How Buyer Trends are Impacting the Future of Business Thinking


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This free eBook looks at how future buyer trends are challenging conventional business thinking and offers a guide to modern business thinking in the hyper-competitive Social Age.

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How Buyer Trends are Impacting the Future of Business Thinking

  1. 1. How Buyer Trends Are ImpactingThe Future of Business Thinking By Tony Zambito © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. Copyright NoticesHow Buyer Trends Are Impacting The Future of Business ThinkingCopyright 2012 by Buyerology and Goal Centric Management, Inc., All rightsreserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or byany means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or byany information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing fromthe publisher. Requests for permission or further information should beaddressed to Tony Zambito at: © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. Legal NoticesWhile all attempts have been made to verify information provided in thispublication, neither the author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility forerrors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. This publicationis not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisherwants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varyingstate and/or local laws or regulations. All users are advised to retain competentcounsel to determine what state and/or local laws or regulations may apply tothe users particular business.The purchaser or reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use ofthese materials and information. Adherence to all applicable laws andregulations, both federal and state and local, governing professional licensing,business practices, advertising and all other aspects of doing business in theUnited States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the purchaseror reader. The author and Publisher assume no responsibility or liabilitywhatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of thesematerials. Any perceived slights of specific people or organizations isunintentional.Copyright 2012 Buyerology and Goal Centric Management, Inc. All rightsreserved. | 1-888-972-8937 © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4. IntroductionConventional business thinking today is being challenged morethan ever today. The prolonged recession economy, risingglobal pressures, continuing advancement in socialtechnologies, and rapidly changing buyer behaviors aresignificantly impacting business. Requiring business leaders toconstantly adjust their views and thinking on how to succeed intoday’s hyper-connected and hyper-competitive businessmarketplaces.In this ebook, notable buyer trends are presented within thecontext of how conventional thinking may need to change toalign with new buyer behaviors affecting purchase decisions.We take a look at what future trend is evident, what CEO’s,CMO’s, and CSO’s must do, and how the future may look as aresult of future buyer trends.It is hoped that this eBook will serve as a reference and guideto business thinking in the future and beyond. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 4
  5. 5. Contents1. Think Experience Creation vs. Content Creation p. 52. Think BIG Insights vs. BIG Data p. 123. Think Demand Fulfillment vs. Demand Generation p. 204. Think Buyer Network vs. Buyer p. 275. Think Buyer Decision Model vs. Buyer Journey p. 356. Think Intelligent Content vs. Content Mapping p. 427. Think Value-Based vs. Needs-Based p. 508. Summary: Humanize the Buyer Experience p. 57 © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 5
  6. 6. Think Experience Creation vs. Content Creation © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7. 1. Buyer Trend: Overwhelmed By ContentDuring the past two years, we’ve seen a significant rise in focuson content and how content is the new marketing. While somemay debate that content marketing is messaging in newclothing, it is now a competency that marketing executivesneed to assure getting right. We’ve learned in the past fewyears about the value as well as the role content can play in theearly stages of buying processes. In light of the heightened andalmost frenzied attention paid to content marketing, there hasbeen much written - and I’m sure internal meetings held incorporations all over the world - on the “how-to” of contentcreation. This has led to a crying game in the corporate hallsbewailing the need for publishers and journalists to come inand help. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 7
  8. 8. 1. Buyer Trend: Overwhelmed By ContentContent creation has become a driving force in marketing andsales organizations. So much so, buyers today are faced withthe unintended consequences of information overload andcontent fatigue. They are often faced with the daunted task ofsorting through myriads of information that will allow them tolearn and hopefully help them to make an informed purchasedecision. In essence, a buyer trend is evolving wherebymanaging and filtering information is becoming overwhelming.Experience, as a unique form of competitive advantage, hassuffered through its own identity crisis during the past decade.Customer experience has had the unintended consequences ofbeing identified as predominantly beefing up customer servicecapabilities. At the same time, we have seen companies whohave done admirable innovation of truly unique experiencesthat cut across an entire organization’s functions. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 8
  9. 9. 1. Buyer Trend: Overwhelmed By ContentWhat we are seeing today however is resurgence in the originalintentions of The Experience Economy as put forth by B. JosephPine II and James Gilmore. That is, people - be they consumersor B2B buyers - want to be part of an experience in its totality.They want to enter stage left or stage right into a theatre ofexperience and onto the business stage being offered.What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?I chose to use the word creation intentionally to label fromcontent creation to experience creation. Both require thatmixing of skill, talent, knowledge, and intuition to put forthsomething new and creative. What C-Suite leaders can do isbegin to shift the focus from purely on content creation andlead the organization to see the context of the end game. Theend game being creating experiences that provides a stage inwhich buyers can play a leading role. This requires newthinking. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 9
