The buyer's journey is an important part of Kuno Creative's marketing success. Our strategies continue to evolve based on the buyer's journey for each of our clients. This six-part blog series describes each stage of the buyer's journey and how buyer personas can help facilitate promising strategies and success. This is the first blog within the series.
Every buyer looking for your products and services is on their own journey, from knowing they need a product to actually purchasing it. As a marketer, it’s up to you to create the right messaging for each stage of their journey that will resonate with them and nurture them toward their decision.
Beyond thinking about the buyer’s journey, you must take into account that there are different types of people buying your products and services. These are known to marketers as buyer personas.
In this six-part series, I’m going to help you understand buyer personas and how to create content for each of the various stages of the buyer’s journey. To make the process more manageable, I’m going to walk you through it step-by-step, from awareness to consideration, decision, support and retention.
The buyer’s journey is a way to understand the buyer’s mindset. It’s a model for understanding what gets buyers from “Who is this company?” to “I want to buy what they’re selling!” and then, even further to “I want to buy it again and again!” to “I want to tell all my friends I bought it!”
How can you understand the buyer’s journey? Well (warning: jargon ahead), that involves creating buyer personas based on buyer roles and pain points for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
First, different buyer personas are involved at different stages of the journey. The person who initially fills out a form on your website may not have the authority to actually buy your product. That means you’ll need to create content for different buyer personas at different stages of the journey.
To successfully do this, you’ll need to be an investigator, researcher and information gatherer. (All of this work will bring you leads, sales and lifelong customers, so there’s definitely an upside.)
Finally, this is a process you’ll need to repeat once a year. It’s good to revisit your buyer personas annually because needs change, technology changes, industries change and your company changes, too. Although maintaining your buyer personas might seem like a low-priority activity, treating it that way could result in missed opportunities.
Now that you’re ready to create buyer personas for each stage of the buyer’s journey, how do you get started?
Adele Revella, founder of The Buyer Persona Institute, says that it’s not enough to know your buyer; you must understand the choices they make at every step of their journey if you want to influence their decision. The best way to get information about your buyers is by interviewing them directly to get the most candid information.
It’s recommended to interview more than one person to get a clearer picture of the buyers you’ll be interacting with at each stage. Multiple interviews can give you a 30,000-foot view of your buyers, their priorities, pain points and what events they may encounter on their buyer’s journey that will factor into their decision.
Before you start interviewing your buyers, let’s talk about one last thing: what buyer personas are NOT.
Buyer personas are not demographic profiles. A common mistake is focusing on a buyer’s demographics, rather than psychographics. Psychographics are the psychological factors that go into making a decision, such as emotions, goals, etc. These factors will be more influential to your buyer in their purchasing decision, particularly if this is a large purchase. Understanding these factors can help you create stronger marketing messages along their journey for your target audience.
Buyer personas are also not guesses or assumptions about who your target customers are. You’re looking for the real buyer, not who you think the real buyer might be. Prepare for triggering events that could affect your buyer personas and their buyer’s journeys. The best way to get this information is to do one-on-one interviews. Each person will give you their honest take on what is driving their need to purchase your goods and services, what might cause them to go with a competitor, other personas involved in the decision-making process and what the key influential factors are. Conversations are the best way to find out all of this and more.
This probably seems like a lot of information, so hang in there. This is the first in a six-part series where we can address each stage individually.
Read Part 2: Awareness Stage
Read Part 3: Consideration Stage
Read Part 4: Decision Stage
Read Part 5: Support Stage
Read Part 6: Retention Stage