The Buyer Journey: When & How to Show Your True Colors

By Stacey Piper

In today’s fast-paced marketing landscape, it’s crucial to evolve beyond the standard marketing campaign and get the most out of your resources by targeting your efforts. I advise my clients to adopt a comprehensive, end-to-end approach, building strategic marketing programs supported by robust campaign pillars. Each pillar encompasses several integrated campaigns, designed to target relevant content specifically tailored to the buyer journey.

To foster lasting customer relationships, Piper Strategies employs personalized one-to-one or one-to-few tactics, seamlessly guiding customers from their current state to the desired outcome. The customer journey can be divided into different stages, each with its own unique challenges and opportunities to engage with potential customers.

Steps in the Buyer Journey

  1. Identify the Customer’s Position in the Buyer Journey

The buyer journey is a dynamic process—often described as a funnel—beginning with Awareness and progressing through Consideration, Decision, and ultimately Retention. It’s also a unique process specific to each customer or customer segment, requiring individual attention and nurturing.

  • AWARENESS STAGE—The first stage involves creating awareness of your brand and offerings among a target audience. This can be particularly challenging in areas where brand awareness is low or competition is high. This is the stage where you need to educate customers who may have limited or no brand awareness of your company or only know you for a single core offering. You need to find a way to get your foot in the door.
  • CONSIDERATION STAGE—The next stage is to capture the attention of potential customers and generate interest in your product or service, opening the door to a deeper conversation. This can involve developing creative and compelling marketing messages that resonates with your target audience.

Begin by meeting the customer where they are. Do they already know you? If so, you may already have their email. Or is this a first date where you need to take it slower and capture their interest. Take the time to build trust and establish a relationship with each customer based on the stage in the buyer journey. This may involve offering free trials, providing customer service, and delivering on your promises.

  • DECISION STAGE—Finally, the goal is to convert a potential customer into a loyal and repeat customer. This requires a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and preferences, as well as ongoing engagement and communication to foster a long-term relationship.

By breaking down the customer journey into different stages and understanding where each customer is within their journey, businesses can better target content and guide customers to the desired outcome.

  1. Map Out Your Content Categories to Each Stage

• EDUCATIONAL CONTENT

At the top of the funnel is your ungated, informative, vendor-neutral content. This can include blogs, tip sheets, and lessons learned, complimentary insights that you promote via social media and industry websites. Leverage search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to ensure your utility-based content is seen and found when your buyer is seeking to gain awareness of a problem and how to solve it. At this stage, you’re in a crowded room trying to get noticed, and you need to demonstrate that you understand the issue.

• SOLUTION-ORIENTED CONTENT

At the consideration stage, your future customer is focused on comparing possible vendors and solutions. The customer is ready to spend a little more time getting to know you, and you need to be prepared for courting. Ensure your website and LinkedIn company profile have robust information that demonstrates your capabilities. Use email marketing to promote a webinar or product demo.

At this stage, the customer is ready for a deeper dive, such as fact sheets, white papers, and presentations, and willing to provide contact information—captured in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. It’s important to track and analyze performance and adjust content to walk hand in hand with your customer along this pathway. Your CRM can ensure personalized and relevant content at each touchpoint.

• DECISION-BASED CONTENT

Now is the time to put all your cards on the table: case studies, testimonials, awards, success stories, reviews, whatever you’ve got to show you’re the front runner and help the buyer arrive at a decision. Leverage your referrals, respond to bids, and make in-person pitches. At this stage, you should have a strong understanding of the customer, and you need to prove that you are the right partner.

  1. Create Buyer Personas and Develop Relevant Content Ideas for Each Persona

Few companies invest in developing customer personas, which can strengthen your efforts in Steps 1 and 2. An experienced agency-based marketer like Piper Strategies can work with you to build out an empathy map, a deep-dive into the buyer’s mindset and needs at each step of the buying cycle, to drive differentiated messaging and content. Empathy or influence mapping is a way to flesh out each stage of the buyer journey and ensure messaging resonates at each stage.

By devoting time and resources to understanding the customer journey, businesses can establish a personalized customer experience and nurture lasting relationships with their customers. Beyond better customer comprehension, they can utilize customer journey mapping to create buyer personas, develop personalized communications and messages, and optimize touchpoints with the right content and offers that are in line with each stage of the journey.

When your business puts in the work to get inside the heads of its target customers, you’ll foster trust and loyalty for years to come. With Piper Strategies offering personalized advice and helping you navigate the customer journey, you can map your content more efficiently to create a successful relationship with your target audience.

Learn more about strategic marketing campaigns in Government Marketing Best Practices 2.0: What You Need to Know for Accelerated Success, one of GovBrew’s top govcon books.


Ready to create an invaluable connection with your customers? Contact me for a consultation with your leadership team.

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