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Today’s Evolving Marketing Environment: Does the buyer's journey still apply?

May 23, 2016
Many marketers are scratching their heads and wondering if the days of the traditional pre-defined buyer's journey that everyone is commonly familiar with (Awareness, Consideration, Decision) are becoming a thing of the past. With technology evolving and the increased use of mobile devices and tablets, does traditional buyer’s journey still apply to the B2B world? 
 
In a recent TAO panel held at Urban Airship, leaders in the Portland tech marketing community weighed in on how they feel about the evolution of the buyer’s journey given today’s landscape. According to Janet Johnson, Partner at O’Johnson Partners, who has spent most of her career in B2B technology companies, purports:
 
“Marketing has changed more in the last five years than in the previous fifty.”
 
I think anyone who has a smartphone would agree. The way we communicate and interact has shifted with the evolution of technology. Though this doesn’t mean that the tradition funnel is going away, customer behavior is changing with the increase of accessibility to information (through mobile devices) and thus becoming more and more unpredictable for B2B marketers. The number of prospects working their way linearly through the sales funnel is shrinking and the new stochasticity in the marketplace is disruptive to nearly every marketer.
 
So it begs the question, how do we be good marketers and also be good listeners?
 
According to Julie Zisman, CMO at Little Bird, advocacy can be a strong amplifier when you are clear about what you are trying to accomplish. There are different types of advocacy and each has a unique benefit. For example, there is employee advocacy where employees were tweeting out company updates and blogs and it created a measurable lift in SEO. This is great for prospective and current employees, but how do we get our buyers to be advocates as well?
 
According to Bill Schneider, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at Urban Airship, if we listen for cues from our buyers, they will tell us what they want and help us keep pace with the evolving buyer’s journey.  As marketers evolve, we have to pay attention to our buyer’s behaviors and, most importantly, what content they are engaging with. This allows us to understand and create new data points to make informed decisions on what we deliver our prospects and how we nurture them through the sales process. 
 
As the buyer’s journey continues to evolve, we have to create measurable content that provides persuasive information to empower our buyers to self-educate.
 
Author: Ashley Hall, Partner Marketing Manager at iovation