  10. 10. 1. Buyer Trend: Overwhelmed By ContentWhat may sound like a semantics difference is truly a corporatemind shift that must occur. While on one hand it is importantto provide excellent customer experiences, on the other hand itis entirely a different matter for an organization to seethemselves as experience creators.Instilling such a mind set into corporate culture is no easy shift.Companies seeing themselves as experience creators’ meanslooking at content creation in terms of how it fits as anessential piece of creating an experience buyers want to be apart of. It requires the C-Suite to discover new talent that can ineffect create a theatre of experience. Using the metaphoroffered by Pine and Gilmore, leaders today will need to findproducers of experience and find directors who are skilled atinterweaving content, conversations, interactions, and rolesinto the production of buyer experience. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 10
  11. 11. 1. Buyer Trend: Overwhelmed By ContentContent creation can be likened to, in this metaphor, asscriptwriting. Writing content that makes the experience visionand the artful direction required come alive for buyers. Thefocus becoming one of creating content that fits into theoverall vision of the experience and discovering, just asscriptwriters write in pauses and silence, that less can be more.The FutureAs we look to the future, the C-suite will in effect become theproducers and directors of the experience theatre a companybuilds. Allowing buyers to participate in as well as experience astory on a business stage that unfolds and marvels them eachand every time. One of my favorite theater productions hasbeen A Chorus Line. No matter how many times I see it, I stillget emotionally wrapped up in the story, the script, the music,the choreography, and the experience of the production. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 11
  12. 12. 1. Buyer Trend: Overwhelmed By ContentOrganizations today must create their own version of thelongest running Broadway show that buyers want to return toand revel in the experience more than once.While the corporate hallways may be filled with talk bemoaningthe need for the talents of journalists or publishers, the C-Suitewho sees themselves as experience creators will have a keeneye towards finding the brilliant producing, directing, andscriptwriting talent that can build a theatre of experience.Creating a theatre of experience that builds the anticipation,engages buyers in the story, and has them talking afterwards –each and every time. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 12
  13. 13. Think BIG Insights vs. BIG Data © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  14. 14. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingEvident over the past two years are monumental shifts that areoccurring in buyer behavior. We’ve seen buyers entering thebuying stages in unpredictable ways and deferring directinteractions further down the buying process. There have beengenerational differences noted between the rise of the youngersocial buyer as well as hybrid behaviors of traditional buyers.Buyers at first seemingly consuming information at a rabidthirst pace while other buyer groups demonstrating contentfatigue and rejecting content outright.Rather than rehash the mountain of information that can befound about what buyers are exhibiting, suffice to say thatbuyers are adapting, changing, evolving, and developing newprocesses along the way. We know, to a degree, what buyersare doing. And data-driven marketing and BIG data has becomeBIG business to tell us what buyers are doing. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 14
  15. 15. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingIn the past two plus years, we are seeing a rise in the analyticalpush and explosion in the wont for data. This is turning into aCatch-22 dilemma for C-Suite executives. While research can befound that data-driven companies do outperform non-datadriven companies, the C-Suites in corporate worlds can bedrowning in data and can never hear the still voice of theirexisting customers and prospective buyers. This dilemma ismost certainly compounding the issue of unpredictability aboutbuyers in the future.What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s do?There is no question that the C-Suite and perhaps in particularthe CMO is under constant duress to figure out how to find theright mix of products, services, and experiences that make loyalcustomers and wins over prospective buyers. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 15
  16. 16. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingI suspect that on any given day of the week, a C-Suite memberis pouring over the data explosion taking place and attemptingto decipher what insight can be useful for predicting howbuyers will behave and buy.Here’s a problem we all know business has. When it comes tolooking at the future – we just do a plain bad job at it. We’vebeen trained, conditioned, brainwashed, whipped, and had thefear of the devil put in to us to rely on BIG data as a way ofplanning and predicting the future. And to some degree,analytics and data help us to find out what buyers are mostlikely to do in the future. But, is BIG data on its’ own a reliablemeasure of outcome? While I am not certain, I am willing toguess that the 80/20 rule applies here with 80% of the C-Suitenot being able to give an affirmative yes to that question. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 16
  17. 17. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingWhat the C-Suite needs to do is balance the equation onfinding out how to predict as well as meet buyer goals. The C-Suite of the future will come to rely on BIG insights and seesuch interwoven into their strategy planning. By BIG insights Irefer to the qualitative nature of research that gets to the mostimportant questions of how and why buyers behave as they doto make purchase decisions. Giving us the BIG insights that canhelp us to plan for a future in ways buyers have yet to envisioneven for themselves.The C-Suite today must add BIG insight to the equation of beinginformed about buyers and making sound decisions that willput them on their existing customer’s and prospective buyer’scomputer or tablet screen consistently. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 17
