The buyer’s journey grows up

Susa Schmied
Marketing Services Manager
Do you know that only 3% of your audience is ready to buy right now? What about the other 97%! We explain our approach to the buyer journey and how to not only talk to the 3% but also bring the other 97% on a journey to conversion.

There’s a saying in data analysis: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

No model can completely represent the complexities of life, but most can still help, as long as they evolve along with our needs. Marketing models and tools have come a long way from the demographic and behaviour research started in the 1930s. One of the more recent evolutions is the buyer’s journey, a model of the path to actual purchase that recognises no-one buys things entirely spontaneously.

Most marketers will tell you the journey consists of three stages – awareness, consideration, and decision – but some now add a fourth: loyalty or retention. we think even that is too simplistic.

But before we talk about how we model the buyer’s journey differently for content creation, let’s talk about the overlooked majority of buyers.

only 3% of your audience is ready to buy right now

You’ll probably have seen these percentages, or something similar, before. It’s now widely established that only 3% of an audience is ready to buy right now. The Internet made reaching that audience much easier than before and early adopters reaped the benefits, only having to focus on that 3%.

However, online sales are maturing rapidly, and competition means there are diminishing returns to only prioritising that slim 3% segment. What about the 17% segment that is actively looking for a solution to their needs, or the 20% that knows it has a problem, but doesn’t know what to do about it?

If you could reliably put yourself and your product or service in front of either segment before your competition, what proportion of their audiences could you take and steer to purchase completion? Chances are you wouldn’t need much to see significant gains, compared with only focusing on the traditional 3%.

That’s where our more sophisticated model of the buyer’s journey comes in. At Everything Connected we’re very focussed on making sure our content creation and analytics are rigorously supported by sound data testing and that they precisely target the right person at the right time. That’s why our buyer’s journey model usually contains at least 10 stages, but can easily go up to 15 or more. No, we’re not just adding stages to try and sound impressive. In fact, the number of stages in an individual client’s buyer journey entirely depends on their own sales processes. This is essential to making a sophisticated model that more accurately represents that client’s typical buyers’ decision-making processes.

Crucially, it also allows us to craft targeted content for each stage, demonstratively increasing the chance a buyer will progress to further stages and then, ultimately, make their purchase.

At its most basic, our model comprises:

  1. Ordinary World: Normal life. You may be aware of a nagging need, but it hasn’t reached the stage where you are actively looking to solve it; you make do.
  2. Call to Change: Something happens that brings your need into more conscious awareness.
  3. Resist: Fears, uncertainties, or doubts – such as time, effort, money, or disruption – mean you resist your growing need.
  4. Proof: Still without actively looking, you come across evidence of a potential broad solution.
  5. Threshold: Your need has reached critical mass, driving you to actively look into that solution.
  6. Consider: You start to research the different options, developing a shortlist.
  7. Compare: You assess those options against each other.
  8. Buy: You make a decision and purchase.

With this in mind we can now start to think of potential customers in terms of where they are in a specific buying journey. As they progress through each individual stage their buyer needs also change. So when we are thinking about nurturing them through the sales pipeline towards conversion we can now create needs focused content that that will resonate with that customer at that specific point in their buyer journey.

If you would like to learn more about buyer journey mapping or persona workshops to identify your different audiences and their emotional, rational and social needs then feel free to reach out to one of the Everything Connected content marketing team to discuss how a needs based, content driven strategy can help to drive growth for your business.


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