Why Marketing Managers need to understand the modern buyer's journey
It's remarkable how many marketing managers I meet who have got so fixated with their targets and every day tactics that they fail to realise that their focus may be on the wrong thing. If we can appreciate how people buy today we can adapt our marketing to help us make more sales.
Let’s look at how the modern consumer makes a decision to buy. In essence the modern buyer pro-actively goes through a research process which leads them to a purchase.They go through three steps. Marketing needs to be focused in each area of the journey to ensure success.
At Attitude Design we define this buyers journey as follows:
The awareness phase is all about the challenges or aspirations of the buyer. Maybe they are experiencing a symptom of a problem. They might not know what the exact cause of the symptom is and so they actively search for answers around their problem. They seek to become aware of the situation they find themselves in.
Once the modern buyer understands what their problem is and can define it, they move into the consideration step. This is where they actively seek solutions to the problem, challenge or goal that they want to overcome or achieve. They research, collate and consider all possible solutions.
In this final step the modern buyer, now with the full knowledge of what they want to achieve and having at their fingertips an array of potential solutions, they begin to decide the best course of action, shortlisting types of solution and then eventually settling on a specific product or service. It is usually only in the final third stage of the buyer’s journey that a prospect will contact a business.
What this represents is a huge shift in how we purchase products which has taken place over the last 10-15 years. Instead of being interrupted by companies outwardly pushing their offer on us, we do our research and, when we are ready, we make contact with them. We go in. We do not want them to come out. This is why old methodologies no longer work. We, as modern buyers, do not want to be disturbed by advertising and messaging which is not relevant to us.
As we go through the above process it has to be on our terms. We want to be helped not sold to. We want to be enriched with useful and relevant information which makes us feel smart. Information that helps us make a good decision for us. Not a decision based on pressure.
I find that most marketing activities are focused on buyers who are in the decision stage of the buyer's journey. In other words, activities are simply looking to help the buyer over the line. Not much work is done on educating or the problems of the customer. However, when marketing is aimed at people earlier in the buyer journey bigger rewards can follow. Why? Because a more established relationship between brand and buyer can be created. You can help the buyer with their actual problem or challenge and give them a solution - rather than hoping that they will do this research on their own and end up at your door.
What this means is that for a business looking to grow and attract new customers a methodology of marketing needs to be employed to help the buyer through each stage of the buyer's journey. We need to make a marketing and sales process which seems natural and organic.
Not only will this ensure your brand is better thought of but it will ultimately lead to more sales because buyers are confident in your brand and look up to it as it has helped them and understand them. It's the difference between being marketeer centric and customer centric.
Now we know how people today buy, I wish you all the best in helping bring people through the buyers journey and making your business more sales.