Understanding your customers’ behaviors can be a complex process. Check out how your brand can get started.
You’ve got a social media strategy, your UX is on point, and the campaigns are launched – but what if the messaging isn’t effective for your audience? One major mistake we see with brands is the lack of awareness about the buyer journey. Buyer behavior includes elements like decision-making processes, touchpoints, psychological triggers, and competitor evaluation. Every element of the buying process impacts the bias, evaluation, and decisions of your customer. Buyer behavior research is the process of unpacking and exploring these triggers, motivations, and interactions.
Why is buyer behavior research important?
Let’s talk about why customer insights are important for your brand:
- They lead to the creation of better marketing personas for various geographic, industry, or motivational segments.
- Buyer behavior research can lead to customer journey mapping and opportunity spotting for your brand.
- Understanding how your brand fits into the competitive landscape can help create solidified positioning and messaging.
- For B2B, buyer behavior is a cross between organizational and buyer habits. Being knowledgeable on the decision-making processes of your clients is key for B2B because of the number of individuals, processes, and departments typically involved.
How can my brand harness the power of buyer behavior research?
Alright, we’ve got a good grasp on why buyer behavior insights are important. But where can your brand go from here? In a perfect world, buyer behavior research is a multi-month, multi-stakeholder process. But regardless of whether you’re working in a large organization with several departments or a fast-moving start-up, you’ve probably realized that research on this scale is quite difficult to maintain on a long-term basis. So let’s break this down into five steps to harness buyer behavior research. If you want to learn more enroll in our free buyer behavior course.
1. Diagnose your organization’s understanding of the buyer
First, before you dig into the actual buyer behavior, it’s important to understand your own biases as an organization. One way to do this is hold a brand-alignment workshop. Map the assumptions of your team against how you believe the customer enacts their journey. Once you have the launching pad, you will be able to learn more about where to go for your answers. Remember, this step examines your internal perceptions only, and not the customer. Ask yourself:
- Are there parts of the journey that my organization is overlooking?
- Does my organization know what problem our customer is trying to solve?
- Does your team align on the brand values they are trying to convey to the target audience?
2. Talk to your customers
Your customers trust you for a reason. It’s time to take the next step in the relationship and start the conversation. It can feel quite awkward asking for a conversation, but make sure you focus the starting point on a genuine desire to better serve your customers. Having a 30-minute call can both help understand the customer journey and also diagnose your current relationship with the customer. Try asking:
- What was the motivation behind looking for a product like ours?
- What criteria did you use to assess the offering?
- If you could change any aspect of the search process, what would it be?
- How do you use our product (or service) now?
- If you had to describe our brand to a friend in one sentence, what would you say?
The key here is that the customer won’t always tell you everything – or they may not even realize the deeper answer to the question. Ask follow-ups, try to avoid leading questions, and don’t be afraid of looking at broader themes in the conversation.
3. Dig into your internal and external resources
Getting your customers on the phone can be time consuming and challenging. But even one or two conversations can yield results and new directions for your research. In order to build a more complete picture of the buyer journey and behavior utilize the following:
- Customer help or tech support logs
- Analytic insights (cart abandonment, bounce rates, page views, etc.)
- Conducting interviews with your referral partners
- Dig into industry reports and trends though consultancy firms, subject matter experts on Linkedin, and other third party resources
** Note: if you are operating in multiple industries or countries, it can be especially important to look at cultural considerations and regulations based on the target audience.
4. Audit your competitors
Now check out your competitors. Rather than just glare at them through your computer screen (yes, I see you) try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.
- What problem am I (the customer) trying to solve right now?
- Does this brand have resources available to help understand how I can best solve my problem?
- Does the copy speak to me as a person?
- Am I left with confusion or clarity?
5. Now go opportunity spotting
Finally, don’t forget the most important part of your research – IMPROVEMENT! Tying research to strategy is the key step. Ask yourself:
- How does our customer find us? How can we make this easier?
- Does my organization have resources in place for each step of the buying process?
- Does our brand messaging speak to the problem our customer is trying to solve?
- Does our brand positioning distinguish us from our competitors?
- Are there gaps between what our customer wants and how they achieve their goals? Do we fill those gaps completely?
Now you’re ready – go forth and research! Remember, research is an iterative process that takes time, patience, and curiosity.
If you are looking for someone who can conduct buyer behavior research that ties directly to your marketing goals and strategies, then contact us.