Most marketers understand the value of buyer journey analysis. In-depth conversations with our customers can help us understand the makeup of buying teams, the ways in which they educate themselves on new solutions, and the triggers that help them convert from prospect to customer. This knowledge, in turn, helps us develop better marketing strategies and drive more qualified leads and revenue. For too many organizations, however, buyer’s journey research is more of an academic exercise rather than the first step in a strategic mission of transformation. The CMO hires a consultant, interviews are conducted, a wonderfully visual report is produced, and that’s where it ends. “Mission accomplished – we know our customers, let’s get back to business – we need whitepapers and emails!”
At Demand Spring, we uncover the persona’s role not only in the buying cycle but in their day-to-day job. We identify persona’s imperatives, challenges, and aspirations, and analyze the persona’s preferred content and information sources at each stage of the buying cycle to optimize your content and communication plan.
Real value is gained from buyer journey research when your entire marketing organization is committed to a persona-based go to market strategy – the demand generation, web, social, content and marketing automation teams must all be aligned around true transformation. More than an academic exercise, buyer’s journey research should give you a 3D program blueprint that drives a common language internally and enables you to prioritize the most critical personas and stages for investment decisions.
One of our clients began their persona journey a few years ago and they identified each of their target prospects by name – Diane, the Decision-Maker; Eric, the Influencer; and Jackie of All Trades. They chose a headshot for each persona and created a rich profile that includes how each persona thinks, how they are motivated, and where their best opportunities lie. Now, they are in the process of aligning their web, content, inbound, and outbound strategies to each persona at each stage of the buying cycle. This exercise also reveals the content types and sources each persona engages with – and at what stage. This allows marketing teams to map out their existing content and delivery channels while revealing the gaps that require new content – all based on the reality of the customer’s evaluation process.
The most important outcome of a buyer journey analysis is the opportunity for your entire Marketing organization to share a common perspective and dialogue around your target customers. Even better is when you extend the dialogue to sales so that your prospecting and nurturing efforts are producing leads that sales can actually close. Now get back to business – Diane, Eric and Jackie are out there waiting for you.
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