Map Your Marketing To Your Audience

The con­sumer jour­ney is full of ques­tions, obsta­cles, com­peti­tors, and mes­sag­ing. Cut through all the con­fu­sion by cre­at­ing a buy­er process map.

Dave Daniels By Dave Daniels from Pragmatic Marketing. Join the discussion » 0 comments

There is no con­sumer express­way to your prod­uct or ser­vice. The long and wind­ing road of com­merce is traf­fic-jammed with ques­tions, obsta­cles, com­peti­tors, and a morass of mes­sag­ing that make deci­sion-mak­ing more com­plex than ever. It’s your job to tread this path right along­side your buy­er, plant­i­ng your mar­ket­ing road signs in the exact right places. But where? And how do you com­pel your audi­ence to take the exit and actu­al­ly make the pur­chase?  If you’re strug­gling to get a han­dle on your poten­tial buy­ers, you need a map.

The buy­er jour­ney is con­stant­ly evolv­ing. The entire process of mak­ing a pur­chase has com­plete­ly flipped. Buy­ers are savvi­er, more con­nect­ed, and more skep­ti­cal than ever before. In many cas­es, they’re able to become experts on your prod­ucts before ever inter­fac­ing with you – and it’s thanks to the avail­abil­i­ty of research and con­sen­sus of opin­ion at their fin­ger­tips (whether valid or not). The pow­er now lies with the con­sumer and their spheres of influ­ence. This shift in behav­ior makes it more essen­tial than ever to prop­er­ly map your buy­er jour­neys. Doing so will help dri­ve align­ment across all mar­ket­ing and sales efforts, and make them more effec­tive. Fair warn­ing, this will take time. Going through the process, how­ev­er, will gain you pow­er­ful insights into your buyer’s deci­sion-mak­ing process and the ques­tions they have along their jour­ney. From this lev­el of under­stand­ing, you can shape more effec­tive mar­ket­ing mes­sages and iden­ti­fy at which touch­points they need to see those mes­sages. It tru­ly is pow­er­ful.

Mapping: The Discovery

To under­stand your audi­ence you need to sur­vey it. Not with actu­al sur­veys (though that wouldn’t hurt), but as an explor­er would chart a new land, care­ful­ly map­ping every dis­cov­ery and path. By study­ing your audience’s buy­ing process from start to fin­ish, you’ll begin to notice trends and what is going on in their minds at each stage, allow­ing you to cap­i­tal­ize on small moments you may have missed if you sim­ply trust­ed your assump­tions. We have a say­ing around the office, “Noth­ing impor­tant hap­pens in the office.” We use it so much, we’ve even cre­at­ed an acronym for it: NIHITO. This is a reminder that you have to get out and actu­al­ly talk, face-to-face, with your cus­tomers, poten­tial buy­ers, and even those who may not yet know who you are. From these “NIHITO vis­its” you can begin to under­stand what your audi­ence looks like, using these insights to cre­ate buy­er per­sonas. These per­sonas will become the basis for your mar­ket­ing map.

Mapping: The 4 Quadrants

Just like any map ori­ents around four com­pass points, your buy­er process map has four crit­i­cal com­po­nents you need to know inside and out:

  1. Iden­ti­fy and val­i­date their process by learn­ing how many phas­es they go through as they move toward the pur­chase. Phas­es might range from “out­side the mar­ket” to “prob­lem emerges” to “research,” and final­ly to “pur­chase.” Find the phas­es spe­cif­ic to your buy­er.
  2. Under­stand and inter­pret buy­er actions with­in each of these phas­es. At what point dur­ing the research phase does your audi­ence reach out to their spheres of influ­ence for out­side opin­ions? What mes­sag­ing could you deliv­er that would be most effec­tive in that moment?
  3. Iden­ti­fy the ques­tions your buy­er might ask them­selves with­in each phase. These should be the ques­tions of who will ulti­mate­ly be call­ing the shots on the actu­al pur­chase (this may be dif­fer­ent from the per­son doing the ini­tial research). Your mar­ket­ing con­tent and mes­sag­ing should meet their needs and answer their ques­tions at each phase.
  4. Iden­ti­fy when your buy­er has moved from one phase to the next. Do they have a new set of needs that require a new set of answers or con­tent to help keep them pro­gress­ing through the phas­es? Under­stand what trig­gers each move to the next phase so you can sup­port their jour­ney.

Share The Map Company Wide

Once you’ve done the research and con­sol­i­dat­ed your find­ings into your buy­er map, share it across all com­pa­ny stake­hold­ers, from sales to prod­uct devel­op­ment and even the exec­u­tive team. This will help align the com­pa­ny around one cen­tral vision and set of goals. And as a prod­uct mar­keter, you’ll pro­duce stronger cam­paigns that res­onate with your audi­ence and help turn mere look­ers into buy­ers.

Dave Daniels

Written by Dave Daniels

Instructor, Pragmatic Marketing

Dave has more than 25 years of experience working in technology companies. He specializes in product marketing and product launch, with an emphasis on effective go-to-market strategies and execution. Prior to joining Pragmatic Marketing, Dave founded Launch Clinic, a consulting company focused on helping organizations implement best-practice launch strategies.

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