  18. 18. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingThe problem that has always plagued BIG data is that it is ananalytical view of past results – it is rooted in a past-to-presentorientation. And past results are important. I am not sayingthey are not. What I am saying is that buyer behavior ischanging so rapidly that the C-Suite must balance out theequation to attain the deep understanding of buyers that isfocused on future orientation. An equation that leads to BIGinsights that also shapes the organization’s future relationshipswith existing customers and prospective buyers. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 18
  19. 19. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingThe FutureIn the present and in the future, C-Suite leaders will be calledto lead their organizations in distinguishing between data thatis factual in nature and insights which helps to informdecisions. This is where it gets tricky. The existing dialogueabout BIG data uses language about insights – and to be surethere is insight to be had quantitatively. However, there are BIGinsights to be had qualitatively that propel the organizationforward into a future that they co-create with existingcustomers and prospective buyers.The C-Suite of the future will look at shifting resources to bemore balanced between quantitative data and qualitativeinsights that are achieved through mixed qualitativeinvestigative methods. The quest for deeper insights will growas it becomes the path to finding ways to differentiate in aconstantly changing social world. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 19
  20. 20. 2. Buyer Trend: Buyer Behavior ChangingWhat buyers are saying today is pretty simple. They are saying“you are not going to get me just on numbers and facts.”Buyers are evolving a new expectation. That is, they want youto "get" them qualitatively and they want you to “get” them inways that will help them.What I’ve discovered through qualitatively research is thatwhile today buyers want to self-direct their own buyingprocesses and minimize sales involvement, they are futureoriented towards committing to a relationship that will helpthem grow.Are you ready to invest in the BIG insights that will guide yourorganization to exactly what that relationship is suppose tolook like? © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 20
  21. 21. Think Demand Fulfillment vs. Demand Generation © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  22. 22. 3. Buyer Trend: On A Quest To Be FulfilledThe conventional as well as social buyers of today can be saidto be on a quest to have their demands fulfilled. Demandbeing, for the purpose of this article, the catchall phrase torepresent a buyer’s desire to have their goals realized,challenges met, problems solved, and concerns alleviated.What the convergence of the Internet and the Social Age hasproffered is the ability for buyers to chart the quest for meetingtheir demands with much more control, participation, andengagement than in any time in history.The significant buyer trend of the past decade has become theblinding obvious – we know that buyers are self-directing 70%to 80% of their own buying process. This trend is profoundlychanging the landscape of business in macro as well as microlevel ways. It is the under layers of this trend that is having themost affect on marketing and sales in terms of the thinkingtowards demand generation. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 22
  23. 23. 3. Buyer Trend: On A Quest To Be FulfilledI have emphasized thinking in this eBook due to how trendsrequire us to reshape our thinking. When you change the wayyou think about things, the things you think about change.One of the things we need to change our thinking on – andwhat is meant by the under layers – is what happens whenbuyers find you? If our thinking is still in the context of pushand generation, then there will be little difference in whetherbuyers found you or you found them. Their thought processesare becoming more complex and intelligent engagement iswhat they seek to help them get their demands fulfilled. Whatdo buyers find – when they find you? Do they find themselvesakin to being in the middle of Times Square with flashingbillboards, bright lights, and the consistent horns of taxi cabs?Are they bombarded by insistent push messaging – loaded withthe conventional features and benefits dogma they’ve come toloathe? © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 23
  24. 24. 3. Buyer Trend: On A Quest To Be FulfilledBeing in the business of buyer personas for over a decade, I’veseen companies still have this thinking despite having personasright in front of them. The fatal flaw being buyer personas weredeveloped as profiles with push messaging and demandgeneration thinking as opposed to how to fulfill the goals ofbuyers. Buyers today have a sixth sense and becoming astute atknowing the difference in how an organization is thinking. Theunder laying aspect of this trend is this: what buyers areseeking today is to have their own demands fulfilled - not tohave your demands for generation met.What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?The C-Suite today can begin to look at what really is going on inits’ interactions with existing customers and prospectivebuyers. Questioning whether the incessant need to hit short-term quarterly results is blinding them to the need to shift theirthinking. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 24
  25. 25. 3. Buyer Trend: On A Quest To Be FulfilledIn essence, finding that the drum keeps beating loudly onurging the troops to push harder and harder. Evaluations can beperformed to look at interactions and determine whether theyare being used as an opening to push message or are theybeing made into an available opportunity for buyers to havetheir demands fulfilled.CMO’s can begin to look at how to develop fulfillment modelsbased on the demands of their existing customers andprospective buyers. Fulfillment modeling will thus become animportant new competency. By fulfillment, I do not mean themere availability of information and content as in the early daysof direct marketing – where collateral was king then. I do meanthat CMOs will have to lead efforts to develop an appreciabledeep understanding of the demand fulfillment goals andscenarios that drive purchase decisions. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 25
