Getting to know what is on the minds of buyers today is a hard proposition. Sometimes, without this knowledge, it is like navigating a minefield. One misstep and all your efforts with potential buyers can blow up on you. Leaving you wondering why.
With the buyer-seller world flipped upside down, acquiring deep profound buyer insights is something marketing and sales leaders need to spend time on. Today, getting profound buyer insight leads to competitive advantage. Not just any competitive advantage – but – the sustainable kind.
How To Acquire
Over the past dozen years of buyer research and buyer persona development, I can boil the acquiring of profound buyer insights down to two big things: qualitative synthesis and context. The importance of context is emerging as a key understanding needed to get the differentiation we seek. For example, I am sure we can trade horror stories of content marketing or sales strategies lacking context – causing your team to take a wrong step. And, here is the one important thing you need to know about acquiring context: it is the trail you need to understand the powerful why.
Synthesizing profound buyer insight and understanding buyer context is a challenge. Some of the main challenges are how to distil insights, organize insights, communicate insights and context, and understand the resulting implications. One way to overcome these challenges is to use a map. To help with this challenge, I am offering the model of a Buyer Insight Map™ consisting of 6 Buyer Zones of profound insights. Here are 6 Buyer Zones to focus in on:
Buyer Mindset: to understand patterns and what is the mindset of buyers, we come up with mental model identifiers. The collection of profound insights, perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs has to be communicated with simplicity. Think of this as the “title” of your buyer insights, which is easy to communicate.
Buyer Drivers: oftentimes, top of mind drivers are hard to articulate on the part of buyers. Yet, they play an important role in influencing their behaviors and decisions. They are present consistently from a day in the life perspective.
Buyer Goals: in a previous article, I mentioned how personal and business goals are overlapping. A key foundation of buyer persona, as well as, buyer insight development is understanding goal-directed behaviors. And, how these goals influence decisions.
Buyer Think: attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs can be powerful influences on a buyer’s behavior as well as in making decisions. This is a tough one to get at directly for two reasons. One, if there are even the slightest shapes to formed attitudes or perceptions, buyers can be very wary of stating directly to selling company representatives. Being fearful of unseen repercussions as well as keeping the edge in the relationship. The second is buyers can have difficulty in articulating or expressing attitudes or perceptions in ways that make sense. Use of third party qualitative expertise can help here.
Buyer Governance: usually lurking in the background are budget guidelines, procedures, policies, processes, and other organizational pressures. These types of internal processes have an impact on buying behaviors and decisions. An interesting perspective I have developed after hundreds of buyer interviews is this: sometimes buyers do not realize it themselves how these affect their decision-making.
Buyer Choice: another perspective gained over the years is this: why buyers buy usually comes down to a choice. Understanding the power of choice helps you to understand the why of decisions. There is a school of thought on choice, which looks at the relationship to either consequences or payoffs to choices. This is another not so obvious and hard to articulate area for buyers. We are attempting to gain profound insight on how consequences and payoffs influence why they buy.
The Buyer Insight Map™, used together with the Buyer Persona Canvas™, is designed to be a communications platform. It offers structure and a way of organizing profound buyer insights. Here you can see profundity means going beyond the facts of buying and getting to the hardcore of why. It offers two important purposes:
- One, it offers a way of looking at insight data for the purpose of understanding their implications. Providing a platform for getting in context with buyers strategically. Having direct impact on how to formulate content marketing approaches, sales approaches, and support capabilities.
- Two, for the purpose of communicating to marketing, sales, and service personnel the contextual understanding of buyers they need to be effective. Resulting in clues on how best to interact with customers and buyers as well as create the best customer experiences.
One thing I can attest to is taking the time to reach profound buyer insights can add a few miles of distance between you and the nearest competitor. After all, it is a race to win over buyers..
(I have made this model available as a resource here for you: Buyer Insight Map™. I welcome further conversation if I can be of help in understanding the buyer zones of insights and how to make this model an integral part of your planning.)