Why Marketers Struggle to Reach Buyers Early in their Journey

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What is the pain that shoves your buyers off the fence, and gets them looking for a solution like yours?

If you can’t name it, you are in good company. While most marketers are feverishly producing content to meet buyers at all stages of their journey, the one area where they miss the mark almost every time is right at the starting line.

When a new prospect enters the market, you have an opportunity to be the first to deliver the content they will trust and get your solution into consideration. This is easier said than done, but I’m going to show you how to get there.

The Most Difficult Content to Create for the Buyer’s Journey

Marketing influencers love to talk about the importance of “knowing your persona’s pains” and crafting just the right content to reach buyers at each stage of their decision-making process. What they don’t understand (or greatly oversimplify) is the difficulty of being relevant to buyers at the beginning of their journey.

When marketers create content about pain points, they are usually blasting out content about each of the challenges their products address and praying one of them resonates with a prospect.

Unfortunately, buyers treat all of those messages as white noise – a low hiss that recedes into the background of the matters that they have already prioritized.

What if you knew which pains cause your buyers to seek change -- to stop everything and pay attention?

At the moment when buyers decide to look at their options, a precious opportunity awaits you. But only if you can deliver content that resonates so deeply with the buyer that they have the confidence to put your brand on their list of potential providers.

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Finding Priority Initiative Insights

First, you need to understand why real buyers begin their evaluation of providers in your market, and the only way to get this insight is through unscripted interviews with people who have recently evaluated a solution like yours.

A thorough exploration of your buyer’s decision-making process will reveal two key insights: the Success Factors your buyers are trying to achieve, and the Priority Initiatives that push them into the market in the first place.

Success Factors are the inverse of the pain points your buyers feel, explaining what buyers want to achieve once they purchase a solution like yours. Through verbatim quotes from buyers, you will know how to describe the outcomes that matter to your buyers. Instead of copying your competitor's message that the solution is “lightweight and easy to use,” you’ll know how buyers evaluate this attribute and why it’s important. Your buyer interviews will tell you everything you need to know about how to make your benefits so specific that they educate and resonate with your buyers.

The Priority Initiative is distinct because it is the starting gun that causes buyers to decide that now is the time to change. Unlike typical pain points, these are the circumstances or goals that your buyers can no longer ignore or move to the bottom of their to-do list.

Through an analysis of multiple interviews, you will see why buyers in your market live with pain for months or even years before committing to change. The Priority Initiative insights show you the moment when your buyers throw up their hands and shout, “That’s it! I’m done with this!”

Finding the Priority Initiative insights is the first step toward producing the right content to reach buyers as they begin their journey. Next, you need to make sure this content is useful for your buyers, and that requires thought leadership.

The Necessity of Thought Leadership

When you know your buyer’s Priority Initiative, you know why and when buyers are ready to explore a solution like yours.

Now your job is to position your company’s knowledge of the problem as superior to your competitors’. This is the time to invest in high quality thought leadership.

Do you know the thought leaders in your industry? A thought leader is someone who understands your buyer’s problem so well, they can describe it in a way no one in your audience has ever before considered. And by hearing their problem from this new perspective, your buyers will automatically see you as the experts who can deliver the solution.

In order to build thought leadership content, you will need to find a subject matter expert who qualifies as a thought leader on the Priority Initiatives you uncovered in your interviews.

Your brand needs to immerse itself in those problems and speak about them with such amazing clarity that buyers say, “I hadn’t seen my situation that way, but now that I do, I realize that there is a clear path to success and must make this a priority”.

You are going to need a helping hand with this task. Surprisingly, expertise on your product can actually be a deterrent to success, as it is easy to fall into the trap of describing your buyer’s circumstances through the lens of your own solution.  

More often than not, you will need to look outside your organization to find the right subject matter expert for this job, but it is well worth it. You will want to do some networking or Google terms related to your Priority Initiative insights to see who is already writing thought-provoking pieces. Then educate them about your approach just enough that they see the connection. You’ll have achieved two goals in one – creating thought leadership content that resonates with your buyers and building a relationship with someone who will now include this new perspective in their own work.

When buyers start looking for a solution, their mental state is fraught with uncertainty and risk. Their jobs or careers may be on the line if they make the wrong choice. To establish trust at that moment, you need a firm grasp on the situation that triggered their search. Then you need to create the unique content that allows your buyers to see the problem from a whole new vantage point. It’s not easy, but it is the only way to ensure your role as a trusted guide for the next steps in your buyer’s journey.

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Topics: B2B, Buyer Personas

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