What Is the Buyer’s Journey

What is the Buyer's Journey

The buyer’s journey, as the name implies, is the journey a buyer goes through before buying. In recent years, there have been a number of variations on this, but the main principles behind them remain the same — not everyone who interacts with your brand is at the same stage nor have the same problems.

It is a concept that explains the path that people typically go through before buying a product/service.

There are multiple variations of the buyer’s journey throughout the years. So, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on the most popular and simple one.

Before diving in, remember this: look at the buyer’s journey from the perspective of the buyer.

External to your organization.

It is what they go through from learning about you until they buy from you.

Not your sales process.

But about them.

A Simple Analogy to Understand the Buyer’s Journey

We’ve all been to at least one of the malls that are scattered throughout the country.

We’re all guilty of simply walking around, saw something that catches our attention, decided to go in that shop, ask some questions from the attendant, then ultimately buy it.

No need to be shy.

National Book Store. Typo. Landmark.

All these establishments (and many more) have taken my money over and over.

And that’s how the buyer’s journey works.

3 Phases of the Buyer’s Journey

First, you were minding your own business. Then, you saw something that caught your attention. You realized you want it. Even told yourself you need it.

You weren’t “thinking” about it. But that stimulus of seeing it made you aware you have a problem — no matter how trivial that is.

Next, you went inside the shop. You start making inquiries. You held the item. Rationalized that you need this.

You tried wearing it or using it.

Then you head on over to the counter to pay.

Remember this story as we break it down into the different components of the buyer’s journey.

Phase 1: Awareness

The awareness phase is when people know they have a problem/need/want but haven’t defined it yet.

It’s that craving at the back of your head. That feeling in your gut that something is off and want to know what it is. It’s the “aha” moment. It’s when you realize something isn’t working as it should and could be improved.

In the story above, the awareness phase starts by seeing that item. A postcard, notebook, blouse, poster. Really, anything. It might even be that cute dog video you were watching on your iPhone a few minutes ago.

This triggers an impulse in you that made you went inside the store.

Phase 2: Consideration

The consideration phase is when people defined their problem/need/want and are currently looking for options.

By now, you’re inside the store, casually browsing.

“I’m only window shopping,” you tell yourself.

But deep down you already know that if you find something you like, you’re going to ask a lot of questions about it. You’d think about where you’ll use it for. You’d argue with yourself that you need this. That it really doesn’t cost that much. That it won’t break your budget.

And that’s what you exactly did.

Phase 3: Decision

The decision phase is when people narrowed down their options to a few and is doing their due diligence before buying.

Here, you are thinking of whether or not you’ll regret this “purchase” later on. You’ve narrowed down your options into 1 or 2 things. Now, you’re asking questions like price, warranties, and return policies. You’re now thinking if it will really fit into how you do things.

“Will this new blouse go with my shoes?”

“Can I try this on?”

“Does this laptop have a better value for money than this one?”

“Can you demo it for me?”

These down-the-line questions are the things you ask yourself when you’re holding the product and ready to buy.

Final Thoughts on the Buyer’s Journey

Let’s recap what you have learned so far.

First, we went through the concept of the buyer’s journey by going through an example most, if not all, of us, experienced. Next, we looked at this experience and mapped it into the buyer’s journey.

In this section, I’ll be sharing two final thoughts on the buyer’s journey.

  1. Not everyone who interacts with your organization is at the same stage
  2. People go through the buyer’s journey at different speeds

1. Not everyone who interacts with your organization is at the same stage.

Have you ever walked into a store, went directly to the product you’re looking for, took it, head straight to the counter, and bought it?


Have you ever walked into a store, knowing you won’t buy anything, but simply browsing around — just window shopping?

I’m sure you’ve done this before. The same applies to your organization.

These two questions support the fact that people interact with you at different stages all the time.

For the first scenario, any attempt at talking is a nuance. It’s annoying. For the second scenario, you’d prefer someone there answering all your questions. And when they are not there, you get annoyed too.

How can you apply this?

