Is your marketing budget taking a steep cut these days? Many marketing leaders across North America are seeing budgets fall from 11% to only 6.4% of their company’s revenue.
If that sounds familiar, the best next step to keep growing your business is to get even smarter with your marketing investments. Time to stop leading with your creative side (ouch, I know) and start leading with a more strategic approach.
Making a smart, strategic investment is going to mean a deeper understanding of your buyers and their journey to conversion. So, as a CEO, it’s important to consider what the buyer journey really is… and what it’s not.
[Spoiler: it’s not tactical… It's complicated.]
Here’s the Deal: It’s Not Tactical
Surprise! The buyer journey is not just a “tactical” element of the overall strategy.
It’s not as simple as that.
The buyer journey is not just about one buyer persona. At each stage, they know more and more about you—and learn more and more about what they need. Even if all your buyers were the same demographic “type,” they may still come to your business at different stages of need. Maybe some aren’t even aware of your business. Others are already researching how you solve their problem. Hopefully, some are already engaging with you at some level.
So, once you understand the buyer’s journey, you can select the stage in that journey where marketing investment makes the most sense.
Where To Invest in the Buyer’s Journey
The different stages of the buyer’s journey dictate—at a foundational level—where to put your marketing spend. Ask yourself: which stage of the buyer’s journey is the most cost effective way to move the needle? Invest marketing resources there. So...
You Want Awareness? It’s Hard
Everyone wants it. Everyone needs it. But, not every company can afford it. Awareness is everyone’s preferred strategy, but it takes time, money, patience, and grit. Be realistic about awareness timetables and whether it maps to your revenue objectives.
The Consideration Stage is About Reputation
For B2B, you’ll likely want to manage your reputation through your business community. Think: networking, LinkedIn, free assets that make you look smart. This is the part of the journey where buyers get to know you.
Engagement Means Knowing Each Other
Why are you even spending resources on engaging new leads? To get the right people to your sales team.
“The buyer journey is not just about one buyer persona.”
Engagement tactics can be used to build a nurture database for deeper engagement down the funnel. Or, they can deliver highly-qualified leads to your sales team. Decide which, so you build the right program for the outcome you need.
If you can get your buyer to agree to a demo or otherwise engage with you, that's right where you want them to be! They will have an opportunity to know (and like) you, so they can eventually trust you enough to buy from you. Hint: you’ll also get to know the buyer at this stage, which will help you nurture the relationship.
Get More Granular
Of course, you can dig into a certain part of the buyer’s journey. Let’s say you need to do a better job nurturing because you can’t afford to focus on generating new leads. So, you’ll probably want to prioritize specifically engaging with and nurturing existing leads.
What Are the Steps Along the Buyer Journey? A Quick Primer
A buyer journey contains five steps: awareness, consideration, engagement, nurture, and sale. Each part of the buyer’s process involves its own set of challenges and opportunities.
Your buyer’s first step happens before they know about you. In the awareness stage, the buyer realizes they have a problem. They start looking around for information, resources, etc. to help them understand their problem.
During the consideration phase, your buyer already understands their problem. Now they’re researching possible solutions to that problem. (Hopefully, that’s you!)
Once your buyer is aware of their problem and possible solutions, they may start to engage with your business. Maybe they’ll click on a post, fill out a form, agree to a demo, take a survey.
When a buyer is aware of your business offering as a possible solution, and they’re actively engaging with you, it’s now your responsibility to follow through and grow the relationship. Build trust. Answer questions.
Decision time! Your buyer has a solid relationship with your business. They trust you to solve their problem. This is the point where they might buy.
Put Your Money Where It Matters
Marketing is a tool for creating revenue, right? Yes… as long as you can focus on a specific audience and place in the buyer journey.
The hard truth is, there are risks of investing in a particular moment. Consider manpower and budget bandwidth. Do you have the resources to invest in generating new leads at the awareness stage? Can you afford paid channels?
That’s why it’s important to start building a smart, unique marketing strategy. If you don’t want to waste time and money on unproven strategies or a risky roadmap, watch my marketing strategy video to get on the right track.
Wrestle those random acts of marketing so you can fill the gaps in your marketing programs:
- Send your team to the Marketing Strategy Lab for training and coaching, which comes along with a library of strategy and implementation resources.
- Engage me as a Fractional CMO consultant. Get air cover to up-level your in-house and outsourced teams.
- Talk to me about workshopping a marketing and strategy roadmap 1:1 with you and your team.