What is the Buyer’s Journey?

Modern marketers have learned that the purchase process is a journey, and consumers advance through a process the industry has called ‘the buyer’s journey.’

The buyer’s journey is a framework that acknowledges a buyer’s progression through a research and decision process ultimately culminating in a purchase.

The Buyer’s Journey

The first thing to know about a buyer’s journey is that it can vary from one industry to the next.  For example, there are differences in how B2B buyers arrive at a purchase decision and how B2C buyers do.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the stages of the Buyer’s Journey might look like for a B2C retail company:

buyer's journey stages

  • Develop Interest: The buyer becomes aware that they have a problem or desire
  • Information Gathering: The buyer begins to gather more information about the problem or desire.
  • Seek Options: The buyer begins to explore options for addressing the problem or desire.
  • Make Purchase Decision: The buyer is prepared to make a purchase decision and select a vendor.

Applying the Buyer’s Journey to Content

By applying the buyer’s journey framework to content, marketers can create content that maps to the stage of the buyer’s journey the consumer is in. Marketers can create targeted content designed to move customers through the buyer’s journey and towards a successful sale.

Let’s apply this to an example.  John is a busy software engineer who rarely has time to thoroughly sweep his apartment.  Let’s go with him on his buyer’s journey that leads to the Acme iRobot, a vacuum-cleaning robot.

Stage

Content Goal

Develop Interest Make John aware that dust buildup in a home can be unpleasant and can lead to health issues.
Information Gathering Give John more information about the problem such as the correlation between certain health issues and homedust buildup
Seek Options Make John aware of potential solutions to the problem such as scheduling a regular cleaning person or advanced technology.
Make Purchase Decision Help John realize the value in both choosing an iRobot over alternative solutions, and choosing Acme over alternative vendors.

If Acme has been successful, their content has ushered John through the buying process. First, Acme made him aware of a problem, then the solutions to the problem and finally helped him justify the purchase of their product.

To get started mapping your content to your industry’s buyer’s journey:

  • Define your Buying Personas:
    To understand the journey your buyers take, you must first understand who they are.  Read “What are Personas?” for more.
  • Understand the Journey Your Buyers Take:
    Once you understand who your buyers are, the next step is to figure out how they progress through their individual buying process.
  • Map Content to the Buyer’s Journey:
    Once you have your personas and the journeys worked out, the next step is to map content that addresses the challenges they face at each step in the process.  The goal of the content should be to sufficiently address the buyer’s challenge such that they feel confident about moving on to the next stage in the process, and help them to transition into the next stage.

For more on the buyer’s journey and how to map content to the Buyer’s Journey check out The Content Map Guide.