Think Like a Buyer: The Buyer’s Journey

April 2, 2015 Natalie Williams

The current age of technology has made information easily accessible, which has resulted in a better-informed buyer.  Customers typically can get a majority of the information they need to find a solution to whatever problem they are facing by doing a simple Google search.

Companies are now tasked with identifying what they can do to attract customers at each phase of the Buyer's Journey as part of their Inbound Marketing strategy.

The Buyer's Journey, according to Inbound Marketing pioneer, HubSpot, is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. It helps marketers identify what information is most valuable to their buyer at each stage.

 

There are three major stages of the Buyer's Journey:

  • Awareness Stage: top of the marketing funnel
  • Consideration Stage: middle of the marketing funnel
  • Decision Stage: bottom of the marketing funnel

GPI_Buyers Journey_2

Note: image from www.hubspot.com

The Buyer's Journey is meant to complement the Inbound Marketing methodology.  It forces marketers to think like their buyers and produce the right content, to the right people, at the right time.  There are enough commonalities between buyers across all industries for the Buyer's Journey to be applicable for any company.

 

Awareness Stage

The awareness stage is the point in the Buyer's Journey where a customer becomes aware that they have a problem they want to solve.  They aren't looking for a solution yet, however, they are only gathering information.  Buyers are just beginning to define their problem and this is a great time for marketers to gain potential leads' awareness. Companies should offer information on the possible causes of the problem and suggestions on how best to solve the problem in order to attract buyers. It can be a useful tactic to ask potential leads to submit a few contact details in exchange for some of the content offerings.   Examples of the content to offer at the awareness stage are:

  • Company Blogs
  • Whitepapers
  • eBooks
  • Checklists
  • Webinars

GPI_Buyers Journey_3

Note: image from http://www.stidolph.nl/inbound-marketing-de-buyers-journey/

 

Consideration State

The consideration stage is the middle of the marketing funnel.  At this point, buyers are aware of the source of their problem and are looking for the best solution.  This is the stage where buyers weigh their options and compare the competition.  They have already gathered all the information they need on the problem and how to fix it, this is the time for marketers to show the strength of their products and/or services. Examples of the content to offer at the consideration stage are:

  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials
  • Product Comparisons
  • Brochures
  • Webinars

GPI_Buyers Journey_4

Note: image from http://www.stidolph.nl/inbound-marketing-de-buyers-journey/

 

Decision Stage

The decision stage is the final stage of the Buyer's Journey.  This is when the buyer actually makes their decision on what company they are going to use to solve their problem.  The buyer will be well-informed and fully prepared to discuss their problem and how they are hoping the solve it.  The buyer will want to speak with salespeople and this is the time to close the deal and delight the buyer.  Examples of offering at the decision stage are:

  • Consultations
  • Demos
  • Free Trials

GPI_Buyers Journey_5

Note: image from http://www.stidolph.nl/inbound-marketing-de-buyers-journey/

 

Summary

Marketers who strive to embrace the Inbound Marketing methodology and the Buyer's Journey have the best chance at attracting visitors, converting to leads and ending with delighted customers.  Marketers must define who their customers are, where and when they get their information, and at what stage of their buying process they are at.  Customers want to be informed, not sold to.

 

Further Resources on Global Brand Management, Social Media Localization and SEO

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About the Author

Natalie Williams

Global Digital Marketing Manager. Natalie was born and raised in Montana where she graduated from The University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration. Her international experience includes two summer programs, one at The European Business School in Germany and the other at The University of Brescia in Italy. She studied a variety of global business subjects including international business, trade, culture and language. Key projects for her undergrad studies included meeting with executives from large corporations such as Lufthansa, Opel, and The European Central Bank as well as working with the design team on the marketing plan for the 2015 World Fair in Milan, Italy. She has a range of global event management experience including organization of the Annual Mansfield Conference on the Middle East and the China Town Hall meeting series. Her hobbies include yoga, cooking, reading, being outdoors and traveling.

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