Understanding the Buyers Journey

Image Credit: Joe the Goat Farmer via flickr

In marketing, and product marketing specifically, the main goal is to understand the buyer’s journey – how do buyers search, find, and eventually select a vendor. In LinkedIn’s recently published eBook titled “Rethink the B2B Buyer’s Journey“, the company surveys 6,000 marketers, buyers and salespeople to delve deeper into this topic. Here are the three key takeaways I found interesting:

Purchase Decisions are a Team Effort

No longer can you find a single decision maker. Per LinkedIn, most decisions are a team effort involving individuals across different departments. Generally speaking, finance, information technology and business development are the departments most involved, though this can change based on industry.

Sales and marketing must understand the circle of influence surrounding a purchasing decision and develop the right messages and sales collateral and tools addressed to each audience.

Buyers want “Speeds & Feeds” Content

According to LinkedIn, there’s a “disconnect between buyers and marketers as to what constitutes effective content. Marketers lean toward case studies, while buyers prefer product information and product demos to help them make purchase decisions.” The report isn’t discounting the value of thought leadership content or case studies, rather it’s about developing a well-rounded, content marketing strategy with balanced content at all stages of the buying cycle.


Buyers are Social

The report provides interesting data to highlight the value of social media with buyers. Not only are buyers more like to share and have larger social networks, but social media also has a positive impact on the relationships with vendors. Plus, social isn’t only for top of the funnel – buyers are continually gathering information from social channels throughout the entire sales cycle.

Conclusion – Top Three Takeaways

Designing a buyer-focused marketing strategy requires a clear understanding of your buyer’s journey and interaction with your company, products and service:

  • Focus on the buying team – Look beyond a single decision maker and develop a content and marketing strategy to reach all key influencers.
  • Include more product content – continually review and revise your content strategy with  insight from sales, marketing and customers. If you’re content is too thought leadership heavy, add product-related content and vice versa.
  • Be more social – expand your company’s reach by expanding your social program beyond marketing.