  26. 26. 3. Buyer Trend: On A Quest To Be FulfilledWhen buyers are in the 70% window of self-directed activity orin the 30% window of direct engagement, CMO’s and CSO’s canensure that buyers are able to connect in ways that allowsthem to continue their quests to have demands fulfilled. Asopposed to push messaging, buyers find tools and logicavailable to them that help them in their pursuit. What CMO’sand CSO’s have to be on guard for, especially in light of thegrowing role of content strategy and content marketing, is iftheir content is more of the same – push messaging – or is ittruly serving the purpose of demand fulfillment.The FuturePerhaps I am playing on words and semantics. I think not. Mymany conversations while engaged in qualitative investigativeefforts is telling me that the future will require a shift inthinking on exactly what takes place when buyers find you. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 26
  27. 27. 3. Buyer Trend: On A Quest To Be FulfilledHow organizations think on whether they are performingdemand fulfillment or demand generation will be reflected inhow buyers find organizations to be when they do find them.Changing thinking and getting results from that change is oneof the hardest undertakings an organization can go through.The businesses of the future who think demand fulfillment firstwill find a new world of opportunities opening up to them. Itopens the road to creative and innovative ways to engagebuyers in helping them to have their demands fulfilled.Developing fulfillment models that no longer force buyers intothe tired framework of push and generation – a framework thatstill exists and cannot be disguised with the label of contentmarketing or the technologies of social business. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 27
  28. 28. Think Buyer Network vs. Buyer © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  29. 29. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksAs many B2B organizations know, when dealing with complexselling situations, identifying the influences on buyingprocesses and the purchase decision is often the most difficultchallenge faced by marketing and sales teams. This is doubly soas we enter a new world order of business models alteredsignificantly by the convergence of the Internet and the SocialAge. The traditional views of how business is conducted andthe buyer-seller relationship operating in a vacuum are runningout of steam.A key trend that is altering the landscape of conventionalbuyer-seller models is buyers are developing complex networksthat engage in collaboration whereby decisions are not made inisolation. The buyer network acts as a collective form ofcollaboration with each node of the network directlyinfluencing purchase decisions. In addition, the buyer networkis expanding. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 29
  30. 30. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksExternal collaborators such as partners, suppliers, communities,and valued customers are participating in the buyer networkwith direct influence on decisions. This emerging developmentmakes each “node” not only an influencer but an activateparticipant in the purchase decision. While there still may bean ultimate buyer, the buyer is guiding each node of the buyernetwork in collaborating on meeting financial, technical,strategic, and productivity goals. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 30
  31. 31. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksMy work in originating buyer persona development led me tocollaborate with three Fortune 100 companies on developing aBuyer Persona Ecosystem™ view of buyers. This is now evolvinginto what I call a Buyer Persona Network™ view. Understandingan ecosystem is the foundation for understanding how a buyernetwork is formed and how it behaves. One element we’vecome to learn is that a singular view of a buyer today iswoefully inadequate in complex B2B marketplaces. Let meecho a recent interview with a head of sales for a large ITservice provider: “We had an opportunity with an existing customer where we knew they had about an $18m spend annually on our type of services. For the past two years we’ve been only getting about $2m of that spend. What we learned recently is that one of their key partners considered our services to be inferior. We had no idea and it really put us behind the eight ball.” © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 31
  32. 32. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksWhat Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s do?The implications that results from the emergence of buyernetworks are no doubt enormous. They will shake the veryfoundation of our existing thinking on how buying getsconducted and how decisions are made. Today’s C-Suite willneed to adjust their own views of existing customers andprospective buyers. The power of “group think” really doesbegin with the kool-aid organizations drink. If you are drinking asingle view of a buyer and the mantra of pushing harder, thenthe organization will eventually pass out from this toxic mix.The modern C-Suite must enable an organization’s fundamentalunderstanding of emerging buyer networks and adaptingoperations such as marketing and sales to account for thisemergence. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 32
  33. 33. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksA place to start is to improve the organization’s insight as wellas intelligence in two distinct areas: •Identifying relevant buyer networks for their existing customers and prospective buyers •Identifying how different scenarios impacts a buyer network and how the weighted degree of influence changes © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 33
  34. 34. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksFor CMO’s and CSO’s in particular, working together ondeveloping the mix of conversation and interaction that meetsthe goals of the buyer networks relevant to their industry iscrucial to longevity. Buyer networks will continue to expandand grow. Not having a deep understanding of the tools usedby relevant buyer networks, how buyer networks interacts, andthe desired outcomes of buyer networks will in essence causetheir own efforts of pushing harder to hit a brick wall. Longheld perceptions about buyers and the role of influencers willbegin to fade away as buyer networks and collectivecollaboration on buying and purchase decisions emerge.The FutureIn the future, the relationship between selling organizationsand buyer networks will begin to look and relate differentlythan the buyer-seller relationship of the past. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 34
