Brand Management, Content Marketing, Marcom, Marketing ROI, Positioning, Social Media

Mapping the Buyer’s Journey

B2B marketers these days attach their strategies to the buyer’s journey, a concept to describe the process of a prospect becoming a customer and – ultimo – a brand advocate. The traditional linear sales funnel (explore, consider, purchase) proves to be more of a circle, where brand advocates influence prospective customers. In planning, the buyer’s journey helps to prioritise investment, align marketing, sales and channel target setting, time activities, and report on marketing impact.

Once the buyer’s journey has been outlined, content strategies are put in place to serve the right message, to the right audience, through the right channels of communication, at the right time in the cycle. Superior data quality allows marketers to constantly refine audience targeting.

Economic essence
Multinational companies however have always been struggling to meet really local market requirements.  Because of lack of resources, not because of the data being unavailable. In global business, the world has to be simplified, stripped of culture variance, and countries boiled down to their economic essence, the rawest of cliches. By definition, content strategy mapped against the buyer’s journey can only magnify the lack of cultural sophistication in the “Global Rollout Marketing” approach.

So what’s the whole product?
In IT, vendors create products, solutions, and in many cases services, too. Value added resellers re-sell these products, solutions, services and some value adding substance on top of it all to end-users. By default, most VARs will sell whatever brings in most cash; vendor margin into the left pocket, sales margin into the right. It’s the way of the B2B world.

In fact many times, a combination of vendor A’s product, vendor B’s solutions and vendor C’s service would result in the highest margin. So it’s really quite hard to predict what the VAR will actually come up with as a sales pitch.

Own the touch points
Nevertheless vendors like to think they know their prospects in and out, offer the perfect portfolio to keep them satisfied, control the buyer’s journey end-to-end, and the touch points that matter along this sequence of engagements – even the ones owned by resellers.

Most really don’t.

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