What is the Buyer’s Journey and Why Does it Matter for Marketers?

 

Consumers today can seem almost allergic to advertising. Adblockers help users ignore sponsored messaging, customers trust reviews and testimonials over sales pitches, and 72% of customers turn first to Google – not sales reps – when researching purchases.

These behaviors reflect key features of the buyer’s journey, or the decision-making process that takes your audience from potential customer to loyal convert.

In this blog, we’ll explain what the buyer’s journey is and how understanding it can help marketers achieve their goals.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

Hubspot defines the buyer’s journey as the process through which buyers become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a good or service. It includes pre-decision, decision, and post-decision stages during which consumers seek valuable information from authoritative sources.

In short, it’s a summary of how your customers think. That’s advertising gold if you ask us.

While the buyer’s journey is based on established psychological concepts, its implications for marketers have evolved with changes in consumer behavior. With so many options at their fingertips, customers want to make sure they’re making the absolute best choice possible. And with access to more information than ever, they actually can.

By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can better identify with your customers, which aids in communication – the essence of good marketing.

More specifically, you can zero in on what they need, and thus how your brand can fulfill that need. This helps you craft high-value messages that will cut through the noise and foster trust between you and your audience.

The Stages of the Buyer’s Journey

Conventional wisdom defines a purchase as a process, not an event. The buyer’s journey helps marketers break down a customer’s experience of that process, allowing marketers to craft targeted messaging that meets customers where they are.

Awareness

The buyer’s journey starts with a customer becoming aware of a problem, or need. This could be anything from being hungry and deciding to pick a restaurant to eat for lunch, to realizing that one needs to buy a new car.

Tip: Consumers don’t want to buy something they don’t need. For customers at the awareness stage, messaging that focuses on your brand, goods, or services may fall on deaf ears or, worse, seem too aggressive.

Consideration

Once a customer realizes they have a need, they’ll begin considering solutions. This means researching and evaluating options, refining their criteria, and finally narrowing down a list of solutions. Customers often cycle between these steps until they’re ready to make a final decision.

Tip: Your media mix should accommodate how people gather information these days. Television and radio ads that highlight your value in a unique way can certainly make an impact, but for many brands, digital outreach will be key.

Consumers in the consideration stage often turn to customer reviews, testimonials, and other content that provides trustworthy information. Think about including these in your marketing strategy.

Decision

Having evaluated the necessary criteria and options, the consumer converts, or makes a purchase.

Tip: While the decision stage is a milestone for any brand, it’s not necessarily the end of the buyer’s journey, nor your work as a marketer. Some have even dubbed the post-decision phase the “Evangelize” stage, during which happy customers spread the word about the value of your good or service.

Customers who have already converted have the potential to contribute to your brand presence through the same customer reviews and testimonials that may have driven them to you in the first place. Make sure your marketing strategy doesn’t leave your post-decision buyers behind.

How to Use the Buyer’s Journey in Your Marketing Strategy

Start with questions. How will customers find you? What kinds of information, or content, will help them make an informed decision? And once they’re poised to make a purchase, what will facilitate their conversion?
You’ll need to address these questions when designing your website and planning your advertisements and content.

Use buyer personas. The buyer’s journey is all about empathizing with your customers. One specific way to do that is with buyer personas. These sketches or profiles of fictional customers help you narrow down exactly who you’re talking to, where they are in the buyer’s journey, and most importantly what to say to them.
To learn more, read our blog on the power of buyer personas.

Craft targeted content. Since so much of the buyer’s journey now happens online, your digital marketing strategy should incorporate strong, authoritative content targeted to consumers at various stages of the process.
First, consider your brand and target audience, then decide what kinds of content will best communicate with them. Blogs, articles, white papers, and user-generated content like reviews or social media posts are great examples of this kind of targeted content.

At Bloom Ads, We Know Buyers

The professionals at Bloom Ads specialize in creating the right media mix for your brand and target audience. If you have questions about media buying and planning, digital advertising, or just how to better reach your potential customers, get in touch today.

The Power of Personas: Why Are Marketing Personas Important?

