It just occurred to me that I had 5 conversations over the last week centered around the topic of the buyer’s journey – the journey that essentially turns a prospect into a customer. Obviously, this journey will always be an important topic in any business, but things are changing out there, and 5 conversations tells me it’s due time for a blog post. So let’s try to make sense of it all.
My 5 conversations:
- 1 with a PR strategist
- 1 with a Demand generation manager
- 1 with an IT Industry researcher
- 1 with a Community manager
- 1 with a Field Marketing Manager
The buyer’s journey takes the prospect through 4 phases: Discovery, Consideration, Decision, Advocate, Discovery and so on. The sales funnel is a buying cycle.
To guide the prospect along the way, all content the vendor lines up for him, ideally maps perfectly to the buyer’s cycle. It should be available whereever the prospect is looking for information. And whenever a prospect consumes content, there should be clear next step available – to open the door to the next phase of the journey. It’s a game – it should be fun.
To do it right, you need integrated communication strategies in owned, paid and earned media, quality content, and a strong focus on database management – to understand buyer’s behaviour.
It is not fun & games yet. Social media have thrown many things up in the air. On the buyer’s side, and therefore also on the vendor’s side. Traditional roles are shifting all around.
The IT researcher shows information consumption patterns, and tells me which information carriers I should provide in each of the phases of the buyer’s journey.
The PR strategist said PR 2.0 means that PR firms now have two main target audiences, instead of one: press and people in social space. Traditional media will no longer be able to reach and activate audiences, he said. Actually, many news items are provided by people these days. You should use that to your advantage.
The demand generation manager just wants to generate demand, is a strong believer in event marketing, and is “not really into the whole social media thing yet”.
The community manager is not close enough to the field to understand which conversations should be seeded in Russia. And he doesn’t understand a word of Russian to begin with.
The Field Marketing Manager wants the PR firm and the community manager to help him become more of a community manager himself, but lacks the know-how and the resources to set it all up, and make it tick. He does understand the research data though. To create compelling content, one needs funds – the pr strategist advised. Hmmm.
Roles are shifting, behaviours are changing – try to keep up. I like this sheet (Copyright: SiriusDecisions, via Babcock & Jenkins).