One spring day my son asked, “Can we please get a season pass to Elitch Gardens this summer? Pleeaase?” Elitch Gardens is one of several local amusement parks.
“Hmmm, maybe, probably not, I don’t know” I replied. My child was trying to influence my buying behavior. My influencer, A.K.A. my child, continued his lobbying until I said, “I will look into it.” I went to the website for more information.
My buying options included, a season pass (with or without a meal package), a day pass, or no pass.
What is a Buyer’s Journey?
According to hubspot.com the buyer’s journey consists of 3 phases.
1. Awareness- The potential buyer notices a problem and looks for solutions.
2. Consideration- The potential buyer considers various options.
3. Decision-The potential buyer takes action on buying or not buying a product or service.
Our Awareness Phase
My son, The Influencer:
My son was aware summer break was coming soon. The “problem” was the idea of nothing to do.
Me, the Buyer:
I know that the amusement park exists. I understand the pros and cons of taking kids to amusement parks. Yet, until he asked me to go there, I was not considering going. I had plenty to do. My problem would be hearing, “I’m booored. All my friends get to go places. I am stuck at home.”
Marketing to Influencers and Buyers in the Awareness Phase:
Influencers can be important to the buyer’s journey at any and all phases. Influencers may persuade the buyer to buy, or not to buy, but they lack the authority to make the final decision. Influencers can be children, employees, friends, contractors, YouTube stars, friends, or anyone else that the buyer listens to or watches.
Getting into a buyer’s awareness stage is a major accomplishment for new products and services. Influencers are a great way to get a product into a buyer’s awareness. People don’t buy things they don’t know exist. But, I am aware of millions of products that I routinely ignore. Awareness is not enough. Your marketing must lead the buyer into the next phase.
Remember that the problems of the influencers and the buyers are not the same! In deciding whether to take my children to Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, I wanted to know all the costs, specs about the height requirements for the rides and other entertainment options. I could just imagine plunking down a wad of cash just to sit with the younger children hot, bored and frustrated. My son, “The Influencer”, was only thinking about his own fun.
My influencer increased my awareness of going to the theme park at that moment he asked about it. That was a critical step, but it was not enough. I had questions.
Our Consideration Phase
My son, The Influencer:
My son sees ads for the theme park and it looks like fun. His consideration phase is short and simple. He hears his friends say that it is fun. He knows it only takes 35 minutes to drive there, so if we got a season pass he figures he would probably get to go several times during the summer.
Me, the Buyer:
Despite The Influencer’s insistence, I wasn’t sure spending days at the theme park was the best solution to boredom for our family. Roller coasters and waterslides are no longer my favorite activities.
I had many more questions. Going to an amusement park costs quite a few pennies and is a full day commitment. In the consideration phase of buying passes to the amusement park I first:
- Read the height requirements for all the rides.
- Searched for alternate solutions to summer boredom, including pool passes, museum passes and other amusement parks.
- Asked friends about their experiences at the park.
- Compared the price per person of other activities.
- Asked my husband (or co-decision maker) if he approved the extra expenditure in our budget.
- Talked with my influencer about criteria for family activities.
- Read content and reviews about the park.
Marketing to Influencers and Buyers in the Consideration Phase:
Marketing campaigns persuade influencers to coax buyers from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next. Quality content and ad campaigns are powerful methods to keep the influencers influencing.
When children are influencers their persuasion tactics will likely be simple. I have witnessed “influencers” A. K.A. kids use logical arguments, tantrums, promises, questioning, whining, cajoling, nagging, tears and other tactics to influence they buyer A.K.A. the parent toward making a decision. Adult influencers usually (but not always!) use more sophisticated tactics. Adult influencers will persuade the buyer using content and research. When I wanted my boss to approve a purchase order, I showed her case studies and costs.
Marketing campaigns definitely can’t ignore the buyers. They must show that their costs, ease of use, and effectiveness at solving the problem, meet the buyer’s emotional and practical needs. For big time or money commitments, like contracting a math tutor or choosing a school, I would likely spend at least a week in the consideration phase. During this phase I actively looking for more information. This is where high quality content is a game changer.
