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What Is the Buyer’s Journey? A Guide to Understanding the Consumer’s Buying Process

The sales industry has changed in a way that has never been seen before: today, buyers have access to a vast wealth of information that was previously unavailable to them. This is what makes the buyer’s journey so important. This means you’re not just interacting with them as if they’re ready to buy right now.

That’s why convincing a potential buyer to purchase takes a little more finesse.


Even before they become interested in what you offer, you need to be there. Understanding a buyer’s path from the beginning can greatly impact your sales numbers. Let’s learn more about the buyer’s journey in this post.


what is the buyer's journey


Buyer’s Journey: What Is It All About?

The buyer’s journey is just that – the journey or the process your potential buyer goes through that ends with the actual purchase. That’s why it’s also called the purchasing journey.

Essentially, it starts when they recognize a problem that they want to be addressed. What is the solution to this problem? It’s your product or service.


Think of it as the sales funnel but from the perspective of the buyer. Being aware of their journey allows you to intimately know how they think, act, and decide in every part of the process up until they reach the point of sale.

Therefore, the sales funnel and the buyer’s journey are complementary marketing tools designed to maximize your turnover.


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Buyer’s Journey and Customer Journey: How Are They Different?

Although both need to be tracked, their purpose isn’t the same. Functionally, what they have in common is that they’re both used in creating a marketing strategy.

Also known as the consumer purchase journey, the customer journey doesn’t end when the sale is closed. It also involves after-sales support, something that’s meant to boost brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.


So in a way, it never actually ends because sustaining support and loyalty from existing customers requires constant effort.

Meanwhile, the purchasing journey is the opposite – it ends when a transaction is made, as its purpose is to help marketers generate sales.


We’ve seen a lot of people use the two terms interchangeably. If it’s still a little confusing, just think of the customer journey as the extended counterpart.


What Are the Three Stages of the Buyer’s Journey?

buyer's journey

The journey consists of three various stages, each of which takes the buyer closer to the sale. These are awareness, consideration, and decision.

What each stage is called easily summarizes the general decision-making state of the buyer. But to give you a deeper understanding of these stages, we’ll talk about them in detail in the following subsections.


Note that not everyone will have the same parameters for when a lead is considered to have moved to other stages of the buyer’s journey.

So if you make one for your organization, the decision-makers there will ultimately decide where these lines are.


To help illustrate the three stages, we’ll use a simple buyer’s journey example as well.


1. Awareness Stage

During the awareness stage, the lead becomes aware that something is wrong. Or at least something can be improved. They know there’s a problem, but they don’t fully understand it yet.

So they use their access to information to find a name for it.


For example, the lead finds a stain on their favorite shirt. Because they don’t know what to do, they google “what is a brown stain on clothes?”.

At this stage, the goal is to remove the problem ASAP. But they know that the first step here is to identify what the problem is. 


2. Consideration Stage

For many marketers, the consideration stage begins once the lead can clearly define what the problem is. Continuing with the example earlier, they’re already aware that it’s just mud.

However, they aren’t sure yet how to go about addressing it.


So what they do is consider potential solutions – that’s the highlight of the second stage of defining what the buyer’s journey is. They’ve seen a YouTuber use baking soda to remove a stain.

But thanks to your content marketing efforts for the awareness stage, they also know that the detergent you’re selling can remove in five minutes.


3. Decision Stage

After the evaluation, the buyer is almost at the end of the journey: it’s time to make a decision. The decision stage is when they weigh up all the options.

In our example, there are two options. Because the buyer wants a solution that is sure to work, they go with your detergent. 


But it’s also possible for them to slip back to the consideration stage. If they believe that none of the options are worth it, they’ll redo the second stage to see if they missed anything.

Think of it this way: if your budget is $5 and both prospective solutions cost $10, you won’t be able to buy anything.


How Much of the Buyer’s Journey Is Digital?


A lot of sources say that it’s 67%. Because of how immersed and connected everyone is now through the internet, it’s being heavily used to help a lead move through the buyer’s journey.

But even if you feel like you’re not using digital assets enough, you don’t necessarily have something to worry about.


The perfect “mix” of online and offline strategy will depend on your business. For example, a kid selling lemonade from a lemonade stand may just need to post on local groups to bring foot traffic.

Meanwhile, a digital startup may mostly rely on its digital assets when strategizing. Only you can tell how much of it would be digital. 


Why Is the Buyer’s Journey So Important?


Many of those who go through the buyer’s journey may not make a decision favoring your company. So why make the effort to map it out? Here are a few reasons:


  • Most marketing doesn’t involve human interaction anymore. Think of blog posts, e-commerce companies, and even chatbots. Because we’re now very hands-off in the process, we must better understand what goes on in the buyer’s mind.
  • It captures the biggest questions the leads have. This allows you to double-check whether or not the content you’re creating accurately responds to all their concerns.
  • It’s a starting point for the customer journey. You’re saving time and effort because a lot of your research can be reused.


Customer Buying Journey Strategies


The point of having a buyer’s journey is to align your marketing efforts to respond to where your buyer is in their decision-making process. If you have no idea what content to create for each stage, here are a few ideas to help you out.


  • Awareness Stage. Infographics, blog posts, reports, and eBooks.
  • Consideration Stage. Product reviews and comparisons, case studies, webinars, and product demonstrations.
  • Decision Stage. Sales pages, advertisements, calling prospects, and the About Us page.


To reiterate, the strategies don’t have to revolve around digital assets, but for most industries, these would be appropriate solutions.


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The Secret Sauce to Implementing a Successful Marketing Campaign

Understanding the buyer’s journey isn’t just about having a theoretical marketing concept.

It’s essential if you want to understand how to move your leads to the bottom of the funnel. And the more leads you retain as you move through this funnel, the more sales you close.


The buyer’s journey presents a way for marketers to easily understand their prospective buyers, thus allowing them to implement appropriate strategies.

With your newfound deeper appreciation of this topic, we’re confident that you’ll be able to take your campaigns to the next level.

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