  35. 35. 4. Buyer Trend: More Complex NetworksThe buyer of the future will have a different set of skills to goalong with a new mindset of collaboration. The connectedbuyer of the future will help to guide this new form ofcollaboration in ways that will no doubt change rapidly as newtechnologies are introduced. Engaging with such newtechnologies that enable collaboration amongst organizationsand reshaping our thinking on existing models of businessrelationships.One way for organizations to stay on top of this emerging trendis to earn a very special privilege. That privilege being to earnthe right to be a participating member, or node, of relevantbuyer networks. Whether it is as a supplier, partner, or even acustomer themselves – there is much to learn in this new formof collective and connected collaboration. Are you ready tostart learning? © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 35
  36. 36. Think Buyer Decision Model vs. Buyer Journey © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  37. 37. 5. Buyer Trend: Decision Models Are ChangingDecision-making in business is undergoing its most significantchanges in modern business history. For decades, businessdecisions were almost exclusively hierarchical. The convergenceof the Internet and Social Interactions has produced amovement towards flattening models of decision-making. Thisis enabling more participants and more involvement indecisions that affect organizations. Buying decisions are notexcluded from this profound movement.The previous trend explored, Buyer Network, provided the firstclue of how buyers are establishing networks for co-creation aswell as co-deciding. In essence, new enabling technologies andthe flattening of organizational decision-making are allowingmembers of buyer networks to have more “say” in purchasedecisions. This is drastically changing buyer decision models. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 37
  38. 38. 5. Buyer Trend: Decision Models Are ChangingThere are four elements of buyer decision models that arebeing altered as a result: Context: new contextual scenarios are emerging in the modern business era that affects decision-making in general business – including purchase decisions. Business as usual no longer exists and buying as usual no longer exists as well. Goals: buyer goals have become more elastic and buyers are considering more input and alternatives to overcoming obstacles to achieve goals. Additionally, what we are seeing is more interdependencies, made evident by expanding buyer networks, on achieving goals. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 38
  39. 39. 5. Buyer Trend: Decision Models Are Changing Process: the buying process, or the more recent trendy description of buyer’s journey, is undergoing change as well. Well documented over the past two years is how buyers are typically up to 70% into their buying processes before encountering direct sales interaction. This means that stages of the buying processes are not as clear as they once seemed and that the standard textbook views of buying processes or the buyer journey needs reviewing. External: the global marketplace as well as the global economy is proving to be a disruptive force in buyer decision models. This is resulting in a more careful examination and scrutiny of decisions on an organizational level. The affects of higher degrees of uncertainty, risks, shifting markets, and changing buyer behaviors are becoming long-lasting. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 39
  40. 40. 5. Buyer Trend: Decision Models Are ChangingWhat is clear today is that these four metamorphosingelements are directly impacting the how and why of buyerdecision models in ways unimaginable just a decade ago. Theseelements also have a direct impact on buyer behavior withrespect to purchase decisions.What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?The C-Suite of today can begin to gather business insight intochanging decision models of organizations and consequentlybuyer decision models. Using explored business insight toexpand their sphere of understanding beyond that of just thebuying process or buyer journey. The general pattern fordecades has been to view the buying process or the buyerjourney linearly or from a circumference viewpoint thatappeared symmetrical. The reality today is that buyer decisionmodels may have appearances akin to disparate networks andat times be very asymmetrical. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 40
  41. 41. 5. Buyer Trend: Decision Models Are ChangingThis development is creating the need to understand how toconnect these disparate networks of decision-making. C-Suitesmay find this occurring in their own organizations and canbegin assessing how this is plays out in the markets they serve.In a recent qualitative study I was fortunate to be a part of for aFortune 100 organization; four specific vertical markets werelooked at. What business insight uncovered were four distinctbuyer decision models for each of the vertical markets studied.While the buying processes or buyer journeys hadconsistencies across each of the vertical markets - with variousstages being omitted by each, the models for decision-makingwere distinctly different. This led to senior members of theorganization to focus marketing and selling efforts moreproportionately on buyer decision models as opposed to astrict buying process orientation. This also meant shiftingresources vertically as well as redesigning their conversationswith existing customers and prospective buyers. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 41
