It is interesting to see so many people try to confuse nurturing with prospecting. In my mind, prospecting is all about finding prospective customers who have a defined need for which my product or service will be a great solution to address their need. A defined need happens when a prospect fully understands their issues, and has determined that their status quo situation is unacceptable.
Prospects want to find solutions to their known problems. They are very much interested in solution information. And this is the type of information that most companies have voluminous amounts of. You know the stuff, features, benefits, demos, specifications, process diagrams, screen shots, etc.
Nurturing on the other hand is all about helping people (suspects) who don’t yet have a defined need determine whether their status quo situation is or should be unacceptable. The distinction is that suspects don’t yet know or believe they have a problem or issue with their current situation.
Consequently, nurturing then is all about educating these suspects and helping them understand the potential issues and problems they may have with their current situation. People who are at this stage of learning aren’t interested in biased self-proclaiming wonders. Rather, they are interested in credible, unbiased information that articulates what the potential issues are with their current situation in language they can understand .
Sources that provide this type of unbiased, value-added information become credible and trusted by suspects who will one day be prospects with a defined need. When that transition occurs, those trusted sources are already well positioned in the prospect’s mind, maybe even to the point that predisposition has set in.
Update – Ardath Albee has a great blog called “Marketing Interactions” and she recently had a post worth sharing – “How do your prospects know?“.