Markeing personas help make your audience real.
Most industry insiders agree that good marketing is all about figuring out not just what to say to your audience, but also when and how to say it. In order to craft that perfect message and communicate it effectively, you have to understand your audience.

So what exactly does that mean, and how do marketers accomplish it? One important way is through marketing personas. Sometimes called buyer personas, marketing personas create clear portraits of potential customers, literally putting a name – if not a face – to the often nebulous concept of your “target audience.”

Below, we’ll define marketing personas, explain why marketing personas are important, and provide tips for developing personas for your own company.

What Are Marketing Personas?

A marketing persona is a fictional “sketch” of a key segment of your target audience. This sketch helps you create a marketing strategy that is more relevant and valuable to the customers who matter most to your business. Once again, good marketing is all about figuring out what to say, and how and when to say it. By bringing faceless consumers to life with concrete identifiers, marketing personas address that very challenge.

A marketing persona should include specific details about the fictional customer, including at a minimum:

  • Demographics, such as age, gender, salary, education, and family
  • Occupation/career details
  • Personal goals and values

One final piece of the puzzle that many marketers may want to consider is the customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey. HubSpot has famously defined the buyer’s journey as the process through which all customers go when moving from discovery of your product/service to conversion. This process includes three stages: Awareness (the customer becomes aware of a particular need), Consideration (the customer researches solutions – i.e. products and services), and Decision (the customer purchases your product or service – i.e. converts).

Let’s say your company sells high-end hiking boots. A persona for one ideal customer might describe Jessica, a 30-year-old single Los Angeles resident. Jessica works as an executive assistant in the entertainment industry making $60,000 per year. She has recently started hiking for recreation and is interested in purchasing her first pair of hiking boots. She likes her job, which requires her to present herself well and keep up with trends, so she values both quality and style in her purchase.

Your message to Jessica should communicate these values in a way that targets beginners who are still in the consideration phase of their shopping. Save the discussions of complex boot comparisons and updated features, on the other hand, for Tim, a loyal customer, seasoned backpacker, and retiree looking to upgrade his go-to boots as he prepares to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

Why Are Marketing Personas Important?

Marketing is about meeting audiences’ needs profitably. As you can see in the examples above, marketing personas help you meet customer needs by more fully defining who those customers are or could be. When you can put a name, age, and range of interests and experience to a customer, you can better illuminate their values and get a clearer picture of what that person needs from your product, service, or marketing strategy.

So personas help you define and understand your audience… but why is that so important? In short, if you don’t understand who your audience is, you can’t understand their needs. If you don’t understand their needs, you can’t meet them – let alone profitably.

By defining your ideal customers’ needs, marketing personas help marketers use time and energy more efficiently and, ultimately, create better products and services. Marketing personas are important in all of the following tasks:

  • Refining ad campaigns
  • Content creation (including email campaigns and blog posts)
  • Social media marketing (such as on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
  • General marketing problem-solving
  • Efficient and well-aligned product development

Tips for Harnessing the Power of Personas in Your Marketing Strategy

Be as detailed as possible. The more details you include, the clearer the picture of your ideal customer will be. A clearer sketch helps you both define and solve more problems for this customer, and refine your message to communicate how you can do so.

Consider the customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey. As we mentioned above, you should tailor your message to the buyer’s stage in engaging with your product or service. Someone who is still researching solutions needs a different message than someone who has already converted, or even someone who is just well-versed in industry terms and concepts.

Use templates. While each buyer persona is a unique sketch, you should standardize your process for developing personas by using or creating persona templates. This helps ensure you always include the same level of detail across campaigns, products, and departments, ensuring a more profitable use of time and resources.

We Can Help You Help Your Audience

At Bloom Ads, we’ve made it our life’s work to help clients craft the right messages for the right audience. Have questions about buyer personas, why marketing personas are important, or just how to get started on a successful marketing campaign? Explore our advertising services today.

Bloom Ads Global Media Group | 818.703.0218 | info@bloomads.com
20720 Ventura Blvd. Suite 140 Woodland Hills, CA 91364