Imagine two pirates find a treasure map and decide to go looking for the treasure under that big red X. Pirate 1 wants to follow the curving dotted lines, but Pirate 2 thinks the map’s path is too complicated and wants to go straight to the X. Pirate 2 will never be able to get the treasure because, by not following the directions like Pirate 1, he missed some very important clues along the way. Because he understood the importance of the journey, Pirate 1 goes home with the treasure.
But what does this have to do with marketing? Well, in the past, marketers asked the question “How are we going to sell our product?” when creating a campaign. But those marketers were like Pirate 2 – they were trying to skip to the treasure at the end (in this case, a customer purchasing their product or service). What they should have been asking, was “How is our customer going to buy?” or in other words “How can we follow the steps of our potential buyer’s journey to get them to purchase our product or service?”
There are three important steps in the modern buyer’s journey. These are: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Being able to follow your buyers through each of these steps, and helping them to keep your business in mind, will lead you to the treasure, just like Pirate 1.
At the beginning of the awareness stage, your buyer is only just becoming aware they have a need, or pain point. As they become aware, they begin to research.
As a marketer, your job at this stage is to create awareness of your product, service, or company, not to start selling things. Your buyer isn’t looking for a solution yet, just for material. They’ll eventually begin to weed out criteria, and therefore certain vendors, that do not meet their needs and prioritize questions they need answered.
So don’t focus the attention of your marketing on your product or service just yet. At this point keep content focused on the buyer’s pain points, and lay off the heavy sales pitch.
As they buyer reaches the Consideration stage, they have narrowed down their choices for a solution to just a few companies. This is where they start to compare vendors, and may reach out to sales reps to see which can provide the features that really matter.
Now is the time when it becomes important to use information you have collected about your buyers, such as their Personas, to start targeting the information you’re putting out to them specifically.
Remember, your buyer is going to need sign-off from a C-level executive before making a monetary purchase so you’ll have to focus on content that’s important to the C-suite, like increased revenue, ROI, and pricing.
It’s finally time to get that brand, product, or service-specific content out there. Your buyer is ready to select a vendor, and they’re looking to the specifics to make the decision.
This is it; the treasure is yours! But if you want to remember where the chest is buried to come back for more, you’ll have to keep your buyer around. If you can keep the buyer seeing the value in your product, they’re more likely to remain your customer when it comes time to renew their agreement with you. Plus, customers who remain happy about the service you provide make for excellent marketing tools when it comes to testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing.