How Well Do You Know Your Buyer's Story?

How Well Do You Know Your Buyer's Story?

The importance of a good buyer's story

No matter how advanced your marketing automation system or CRM platform is, your brand needs to be able to tell a story that will attract the right caliber of customers towards your products and services. Everyone loves a good story. Good stories captivate us. We admire those who can as well as have the gift to tell stories verbally. Many of our prolific authors, writers, and screenwriters today have that innate ability to write a good story. 


Good stories also have a way of moving people, whether it is emotionally or to act upon the essence of the story told. These many aspects of good stories are exactly what companies today need to not only understand buyers, but to also enable both buyers and personnel to act for the greater good of each other. In turn, this can enhance customer loyalty, which can retain existing customers while successfully attracting new ones.

What are the essential elements of a good buyer's story?

Buyer personas

Buyer personas are often confused with customer or buyer profiles (which are already a key feature of leading CRM and marketing automation platforms). The analogy that comes to mind is that you can see an ad for a movie and see an actress cast in a role. You will know she is playing a certain role but you will not know the depth of the story unless you see the movie. The buyer persona methodology, not the profile, provides the critical storylines needed to craft a good story about the buyer and get to the depth of the buyer's story.

How can a buyer’s persona be crafted with the right methodology? This involves a combination of mapping engagement habits and purchase history to reveal key insights, preferably with big data and business intelligence. AI and machine learning can also be infused to make intelligent recommendations about possible future buyer activities, especially in reference to factors such as location changes, hobbies and even relationship status.

Supporting roles

Supporting roles in your buyer’s story are more important than one may think. This is the reason why top marketing automation vendors offer the ability to monitor what different demographics are most interested in, and automatically suggest the very same to members of that same demographic - either via email or digital advertising. 

Sometimes, supporting roles become more memorable than the lead actors or actresses themselves. Without them, the story can crumble without any meaning. In understanding the buyer's story, we need to identify the supporting roles that give meaning and understanding. We have given many labels to these supporting roles - whether they are influencer, decision-maker, user, and several others. 

The key though is that while these may be true, there may be other types of supporting roles we have no clue about unless we flush out the story at its fullest depth. For instance, a buyer’s friend or spouse may offer recommendations about a product or service, thereby engaging in word-of-mouth marketing. Identifying who may play supporting roles in your buyer’s life depends on what you’re selling, what your target audience is, and who they are surrounded by in general. Being able to crack this code may take a while, but it will certainly pay off in the long run, as your brand will be better poised to offer a customer-centric experience.

Beginning, middle, and an end

Well written stories as well as screenplays give us the ability to look back and see how a story develops. Oftentimes, when either finishing a book or leaving a movie, we can't wait to tell someone about the story we just read or saw. What we think of in good stories is usually the beginning, the middle, and the end. Buyer stories can also have a means of helping us to understand how they experienced a journey that had a beginning, middle, and an end. 

By giving us the detail of who they interacted with, the story plot, and how they reached a conclusion to buy (or perhaps not to buy), a precise storyline can be the blueprint towards handling customers better overall - especially unhappy ones. Of course, like many good stories, we hope for sequels to continue with our buyer.

Buyer experience

Good stories help us gain an experiential understanding of the characters and the story plot. For some of us, we are easily moved to talk out loud when reading a story, cry at a movie, laugh loudly, and other expressions. Good buyer stories help us to get a deep sense of the experience the buyer may be having with us. 

Yes, they may cause us to smile, wince, and even cry. That's just it though. Understanding experiences are meant to evoke a response. If we understand the experience buyers are undergoing in their buyer story, we can respond with the means to alter the experience towards the positive, and therefore formulate a unique customer experience for every buyer.

Symbolism

Mulholland Drive by David Lynch may or may not be a movie that is liked (the consensus is quite split on this one), but it features a fair amount of thought-provoking intrigue - which is especially relevant in the context of a buyer’s story. Many confess that the movie is too confusing, and therefore too hard to eventually understand.  

However, clues are present in the movie’s very beginning, and missing these may make the movie feel more cryptic than it is. Likewise, buyer stories may often also have unarticulated and hidden meanings. Outside of your overall CX strategy, if you miss these subtle yet crucial clues (or just don't explore them further), understanding the full story of your buyer will be difficult.