How To Get In Your Customer’s Head?
by Andrew Millar
A lot of ink has been written about how to find and sell to your potential customers. This is the meat and potatoes of marketing; always has been, probably always will. So what else needs to be said. In this internet age, much of traditional marketing stands the test of time and much has begun to evolve to fit the medium. I listened to Mike Shields, Digital Editor for AdWeek Magazine, in an interview on NPR talk about how the traditional marketers have not been willing yet to create new content for the video channels. They are foisting re-purposed 30-second TV commercials onto 90-second videos. We are all tuning out and waiting to push the ‘skip’ button. Here’s an example of old advertising content missing the point.
Much of traditional marketing advice has been formulated on fitting your prospective customer into your sales process. Where in that pipeline or sales funnel is he and what’s your next intervention to move him along to the sale?
It can be instructive to take a step back from this methodology. I like the imagery of gaining altitude on the situation. Getting high enough above it to gain perspective on the whole process. Let’s take a minute to consider our prospect. Hubspot, who describe themselves as “the world’s #1 inbound marketing software”, instructs us to thoroughly replicate everything we know about our ideal customer. Create a buyer persona and use it to model your marketing efforts.
“The Buyer’s Journey”
As part of this process, Julie Spatola, Senior Enterprise Inbound Marketing Consultant at Hubspot, has developed The Buyer’s Journey. She says “The Buyer’s Journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase.” She describes three stages in the journey: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. The purpose of this research is to have a greater understanding of what’s going on in the head of your prospective customer.
“A CEB study of more than 1,400 B2B customers across industries revealed that 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier.”
(source: www.ecutiveboard.com. CEB’s member network is made up of over 16.000 executives and includes all the top companies globally.)
The value to us of this information is to recognize that we need to understand our prospective customer’s issues and concerns, his pain points, as early as possible when he is in the Awareness stage of his process. We need to anticipate the kinds of problems our prospects encounter for which we are equipped to offer solutions.
Spatola goes on to characterize the next stage of the buyer’s journey as one of educating himself or considering what he has to do. This is where you can provide information to him by way of eBooks, White Papers, Tip Sheets, Webinars, etcetera. This is the Consideration stage of his journey. When your prospective customer has gathered enough information to make a decision, you will have created a relationship that positions you as both an authority and a trusted source. This is the third and final stage, the Decision stage.
In approaching the buyer’s journey in this way, you are walking a mile in his shoes, taking the time to understand his motivating behaviors and assisting him in his research. One of the great features of inbound marketing is that it allows the individual to conduct his own search and who among us doesn’t like to find things out for himself? So, get in your customer’s head, anticipate his needs and provide him with the resources he can use to find you for himself.