Roadmap to Buyer-Centric Marketing in B2B

Shifting to a buyer-centric (or customer-centric) marketing model is an absolute priority for B2B marketers today!

First, a quick level-set. “Customer centricity” refers to a company’s orientation toward the needs and behaviours of its buyers and customers. This is opposed to internal drivers (such as the desire to sell a specific product). Unfortunately, most companies are not practitioners of customer centricity.

Buyer's Journey Map

As you embark on 2012 planning, let me offer up a powerful model that can help you get started (or go further) down the path toward buyer-centric marketing: The Buyer’s Journey Map. First developed by B2B marketing agency Babcock & Jenkins in 2010, it has been expanded considerably. Here you’ll find an example of the most detailed model to date.

(NOTE: Before you can fully realize the usefulness of the Buyer’s Journey Map, it’s important to define your organization’s buyers and influencers and develop personas).

The Buyer’s Journey Map is a framework to help marketers truly understand the content needs of their target audiences at each stage in the buying cycle.

Stages of Buying

The example map included here is specific to a Strategic Decision-Maker and explores the entire buying journey. In the most simplistic view, you’ll see three key stages:

1. Discover: This is the earliest stage in the buying cycle. It starts when either an internal or external trigger challenges the status quo (e.g. “Our organization just had a major data breach—now what?”).

2. Consider: This is the middle stage of the buying cycle and is typically where your organization is at a “make it or break it” point for being considered by a potential buyer. This is also the stage where multiple solutions will be compared (as you move closer to the solution).

3. Decide: In this late stage of the buying cycle, the decision will be finalized (if it isn’t been already). However, leading up to the final selection is a series of steps to ensure sound justification of the business case.

There are several steps to be considered following the “decide” stage  that will be explored in later posts. These include implementation, advocacy, up-sell and cross-sell (which often look similar to the model outlined above).

Progressing Through Stages and Content Needs

Once you’re comfortable with the orientation of the Buyer’s Journey stages, you can explore some additional insight available on the Buyer’s Journey Map, including:

1. Answers needed to progress to the next stage:  This guide on the right-hand side of the Map is a great tool for helping define the types of information your buyer will need at each stage. Use this insight to create your roadmap for content—and ultimately your communication plan.

2. Content: This guide on the bottom left-hand side of the Map is specific to a B2B technology “Strategic Decision-Maker.” However, it helps you understand the types of content that are most appropriate throughout key stages of the buying journey.

3. Purpose: Last (but definitely not least) this guide on the upper left-hand side of the Map provide cues to guide your marketing game-plan (although this piece will vary greatly from buyer to buyer, solution to solution). Nonetheless, this is an important piece to factor in to your planning.

Benefits of this Approach

The impact of using a model (the one outlined here, or your own) is significant! A few immediate benefits I’ve experienced are:

  • Alignment between product marketing, demand/campaign teams, sales and other key stakeholders.
  • A formalized framework to ensure continuity and consistency across all integrated communications and touch points.
  • A strategic view into your organization’s key buyers and influencers and the stages of their buying journey.
  • A deeper understanding of how to merge the power of marketing automation with a cohesive content strategy and map to optimize the success of marketing communications.

I’d love to hear your perspective on other benefits you’ve seen or challenges you’ve experienced when utilizing a Buyer’s Journey Map.

Please also feel free to share other models that have been successful for your organization.

8 Responses to Roadmap to Buyer-Centric Marketing in B2B

  1. Betsy says:

    Wonderful post! Can you tell me a little bit more about how you see the split between product and demand/campaign marketing in regards to the buyers journey?

    • Elizabeth – Thank you for the comment – and great question. When we create the Buyer’s Journey Map (based on a specific persona/ insights into this audience), we map out which questions the buyer has at each stage in the journey (an example is included on the right hand side of the Map in my blog post).

      Based on what type of content most appropriately answers those questions – you can infer whether or not this is more category oriented (which is typically in the earlier stages) vs. product or solution-specific (which tends to be in the middle and the later stages). I’d be happy to walk you through this in much more detail (and specific to your key personas – as different personas have different requirements). Thanks!

  2. [...] According to the 2011 Demandbase B2B Website Demand Generation Survey 37% of responders either moderately know their buyer or barely know their buyer. And, nearly HALF of those surveyed DO NOT KNOW where their users are most likely to abandon the website. While the website continues to be a top area for marketing investment made by B2B companies, both for dollar investment as well as resources across both marketing and IT, businesses aren’t paying close enough attention to what’s working and what’s not. These stats also point specifically to the benefit of truly understanding the buyer by developing out a set of buyer personas and aligning content to the buyer’s journey. [...]

  3. [...] challenges and their organization. As I’ve discussed in many of my blog posts this past year, adopting a buyer-centric model of marketing is a priority for all B2B marketers. ABM, done well, can take this requirement to the nth [...]

  4. Excellent Lauren. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. [...] educated buyers hit your corporate website for deeper product evaluation in the later stages of the buyer’s journey. Chances are, your existing site doesn’t do enough to extend the experience for warm inbound [...]

  6. Excellent. Even if it does not work for an elevator pitch. ;) The model reminds me of a paper I wrote to explain why a blended version of the linear AIDA model (which might be the META level) and the Mc Kinsey decision cycle could be a good model to plan in a big module way (AIDA) which is big corporates nature while keeping the human in mind. The Roadmap here is pointing into the same direction but it is better than what I was pulling together. Great work. I will include it.

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