When you look at the social media accounts of Philippine organizations, you’ll see them constantly selling. Probably around 95% of them sell 95% of the time.

It doesn’t work.

Especially if it’s the only type of content you have.

Promotional content — sales discounts, buy one get one offers, etc. — reside at the decision stage.

Most organizations place promotional messages throughout their entire website and post the same content on their social media. When this happens, you are alienating a vast majority of people. Remember that people don’t go online just to buy. They use it to learn, educate themselves, and research.

The best approach here is to create content that caters to the different stages of the buyer’s journey. A good ratio of content will look like this:

  • Awareness: 50%
  • Consideration: 30%
  • Decision: 20%

Also, if you’re a fan of the Pareto principle, the awareness and consideration — which can be grouped into educational content — is the 80%; while the selling part is the 20%.

2. People go through the buyer’s journey at different speeds

For most of us, the speed at which we go through the buyer’s journey depends primarily on the price.

For example, when we see something that we fancy at Typo, we often go through the buyer’s journey in a matter of minutes.

We realized we have a problem — i.e. “I don’t have this cute stuff.” Then, we started looking at available options. We compare this with other items we saw before in our minds. Then decide whether to buy it now or not.

But if the item we are looking to purchase is a new laptop, or a new bag, or a condo to buy, we often take longer.

In the early stages, we are looking for the best ones or the most popular ones. Then once we narrowed our choices down a few options, we start digging in deeper.

We evaluate them against certain criteria depending on our needs/wants at that moment.

Then, we decide and choose which one to purchase.

This process can take weeks or months from the moment we become aware until the moment we purchase.

How can you apply this?

Because you can’t control the speed at which people go through the buyer’s journey, there are only two things you can do:

1. Create a lead nurturing campaign across all channels, then supplement it with advertising

I’ll share an in-depth guide on how to do this in another post. It’s currently in drafts and in the process of proofreading.

The post is primarily about nurturing via email. But you can apply the same concept using advertising.

2. Repurpose your existing content

The other thing you can do is to repurpose your content (assuming you have the content tailored to the different stages of the buyer’s journey) into different formats.

  • Blog articles
  • Videos
  • PDFs
  • SlideShares
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts

These different types of content vary from one another. People learn differently and have their own preferences. For example, there are people who prefer videos, and some prefer reading. It’s also one of the reasons why I started creating video content.

They also perform best on different channels. As of this writing, Facebook puts a “premium” on video posts vs regular post updates with links to your articles.

But one of the things you have to consider is the buyer’s journey as well.

A video walk-through of your software won’t do well on Facebook despite what I said above. Why?

No one cares.

If you’re posting publicly or targeting random people who have never heard of you, people won’t care.

That example I just shared uses a decision stage content (a walkthrough of your product) targeting a broad audience that doesn’t know you (awareness stage).

To capture these people’s interests, use an awareness-type of video instead.

Pro Tip: You can apply the lead nurturing ads concept here. For example, if they requested a product demo or in the process of onboarding, you can use this segment of people as the audience in your ads. Then, you only show them these videos. This will be received well than randomly targeting that video to everybody.

So, what are you going to do now

The buying process is not linear. Buyers can jump from one phase to another. But this doesn’t mean that you should take this for granted. In fact, because you cannot control how people go through the buyer’s journey,

So, rather than perfecting and mastering all the different buyer’s journeys, all you need to worry about is mastering this one.

If you understand the main principles behind the buyer’s journey, you’ll realize that there are specific content types that are best for each phase. Map your existing content to the buyer’s journey to visualize which point you are lacking. Then, start creating content for that stage.

How are you using the buyer’s journey? Let me know in the comments below!

The Biggest Reason Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail

Why Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail

Have you ever watched or played a basketball game where all players want to get their hands on the ball and score?


What does this have to do with failed digital marketing campaigns? A lot really.

When everyone in the team wants to score, that team almost always lose. There is no teamwork. Unless they get their act together and work as a team, they won’t win.

This holds true for digital marketing campaigns too.