  42. 42. 5. Buyer Trend: Decision Models Are ChangingWhat CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s can begin to ascertain is howbuyers are making decisions (i.e. their buying processes) – whatis even more important in today’s business climate is tounderstand why buyer decision models are transforming and toadapt accordingly.The FutureFuture trending suggests that buyer decision models willbecome more complex. While the technologies of socialbusiness and Enterprise 2.0 enable more flattened decision-making, they also create more complex buyer decision models.Subsequently then, more complex buying processes or buyerjourneys emerge as an element of transformed buyer decisionmodels. The C-Suite and organization of the future will need tobecome adept at understanding, through business insight, howpurchase decisions are part of – as well as adhere to - newlyforming organizational models of decision-making. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 42
  43. 43. Think Intelligent Content vs. Content Mapping © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  44. 44. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceA growing need for existing customers and prospective buyerstoday is that of furthering their intelligence on how to tackleproblems, meet challenges, and accomplish goals. While manymay have college degrees or M.B.A.’s today, nothing hasprepared them for the avalanche of rapid changes, tumultuouseconomic conditions on a global scale, and technologicaladvancements on a scale never seen before. These global,economic, technological, and market conditions are changingthe very nature of how people search and what they learn.Knowledge and Intelligence Search is becoming moreprominent.The growing surge of content as a strategy and a marketingtactic has resulted in the unintended consequences of contentproliferation and a burden on the part of buyers to sortthrough a continuous stream of messaging in various forms. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 44
  45. 45. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceMessaging has been the dominant practice of marketing as wellas sales for decades and despite the new label of contentmarketing - continues unabated. It is a habit that does not fadeeasily. Push messaging is clearly still happening throughcontent marketing as one buyer interviewed suggested: “The amount of incoming emails and information nowadays is just too much. There is just not enough time in the day to go through everything. And frankly, it still amounts to marketing promotions that I just don’t need. Way too busy for that!”Contributing to this issue is the focus that’s been placed oncontent mapping. The idea of mapping content to the buyingprocess or the trendy name of buyer’s journey has someinherent built-in problems. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 45
  46. 46. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceFirst, it suggests we presume to know exactly how buyersnavigate decision-making through the prism of just the buyingprocess. As mentioned previously on buyer decision models –not only are decision models changing but so are processes.Buyer decision processes do not come in generic form.Second, mapping to the generic buying process has actuallyresulted in a constant stream of content that leave buyersgasping for air on intake. This is true when content marketingand mapping are viewed in the context of sending out moremessaging - with the presumption that they are relevant.Thirdly, there are in-house attempts as well as B2B marketingconsultants who offer misguided knowledge of buyer personasas targeted profiles. This very notion embeds push messaginginto plans that are created on the premise of content mappingto buyer personas. In many ways this misguidance isexacerbating the problem of content proliferation. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 46
  47. 47. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceWhat is happening when buyers find you? While labeledcontent marketing, the actual information amounts todisguised push messaging and does nothing to further theintelligence that existing customers and prospective buyersseek. Let’s hear from another interviewed buyer: “Some of the sites I’ve visited can be annoying. What I mean is that I feel like I have to get through so much clutter and steps to even see if the information I am looking for is going to help me.”Are your inbound efforts filled with clutter? Do they preventbuyers from finding the information they need that furtherstheir intelligence? © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 47
  48. 48. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceWhat Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?These inherent problems however does not devalue mappingto being non-usable. Mapping has value if performed in adifferent context. That context relates to understanding as wellas modeling the intelligence that existing customers andprospective buyers seek. The C-Suite of today can begin tospearhead efforts that are designed to not only model theintelligence sought but how intelligence found navigatesthrough buyer decision models.The modern C-Suite of today must guide efforts to acquiredeep business insights into how companies approachchallenges and specific goals. Gaining insight into why theymatter and why certain decision models are used over others.The business insights leading to offering Intelligent Content thatsupports buyer decision models as opposed to outmoded viewsof mapping push messaging to generic buying processes. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 48
  49. 49. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceThere comes a new responsibility with this approach for C-Suiteteams. That responsibility relates to accepting the role ofoffering learning opportunities that contributes to furtheringbuyer’s intelligence on how to tackle issues. What C-Suiteteams can and must achieve is establishing capabilities andservices that invite buyers into a learning experience. As onesenior executive interviewed put it: “We are confronted with new situations every month. Situations we’ve not encountered before. When working with a supplier for example, we want to be able to learn something about how to handle these new situations.”The FutureIn the future, organizations will take on some resemblance toongoing education. They will offer unique learning experiencesto existing customers and prospective buyers. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 49
