in your products or services and now have a need which requires a solution. Who ever best meets this need will win the business. It will not always be about price and could be driven by other factors of the customer value proposition promoted through quadrant two and three.

Quadrant 4 – I am ready to buy: Your business best meets the needs of the customer. Make the buying process easy. Ensure you provide exceptional customer service, support and follow-up to exceed expectations and build loyalty. The buying customer will now move back through quadrants one and two and any slip-up with the buying or post-buying process may damage your brand and reputation. Continue to strongly focus on building customer relationships and loyalty with the goal of your customer base cycling through quadrants three and four only.

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