Most businesses use standard marketing strategies for all types of customer personas. As a result, they lose out on some serious business. This is because buyers these days go through a complete journey before they go to any brand. It’s not as straightforward as it was in earlier days where buyers directly got in touch with the sales rep for seeking information about product/service. According to a study, buyer’s today guide themselves through 67% of their journey. This is before they actually start a conversation with the vendor. Well, this is not to say that the sales has no role to play until customers reach half way through their journey. It simply means that buyers these days are highly informed and have a host of sources to gather information. Such sources include search engines, social media, forums etc. Also, the customers do not follow a defined path to fall into the sales funnel of a brand. They approach a brand at any stage from multiple platforms and via multiple sources. Not only that, they come to a brand with different levels of awareness.
On one hand, there are prospects who are still trying to understand the problem. On the other hand, there are prospects who are already comparing your offerings with other industry players for solutions.
So to reach all prospects, without ignoring any, as a brand:
- you need to clearly define your customer personas clearly
- map their journey and
- create marketing collateral for every stage to help them seek you
So,before we define various stages of buyer’s journey, let’s understand what exactly is customer journey.
What is Customer Journey?
Customer Journey is a series of steps your customers go through to buy the final product. It is the process of how customers interact with your brand before taking the decision of investing money in your products. Tracking the buyer’s journey is challenging. It is hard to understand how the customer is actually reaching you today. Is it by advertisements? By references from people they know? Is it through a search engine or social media? Or via customer reviews?
Ryan wants to change his smartphone. He has a budget of Rs. 30,000. He has no clue what smartphones are available in the market under Rs. 30,000. So he decides to research for the same. Here are the stages that he goes through:
In Awareness stage, Ryan has no idea as to what smartphones are available in the market under Rs. 30,000. So he looks for various options by searching for the query ‘phones under Rs. 30,000’. Once Ryan becomes aware of various smartphones available under Rs. 30,000, he goes through the details of the options available. He then picks the options that are close to satisfying his requirements from a smartphone, given the budget. This defines the consideration stage of his journey where he is investigating solutions and evaluating various options that can best solve his requirements. After all the education and research Ryan finally makes the decision of buying Oppo F9 Pro.
Thus, just like Ryan, buyers follow a path or go through a series of steps before they actually make a buying decision. This path, however, is a bit challenging to define today as buyers are entering your sales funnels at any stage and not necessarily from the top of the funnel. Also, they come to you with different levels of awareness. While some are still trying to understand their needs and how your brand can help meet them. Others are already aware of your business offerings and comparing them to your competition in the industry.
Therefore, it is important to map your buyers journey. As a brand, you need to understand the things you need to do to attract prospects and eventually turn them into brand evangelists. And for that, you need to answer the following questions:
- Where are your customers coming from?
- What all sources do they refer to for such a need?
- Which factors are they considering to make a purchase decision?
- What are they looking for?
All these questions need to be answered as these will help you design your sales funnel. Not only that, mapping the buyer’s journey will give you the understanding about how to market your business offerings to your target customers. It will help you know what content your brand needs to generate for various stages so as to reach your target audience.