  50. 50. 6. Buyer Trend: Seeking Further IntelligenceTo do so, more emphasis will be placed on gaining deepbusiness insights that is focused on how to model intelligenceas well as learning that address challenges, issues, and goals.Intelligent Content will become an irreplaceable aspect ofbuilding trusted relationships with buyers.The focus on content as a strategy and as a marketing tactic willcontinue to undoubtedly grow. However, the future of contentstrategy and content marketing will hinge on adapting to thegrowing need for intelligence on the part of buyers. Does yourexisting content strategy translate into an intelligent learningexperience? © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 50
  51. 51. Think Value-Based vs. Needs-Based © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  52. 52. 7. Buyer Trend: Changing ValuesProduct centricity has been the driving force behind marketingand sales for decades and practically all of the 20th century. Aswe entered into the 21st century, roots were planted that havecreated a shift towards customer centricity centered aroundinitiatives such as customer experience, customer focus, voiceof the customer, and numerous other phrases that describecustomer centricity. However, this shift continues to occur at aslow pace in the B2B marketplace and many B2B organizationshave product centricity wired into their organizational DNA.Product centricity causes selling organizations to not only focuson the merits of their product but also to have prescribedviews of existing customer and prospective buyer needs.Products, in general, are designed and produced to fulfillneeds. This thinking has spawned the functions of productmanagement and product marketing – all designed to fulfillneeds. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 52
  53. 53. 7. Buyer Trend: Changing ValuesTo be sure, products must fulfill needs. A key buyer trend thatis occurring is that buyer values are changing rapidly whilebuyer needs have more constancy. This trend, along with theintroduction of new values spurred on by the convergence ofthe Internet and the Social Age, is having a drastic affect onbuyer decision-making.Needs-based thinking, as the dominant driver, has been a focalpoint for marketing and sales for a few decades. Efforts tocorrelate products with needs that relate to fulfilling tasks or anobjective that buyers undertake permeate much of marketingand sales. The focus on identifying what buyers use as criteriafor decision-making still relate heavily on a product’sperformance ability to fulfill a task or reach an objective. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 53
  54. 54. 7. Buyer Trend: Changing ValuesWhat is not so surprising is that buyer needs and objectiveshaving a high degree of constancy built-in. For example, aconstant need or objective is to grow revenue. While themetric may change yearly, say from 2% to 5%, the need orobjective remains constant. Another example related to tasks isa product fulfilling the need of ease of use. I doubt we wouldever hear a buyer change that criterion to harder to use.The impact of the changing world related to the Internet, socialtechnologies, global economic uncertainty, and shiftingmarketplaces is having a direct impact on buyer values as theyrelate to buyer goals. These values extend far beyond decisioncriterion based on needs related to tasks and objectives. Valuescorrelate strongly to buyer goals and thus have a big impact onwhy buyers are making organizational as well as purchasedecisions. Buyers desire more reflection of their values inproducts or services. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 54
  55. 55. 7. Buyer Trend: Changing ValuesOftentimes, these are difficult to ascertain and for buyers toarticulate clearly. But be sure – they are there. A simplifiedexample can be that a high-tech organization has a valuerelated to being “green” and environmentally friendly. How thisvalue gets articulated and expressed may change significantlyyear-to-year and even be supplanted by another value due to aglobal event – while needs such as ease of use and revenuegrowth will remain constant.What Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?C-Suite leaders today can play a role is shifting organizationalthinking from solely needs-based to that of value-basedthinking. The leaders of today will need to work in concert toput into place efforts that not only focus on creating value butplaces a premium on keeping a pulse on the changing values onthe part of buyers. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 55
  56. 56. 7. Buyer Trend: Changing ValuesWhile needs will have more constancy, individual andorganizational values will be more transitory and influenced byinternal as well as external factors. This means organizationswill need to consistently engage buyers qualitatively tounderstand how values are shifting. Doing so will be no easyfeat since buyers characteristically have difficulty in clearlyarticulating values and goals – oftentimes they are couched inthe unarticulated world of thought.This difficulty places an imperative on organizations to invest inas well as establish a foundational understanding of theirbuyer’s values. Including such efforts as learning how thesevalues are being modified as well as how they are affectingdecisions. Grounded in informed qualitative business insightson values, the modern C-Suite can take a “Value Leadership”role in helping existing customers and prospective buyers toarticulate as well as define values more clearly and turn theminto actionable strategies. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 56
  57. 57. 7. Buyer Trend: Changing ValuesThe FutureBuyers in the future may very well adopt a commoditized viewthemselves of needs and objectives. Establishing expectationsthat require selling organizations to be well aware of whatthese needs are well before any direct relationship. Thedominant driver affecting purchase decisions will be transitoryvalues that change over time significantly. What we can expectis that new world events, social technologies, marketconditions, and buyer behaviors will not only alter values butalter the way business is conducted in the future.Key questions to ponder for the future are: What is yourorganization doing today to shift from only needs-basedthinking to that of incorporating value-based thinking? Do youknow your buyer’s values and can you help them to articulatemore clearly? Are buyer values reflected in your products,services, marketing, and selling efforts? © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 57
  58. 58. Think Humanize the Buyer Experience © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved.
