The Marketing Strategist:
Aligning Marketing to the Buyer’s Journey
Supporting the buyer’s journey has become a priority for many marketing organizations.
Unfortunately, we at ITSMA see many marketers trying to find shortcuts in mapping the buyer’s journey. They adopt a generic buyer’s journey template (one of the best I’ve seen was put together by Lori Wizdo from Forrester) and perhaps supplement it with findings from syndicated research. If they are a bit more ambitious, they gather input from the sales organization.
The result is a great starting point, but that’s all it is—a starting point.
What’s wrong with this shortcut approach?
- First, there is nothing in the generic template or syndicated research that is going to provide you with a competitive advantage. Your industry peers all have access to that same information and yes, they are using it too.
- Second, your sales people only see a small slice of the buying process. Much of it takes place beyond their purview.
- Most important is that the buyer’s journey can vary greatly depending on the specific buyer and type of purchase. One size does not fit all.
ITSMA’s How Buyers Consume Information infographic, based on in-depth research and experience building custom buyer personas, illustrates the wide variation in the purchase process for three different types of solutions: mature, leading edge, and bleeding edge. As should be clear on the infographic, there are critical differences in the decision makers, issues to address, and most important information sources—even if you’re selling to the same type of company or industry.
As such, the most successful marketers will move beyond a generic buyer’s journey template and create customized versions based on the kind of deep insights that can be gleaned only from talking directly with buyers.
It might be easier than you think. In many cases, a 15-30-day sprint with 8-10 buyer interviews provides a strong foundation for an effective approach. But the research is critical. To create the most effective marketing and content strategies for your buyers and solutions, there is no substitute for talking to your customers and prospects directly and digging deep to understand the specific buyer journeys that matter most.