Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Buyer Roles, Buying Stages, and Perception Challenges

We looked earlier at the evaluation of existing content assets that can be done at each stage of the buying process, and for each buyer role involved.

A similar exercise needs to be done to assess where the need for content is greatest. For each stage in the buying process, and for each role, a list of the perception challenges we face in the market can be created. From here, we will know the ideal messages for buyers to absorb.

These "messages" can be facts that are actively or passively sought by buyers. Actively sought examples are messages that are searched for, such as the specifications for integrating with a specific third party system. Messages that need to be delivered passively, however, are not actively searched for - such as corrections to misconceptions such as the idea that your solution is not appropriate for larger organizations.

Evaluating Messages

To begin, much like the evaluation of current content assets, a matrix can be created that has buyer roles along the y-axis, and buyer stages along the x-axis. In each box, the messages, information, and perceptions that need to flow out to the market can be listed, along with an assessment (red/yellow/green) of whether you are currently being successful in getting those messages out to the market. The value of this exercise is in its ability to shine a light on areas where you may have a significant messaging gap.

Successful marketers are able to inject these messages, perceptions, and criteria throughout the overall education process of a buyer, slowly altering perceptions, guiding the way in which solutions are evaluated, and ensuring that needed information is discovered.

The need to get this broad variety of messages out to buyers, now that buyers are in control of their own buying processes, is what has led to the growth in nurture marketing, as well as the business use of social media as a publishing platform. At each stage, a failure to successfully get these messages out to prospective buyers can quickly lead to buyers failing to progress in their buying process - the three types of leaks in the funnel covered in an earlier post.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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