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Meaningful Buyer Personas for the Buyer Journey: Consideration Stage

Meaningful Buyer Personas for the Buyer Journey: Consideration Stage

By Stephanie HawkinsJul 22 /2013

Rubiks CubeIf awareness is about problem surfacing, then consideration is about solution surfacing. For example, let’s say you’re a telecommunications company targeting the financial services sector. A prospect that you’d deem a perfect fit – a regional credit union with multiple branches in an area you serve – has a telecommunications problem. How do you know? The company’s Senior IT Consultant recently posted a question about VOIP and data storage to a LinkedIn group you belong to.

Here’s what the Sr. IT Consultant said:

“Our Internet always seems to be down, and our provider’s customer service isn’t as good as it should be. I spend 2-3 hours a week on the phone with help desk techs. Is this common/normal? I’m also frustrated with the quality of help I get…seems like a case of ‘the right arm doesn’t know what the left arm is doing.’”

What can we learn from this? Well, this is a sign that the company is willing to shake up the status quo. The consultant’s pain has gotten so bad, he’s naming his problem and poking around to find out if there is, in fact, a solution.

This type of thinking is the doorway into the consideration phase of the buyer journey. Assuming a discussion happened around his post, the consultant now knows he has a set of options. Other LinkedIn posters might’ve discussed a workaround with his existing solution, different providers with similar services or another way of managing IT altogether. These things all represent what the consultant will consider to be his options, and if you’ve done your awareness content correctly, you’ll hopefully be viewed as one of them.

Buyer Persona Development for the Consideration Stage

Now that the consultant is aware of his problem and his solution options, what’s he going to do? Well, that depends. To find out what happens at this stage in the buying process in your particular market, you’ll need to turn to buyer personas.

Here are some questions to ask existing customers about the way they navigated the consideration stage of the buying process:

  1. When you first started looking for solutions to your problem, what did you perceive your options to be?
  2. How did you look for information about your options? If you did a Google search, what words/phrase did you Google?
  3. Who at your company did you talk to about what you were doing, and what were their responses? Did you have a sense of who would need to be involved to make an actual purchase decision?
  4. What were your impressions of the information you found? What made you dig further or abandon each one?

What should you do with these answers once you have them?

  • For starters, make any changes you need to make. Going back to our example of the Senior IT Consultant, if he Googled “VOIP for credit unions” and you don’t rank for that phrase, get started trying to rank for it. If the consultant originally abandoned your website because he couldn’t find contact info or didn’t feel like the About Us page was friendly, make those changes.
  • Similarly, think about adopting things from other solutions he did like. For example, if the consultant originally spent a lot of time reading your competitor’s industry-specific case studies, create similar content for your website.

Making it through the consideration stage is about positioning yourself as a viable option among a lot of other competing options. That means knowing what’s out there and working to stay in the game. With accurate buyer personas, you’ll have the information you need to create content that’ll keep you on the short list.

But don’t stop there. The next step – decision – is where the real drama starts. That’ll be the subject of our next blog post in this series, so stay tuned!

Stephanie Kapera is a special projects coordinator for Kuno Creative and the co-founder of Up All Night Creative, a Raleigh-based content marketing agency that helps B2B and B2C companies develop magazine-quality web content. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Conquering Content Marketing

Photo credit: Toni Blay

The Author

Stephanie Hawkins

Stephanie has 10+ years of experience creating quality content for innovative software and healthcare companies. She is passionate about using interviews and journalistic techniques to create content that truly resonates with target audiences. Stephanie lives and works in Raleigh, NC.