The Buyer Journey: A Marketing Shift Travels Across the Globe

When it comes to creating brand strategy, understanding human behavior is vital. Knowing what makes humans, or the target audience, take action to engage with a brand (whether for conversation, for making a purchase, or both) is fundamental to how significant a brand can become. Planning and anticipating human behavior is key to creating a successful brand strategy. Customer loyalty can be a fleeting thing, forever fluctuating between convenience, price, trends, and the like. However, it is very possible for brands to transcend that pattern if a focus is placed on creating relationships with customers instead of transactions with them.

Recently, the CMO Club and IBM partnered together to conduct research among the world’s top marketers having $1 billion budgets or more. They used their findings to produce “Marketing is a (Buyer) Journey, Not a Destination,” a CMO Solution Guide. The data found that chief marketing officers are putting higher emphasis on the entire customer journey rather than individual channels.

“CMOs can no longer afford to dedicate a majority of their budget to customer acquisition and allocate market spend by channel. Marketing focused solely on awareness and/or the purchase funnel is obsolete.”

Now investing across the whole experience instead of just the funnel, CMOs are seeing the importance (and the payoff) of spreading their budgets more evenly over each stage of the buyer journey. Pinpointing on customer acquisition is shifting to include customer retention and advocacy. For example, the study found “Discover” stage averaged 20% of budgets, “Learn” averaged 16%,”Try” 16%, “Buy” 21%, “Use” 13%, and “Advocate” 14%.

Across all buyer stages, the study defined social and online channels as “multitasker mediums.” Old Navy, one of many brands investing in applications to allow people to sync mobile devices with their television viewing, is seeing this firsthand. Michele Schuh, director of media at Old Navy, says their ideal customer is: “25 to 34, she’s watching television, and she’s on some other device while she’s watching it, likely engaging on Facebook, Twitter. We know there’s an opportunity to get her on both screens.”

Successful marketing is not about having a “social strategy” or a “digital platform” or an “awareness” program. It’s about creating a positive reputation using a clear message that travels and resonates across all channels. Furthermore, brands become resoundingly successful—iconic, even—as customers are made to feel part of something special, something only provided to them by that particular brand.

Doing this takes an unwavering, focused dedication into understanding the target audience and their behaviors, but companies like Disney, Apple, and Harley Davidson are certainly not regretting their decision to do this very thing. Brendon Kraham from Google has said that, when developing marketing for different screens, the user experience should be top of mind at all times. “It is the context we’re in that dictates the device we reach for.” How much has Google invested in understanding and perfecting user experience? And more importantly, how much has it paid off for them?

At IDealogic®, we foresee that this expanded focus on the Buyer Journey will make for interesting travels across the globe. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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