Marketers hire professional copywriters to create content for the influencers and the buyer. Content and ad campaigns should use persuasion techniques known to copywriters, like myself.
Our Decision Phase
My son, The Influencer
His only role was to make sure I followed through with buying.
Me, the Buyer:
After all the consideration, I made a partial commitment. I bought a one day pass, but I didn’t buy the season pass. Buying the tickets was easy. First I looked for coupons. Then I decided whether to buy the tickets online or at the ticket window. I chose the ticket window. Online might have saved me a few minutes of standing in line, but I my coupons only worked in person. While the tickets were pricey for one day’s entertainment, buying them was a simple transaction.
I didn’t have to:
- Call anyone
- Go to a website
- Give away personal information
- Drive anywhere I wasn’t already going to go to.
- Get a purchase order.
- Sign a contract
- Commit to any future actions or expenditures
Marketing to Influencers and Buyers in the Decision Phase:
From the business’s perspective, a lost customer in the buying process is like throwing money into a fire. The more complex the buying process is, the more marketing and sales techniques is needed to close the deal. Buying real estate and cars are complex, so professional sales people walk buyers through the entire process.
Why should you care about the buyer’s journey and influencers?
Your business needs to allocate marketing resources on all phases of the buyer’s journey. You need to understand the role of an influencer in the buyer’s journey.
If those influencers are children, like my son, your marketing campaign should focus on awareness and fun. Children tend to be focused on the moment and themselves, but parents think about the future and the group.
You need quality content that speaks to the pain points and offers solutions for the buyer and the influencer. Too many business owners neglect the buyer, the influencer or a stage of the buyer’s journey. Their businesses suffer from the oversight.
For example, if you are marketing supplemental math education, you will want content that speaks to the child’s problem may be feeling embarrassed, or bored, in math class. Content aimed at the parent should talk about supplemental math education as a solution for the child getting into college, or improving family harmony by taking away homework struggles.
Also, if you allocate resources on things like Pay-Per-Click, networking, social media, and events for getting into the buyer’s awareness, but don’t have any quality content for your potential buyers and influencers to refer back to in the consideration and decision phase, you are throwing money down the drain.
Unless you are selling an impulse product, like gum, your potential buyers will probably research various options. They will read content and consult influencers to help make a wise decision in solving their problem. If your content isn’t there, or the content is weak, or hard to read, the buyer will probably go to your competitor or not progress to the next step of the journey.
Your content should show that your solution is the best solution for solving the problems of the buyer and the influencer.
What is Your Next Step?
Think about the typical relationship between the buyer and their influencer’s for your company’s products and services.
1) Who are the buyers’ influencers and what do they have to gain, or lose, by your buyers’ decision?
2) Does your content speak to the desires of both the buyers and the influencers? If you ignore either, you are losing sales. Children influencers require special marketing tactics. Sometimes the little influencers will help you sell, especially if your product or service is sweet or fun. In these situations you will need content aimed at the parent to see the purchase as worthwhile and not detrimental.
3) Is your product or service something that little influencers don’t want? These important services, like pediatric dentistry and supplemental education, help the children but don’t excite them. These industries need content to help parents make wise decisions despite their influencer’s protests.
4) Do you expect your potential customers to spend more than 10 minutes in the awareness, consideration, or buying phase? The longer each phase takes, the more content you need. You need content for each stage.
Want to chat about the buyer’s journey in your industry? E-mail me today. I can write an ad campaign with content that motivates children to become powerful influencer in a buyer’s journey. I can also write content that speaks to the parent’s problems. High quality content can make the difference between a struggling and a thriving business. Beware of sites like Fiver.com, Upwork.com, and Freelancer.com. Most copywriters who understand marketing tactics and methods of persuasion, are not on these discount sites.
Industries with children as major influencers include:
- K-12 Education and tutoring
- Youth Sports and Recreation
- Pediatric Health, Fitness, and Nutrition
- Family Travel
- Electronics and toys
Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next blog will talk about my buyer’s journey for something my influencer did NOT want.