3 tips for product launch marketing success (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series I stated the reason why product launch marketing programs fail is because they fail to influence buyers.  To get an empathetic understanding of buyers is through the use of a tool called a buyer persona profile. I also stated that in complex B2B sales we’re likely to encounter multiple buyers, each with their own set of problems and agendas. This requires us to build a buyer persona profile for each person that will influence a buying decision for your product or service.

(Buyer personas are covered in much more detail in Pragmatic Institute’s Effective Product Marketing seminar)

In Part 2 I’m going to connect the buyer persona profile to the buying process, which is the missing component of many product launch marketing programs.

Buyer persona profiles are a marketing tool

First a little more about buyer persona profiles:

  • They are a tool for marketing
  • They are not to be shared with Sales - ever
  • They represent a typical buyer in a market segment (but can never be perfect)
  • They go deeper than demographic information
  • They give us perspective about how the buyer might behave
  • They allow us to get inside the head of a buyer

In the end a buyer persona profile is a marketing tool that gives us the buyer insight we’re missing. It allows us to connect marketing programs with buyers in a way that compels them to take the next step in making a purchase.

The buying process

A lot of attention is placed on the selling process, but how much time do you dedicate to understanding the buying process? The selling process is how we want a sale to go down. The buying process is how the buyer will buy – step by step. When the two are out of sync, marketing programs are all over the map and the ability to predict the outcome of any given sale is almost impossible.

What’s the first action?

Stop for a moment and consider how your buyers might go about the process of buying your product. After they acknowledge they have a problem that needs to be solved, what do they do next? If they’re like me they do a Google search using words and phrases that describe the problem in a way that’s familiar to me. I wouldn’t search for an air movement device, but I would search for a fan. Can your buyers find you online or are you invisible?

Are you providing enough information?

Once they’ve found a set of potential suppliers that can solve their problem, they might spend some time educating themselves on your company and your offerings before they make a call or fill out form on your web site. Are you providing enough information on your web site to enable them to self educate or are you forcing them to contact you before they are ready? Is there negative information they might find during their search that would dissuade them from considering your company?

Different buyers, different steps

If every buyer were involved in every step of the buying process our job would be much easier. But this isn’t the case. One buyer gets the whole thing started and the rest get pulled in as the buying process progresses. And the number and type of buyers will change depending on economic conditions. You will discover that in tight economic times more buyers are involved in the buying process.

Once the buying process steps are defined, map which buyers are involved in which steps. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it has to be a representative example which you will use to focus your product launch marketing efforts.

Now supply the missing pieces

With a basic understanding of the buying process and when each buyer gets involved, you can map your marketing programs (and sales tools) to each step in the buying process. It becomes obvious what is in place and which buyers you haven’t fully addressed. So instead of reacting to requests from the Sales team you can proactively develop marketing programs that influence each buyer from one step in the buying process to the next.

Next Step: How to discover the buying process without annoying your Sales team

The final article in the series will explore techniques you can use to discover the buying process without making the Sales team feel like your treading into their territory.

Are you building product launch marketing programs around the selling process or the buying process?

Is your company’s selling process in sync with your buyer’s buying process?

Read Part 3

David Daniels

David Daniels

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