Unpacking the Buyer’s Journey

We were recently honored to be part of a panel discussion on the buyer’s journey hosted by our friends at Authentic Brand here in the Twin Cities. The panel included Jennifer Zick and Barb Bertsch from Authentic Brand, Darrell Amy from Convergo, and our own John Gamades. Here were a few highlight moments and insights from that conversation…

QUESTION 1: What does it mean to clarify an ideal customer persona, and why is that so critical as a foundation for business health and growth?

Darrell Amy, Convergo
“Looking at decision-makers and influencers, each one of those personas has some demographics, right? It’s “Business Owner Bob” that drives a minivan, is 42 years old, and lives in a blah, blah, blah… That’s all great, but what I really want to know for each of the personas are the specific business outcomes that that person wants from their perspective. And then psychographically, what’s their psychological bent? Are they looking for return on investment? Are they looking for status and career advancement? Are they just simply looking for low price? Go ahead and keep calling them “Business Owner Bob,” but let’s look deeper in terms of the business outcomes that each one of those specific people want to have. Look at your ideal client profile from a business perspective and then apply that to each person, and now you start to have some grit and some meaning to how you communicate with those people.”

QUESTION 2: What advice would you offer to companies that are putting communication strategies in place around their buyer journey and then getting some feedback along the way that wasn’t what they expected?

Barb Bertsch, Authentic Brand
“I would say that when you put together a buyers journey, remember that it’s version one, not version done. It will evolve. The pandemic is a prime example of that. There are a lot of people out there who no longer really want to touch and have a discussion with a human. As marketers need to recognize where they’re at, meet them where they’re at, and make sure we’re putting assets through social, paid media, and all the different channels. We need to make it more omni channel than it ever has been so that we’re meeting people where they’re at.

And, if you’re not revisiting your buyer’s journey often, you’re not going to recognize that there’s a problem. Having candid conversations with marketing and sales and the whole organization is essential. If those conversations aren’t happening, they need to be happening. Ask Jim over in sales, “What are you seeing that’s changed since the pandemic started?” There are a ton of trending reports out there right now that are telling us that there’s data behind these changes. Today, if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to get left behind.”

Jennifer Zick, Authentic Brand
“That’s so important. Barb, you mentioned that if a business hasn’t done this as an exercise and reviewed it regularly, they’re running on assumptions. When we work internally, in our own companies, we’re working inside the bottle – and we can’t read the label, right? No matter how much we love our customers and feel connected, because we’re part of the marketing team or part of the sales process, or we’re one of the founders and we know what we do, we really don’t know. We get myopic, and we get so close to the subject matter. That’s why it’s so important to get third-party partners to help us read the label.”

QUESTION 3: In your experience, what are some of the most common places where buyer’s journey breaks down? And how can organizations plan ahead to ensure they’re not missing out on key opportunities?

John Gamades, OrangeBall Creative
“I think one of the first places that it breaks down is when the focus is only on filling the funnel, only on business acquisition, and only on lead-gen. If you’re not paying attention to nurturing the relationship on the backside of that, you’re going to get people into the funnel, but you’re not going to keep them, and you’re not going to create raving fans, which is what we all want. I use the analogy of dating and marriage. When you’re dating, you’re trying to get somebody into the funnel. You’re trying to get them to that spot where they become a customer or a client. But even after you’re married, you have to continue dating them. If you don’t, the relationship is going to lose strength – it’s an important part of the relationship. Our ability to continue dating our customers, and to continue adding value after the sale, is a huge part of the buyer journey that gets missed all the time.”

This is just a sampling from the full webinar conversation, and there were so many other valuable takeaways from this amazing group of marketing leaders. The full Buyer’s Journey webinar conversation is available here.

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