Developing a Buyer Journey-driven Marketing Plan
Being buyer journey-driven
In this post, we will explain how to use the buyer journey to create a detailed marketing plan to engage buyers throughout their journey through a variety of tactics and content tailored to the buyers. In the previous post, we mapped out the buyer journey in detail. Now let’s put this to work! OK!
Objectives by Buyer Stage
During the Problem Definition phase, the buyers do their initial research online, tapping into their social network, and trusted peers for insights and information. As a marketer, your role at this stage is to educate them, make them aware, and start to engage them.
As they move into Solution Definition, they will continue to use the web, and their social network, both online and in-person, to research and gain ideas and insights. In addition to educating and engaging the buyers, your role is to start making connections through social media or by capturing information about them as they engage with you.
At some point, they will start Vendor Evaluation, and they will need help in presenting findings and recommendations to the buyer committee. Your role is to sell hard at this point and get them to make contact.
Finally, they will be Deciding. They will be evaluating you (hopefully), and they will want validation that you would be a good choice, and ultimately they will make a decision. Your role is to make the differentiation between you and your competitors clear, and as you move to close the deal, you will need to assure them that they are making the best decision. This means convincing the buyer collective that you will deliver on their goals. For the champion, in particular, you will need to provide them with the confidence that selecting you is going to make them look good.
The Engagement Planning Framework
The Foundation of a Marketing Plan
Below is the Engagement Planning Framework. This is designed to help you map out a tactical plan that tracks across the buyer journey. For illustration, we show a completed Plan.
As you can see, this 1-page framework allows you to lay out all the key information you will need to create a detailed tactical marketing plan. From left to right, it follows the buyer journey as described above as well as your objectives at each stage.
For reference, you can include your message (or messages) and the target audience. The tactics are split into
- Paid – Tactics you will need to pay a third party to execute,e .g. a trade show or an ad campaign on LinkedIn
- Owned – Tactics and assets that you own, such as your website and marketing content
- Earned – These are marketing and communications tactics that earn you exposure and engagement, such as public relations, analyst relations, etc.
Lastly, we include a section to define the measures you will use at each stage.
Completing this framework can be fun. We suggest a workshop where you invite members of your sales and marketing teams and subject matter experts in digital marketing, PR, event planning, and social media.
You can brainstorm tactics using the personas and buyer journeys to provide direction and guardrails on your ideas. The sources of trust and intent data topics should provide plenty of inspiration.
Typically, we can address the needs of all personas through a single engagement plan. However, if there are significant differences in the roles and characteristics of some of your personas, you may need to do this exercise multiple times.
As you refine the ideas, look for opportunities to develop test programs. For example, testing the use of intent data with LinkedIn ads that target a defined account list.
Also, look for opportunities to personalize. One of the tactics that we have found useful is the use of PURLs or personalized landing pages. This allows you to target engaged buyers who may be halfway along the buyer journey with content curated for them with a personalized URL.
This whole framework is dependent on content. In a future post, we will review the content planning process.
Turning This Into a Marketing Plan
So now that you have a tactical framework to engage your personas across the buyer journey, you need to turn this into a marketing plan and budget.
We start this by prioritizing what will be done by quarter, as this example shows.
Once you have completed this prioritization, we suggest that you create a simple Gant Chart like this to describe your plan for the upcoming quarter, accompanied by a budget.
We hope you found this helpful. What our clients like about this process is that it is simple and systematic. It breaks down a complex process into simple tasks that build on each other.