  59. 59. Summary: Humanize The Buyer ExperienceThe concept of Experience in business has undergone a rollercoaster ride during the past ten to fifteen years since it was firstintroduced. Both the terms customer experience and buyerexperience taking on different meanings in this time period. Forbuyers in general, there has been a slow but progressingconvergence of desiring B2C like experiences in B2B marketworlds. Without question, the rise of the Internet and SocialTechnologies has shaped and reshaped our concept ofExperience in general. I believe we are at a pivotal moment inbusiness history with respect to buyer behavior andexperience.This pivotal moment is centered on the idea that buyers desirehuman experiences in the business world and see experienceas a two-sided coin. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 59
  60. 60. Summary: Humanize The Buyer ExperienceThe two key principles of experience in the modern Social Ageare: Contextual: the overriding foundation of customer and buyer experience is engaging existing customers and prospective buyers in relevant contextual experiences – whether they are in social mediums, conversations, or interactions. Learning: rising as an essential component of experience in business is the growing expectations on the part of buyers that undergoing an experience also mean they will learn from the experience. Knowledge and practical intelligence will be gained by entering into the experience.Buyers today are redefining the meaning of businessexperience. Consequently, integrating their business experienceinto how buyers are reshaping their human experience. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 60
  61. 61. Summary: Humanize The Buyer ExperienceBuyers not only want to “feel good” about the businessexperiences they undergo, but now also have a higherexpectations they will take away knowledge they did not havebefore.The seven buyer trends presented in this book point to what Icall The Buyer Circle of Experience. As they reshape theirdefinition of what a business experience means and integrate itinto their human experience, buyers are expanding their circleof experience in a business context. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 61
  62. 62. Summary: Humanize The Buyer ExperienceThis Buyer Circle of Experience consist of desired humanizedbuyer experiences stated as: •To undergo rewarding and fulfilling experiences •To be understood qualitatively – in human terms and not data terms •To enable their quest to fulfill knowledge needed; not be seen as object for demand generation •To enhance collaborative experiences with expanding buyer networks •To be enabled to make informed decisions that align with organizational decision models versus generic buying process views •To grow their intelligence and in essence grow their knowledge and practical wisdom in their respective areas and beyond •To foster the ability to meet shared corporate values, in addition to needs, as part of the business experience © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 62
  63. 63. Summary: Humanize The Buyer ExperienceWhat Must CEO’s, CMO’s, and CSO’s Do?A place for C-Suite leaders to start is to rethink their ownconcept of what experience – customer and buyer experience –means in today’s Social Age. Guiding the organization to adopta two dimensional view of experience – contextual andlearning – as opposed to one dimensional views. It will takehard work and deep customer and buyer understanding to turnB2B business engagement into humanized social experiences.This becomes a new imperative for the C-Suite. Undergoingthink shift - viewing every interaction as one that must becomean engaging and fulfilling experience and represent a learningexperience for existing customers and prospective buyers.The implications affect every area of businesses – talent,training, functions, technologies, operations, marketing, andsales. It will test the resolve and capabilities of businessleadership as we know it today. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 63
  64. 64. Summary: Humanize The Buyer ExperienceThe FutureIn the future, buyer expectations for experiences that engagethem contextually and provide learning opportunities will grow.The open systems of new social technologies fueling the rise inhumanizing the buyer experience. Buyers will be looking tointegrate their business experience into their personal humanexperience.As the millennial grows into leadership, we will seemetamorphoses take place around the concept of business,organization, leadership, and shared values. This will drasticallyaffect our notions of what is thought of as a businessexperience. We may very well begin to see a narrowing gapbetween the business experience and the human experiencehappen sooner than we think. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 64
  65. 65. About Tony Zambito Tony is the originator of buyer persona research and creation. Today, Tony is breaking new ground in establishing Buyerology℠ as the new science of understanding buyer behaviors and choices to make better informed decisions. A seasoned corporate senior executive with Fortune 100 firms and now entrepreneur since founding Goal Centric in 2002, Tony offers the rare combination of both executive experience and unique buyer insight approaches. He is the author of his widely read blog Buyerology Now Contact: and keynote speaker on the topic of how changing buyer behaviors are impacting business today. Tony has helped Fortune 100 such as FedEx, HP, and Reed Elsevier to make informed decisions using Twitter: @tonyzambito buyer personas, buyer insight, and business buyergraphics. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing. LinkedIn: Tony Zambito Tony and his wife Cindy with their two daughters returned to the east Blog: Buyerology Now coast after nearly a dozen years living through the boom and bust of Silicon Valley. He is an avid jazz fan as well as jazz percussionist and youWeb: just may catch Tony playing with his band My Cousin Tone’ somewhere on the east coast. © 2011 Buyerology, All Rights Reserved. 65