This is a guest blog by Saskia Theunisse, Sr. Marketing Manager at Illumina.
In marketing, there are a few terms that you may come across on a regular basis. One of them is the buyer journey. The buyer journey is a model that is used to map out stages to support converting prospects into leads and eventually turning opportunities into deals and retaining a loyal customer base. This is a way to map the needs and behavior of a customer across different stages from awareness to interest, consideration and eventually decision and retention. The buyer journey requires a deep understanding of a buyer's persona. It is important to consider each stage of the buyer journey when developing a content strategy.
Now, how does one turn theory into practice? First, identify your ideal target customer based on your biggest right to win (meaning, what attributes and values of your product or service stand out from other participants in the marketplace). Whether you are in life sciences, biotech, medical devices or pharma, you will need to decide to whom you want to market. Once you have identified your target audience, the buyer journey is an excellent tool to help you start positioning your offer and creating your content strategy.
Remember, at different stages across the buyer journey, a potential customer can have different needs and behaves differently. This is precisely why it’s so important to understand and map these out across the journey, to ensure you serve the right content in the right context, at the right time.
To make this more tangible, let’s break down some of the stages of the buyer journey with some examples of content to consider. The first stage is awareness, this is where a potential customer identifies a need (sometimes referred to as admitted pain).
Types of content you can serve can be whitepapers, infographics or e-books that describe a specific application, technology or biological pathway. At this stage, content should be agnostic of your product or service.
The most important part is that there is an element of value that triggers an initial call to action (a download, video view or click to a landing page).
A call to action is a signal of potential interest, which brings us to the next stage of the journey. Interest. Here, you retarget the audience that engaged with your content from the awareness phase, at which point you can start serving product/service-related content. For instance, in the form of a brochure or a datasheet. Or you can consider creating publication highlights if your product has been referenced in scientific literature. Customers are always keen to hear about the experiences of their peers. Customer testimonials, especially from key opinion or thought leaders, are definitely one of the most powerful tools to move a customer into the consideration (and decision) phase of the buyer journey.
This is often the time point when a prospect converts to a lead and the handoff from marketing to sales takes place. As marketers, don’t consider your job done as there will be a need to support sales colleagues to enable their success. A sales pitch deck, positioning cards, dedicated training on objection handling and further down-the-process ROI calculators can be instrumental in supporting closing a deal.
And as we get to the final stage of the buyer journey, retention, marketing continues to play an important role either through developing loyalty programs, cross-selling promotions, monitoring customer satisfaction and continued brand-building efforts to secure business longevity and maximize customer lifetime value.
Using tools such as the buyer journey to develop your content strategy, will help to amplify the impact of your efforts and maximize your return on investment. To get you started, lots of agencies provide (free) templates. My favorite templates come from Figma.