Have you ever ran a digital marketing campaign that didn’t bring in the results you expected it would?

You’re not alone.

Digital Marketing in 2020

Digital marketing is prevalent in today’s world. It’s growing very fast in the Philippines. In fact, a lot of big brands are shifting their strategies to digital because the old, traditional, and offline methods aren’t working.

Globe, Smart, Jollibee, McDonald’s and many more shifting their resources — both budget and manpower — to digital marketing.

Because of this shift, marketers like you now spend a lot of time planning digital marketing campaigns, coordinating with external agencies, working with multiple teams inside your own organization.

Then, you launch your campaign.

You monitor the reports as they come in. After a few days, you stare blankly at the charts. Cursing or hitting yourself in the head.

“Why aren’t the numbers coming in?”

“What did I do wrong?”

It’s at this point where two groups of marketers emerge: first, and the majority of Filipino marketers fall into this category, they go back to their bosses, share the results, and claim the market isn’t ready.

The objectives set were too high. It’s not feasible.

The second group, on the other hand, takes these numbers to their bosses, share the results, and some proposed solutions to meet the targets. This comes in many ways — more testing and gathering customer feedback, launching smaller scale campaigns to gather data, and using a phased approach.

After reading the previous section, you already where you should fall into. But, it’s always easier said than done…

That is until you learn a system…a process…a methodology.

Instead of doing things randomly, you have a series of steps to do and accomplish.

The Problem: Main Reason Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail

In the Philippines, the biggest reason digital marketing campaigns fail is the lack of a holistic approach.

Almost every campaign out there involves selling. Buy me now. Here’s a discount. Want a coupon code?

As a consumer, aren’t you getting sick of seeing these kinds of messages? I’m sure you are as well. So, why keep doing them?

The Solution: Funnel Method / Phased Approach

Remember the teamwork I mentioned at the start of this post? Keep that in mind as we go through this article.

The funnel method uses a holistic view for launching digital marketing campaigns. Most of the time, campaigns are launched with a revenue goal.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you must take note of the content and context of that campaign. This is where a lot of digital marketers in the Philippines fail.

Step 1: Review the 5 Stages of Awareness

If you read the stages of awareness, you’ll quickly realize that only a few people actually know your product. There are a whole lot more who are “experiencing problems” of what your product can solve. These people are in the problem aware and solution aware stages (vs the product aware).

If you’re like most marketers, you use your products in your ads (and other campaigns).

Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This only becomes a problem when you expect ALL your campaigns will bring in revenues.

The chart below shows the stages of awareness on the left and the marketing and sales funnel on the right.

Stages of Awareness Meets the Marketing and Sales Funnel

As a quick recap, here’s what they mean again:

5 Stages of Awareness

  • Stage 5 — Unaware
  • Stage 4 — Problem Aware
  • Stage 3 — Solution Aware
  • Stage 2 — Product Aware
  • Stage 1 — Most Aware

If you want to read more about this, I wrote about it thoroughly in a previous post.

Marketing and Sales Funnel

  • TOFU — Top-of-funnel
  • MOFU — Middle-of-funnel
  • BOFU — Bottom-of-funnel

What this chart tells you is that people at the top of your funnel (TOFU) are those who are unaware of your company or what you offer. They don’t even know they have a problem that you might be able to solve.

People in the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) are the ones who know they have a problem and is looking for alternative solutions. They may or may not know about your brand at this stage. In fact, they actually don’t care. All they want to know is if the solution you’re offering can help them.

Lastly, the people at the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) are the ones who have shortlisted their options. It’s at this point where they start looking at the other things like your brand story, history, other customer reviews.

To use the basketball analogy, the 5 stages of awareness represent the 5 roles on the court — point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. They all have their roles to play in the game.

Step 2: Map Your Existing Campaigns

Using this simple matrix, map your existing campaigns to where they are in the Awareness Stages. Or to make it simple, just create a regular table on your notebook right now and start filling it up.

Sample Content Mapping Template | Printer Friendly

If you’re like most marketers, your campaigns will look like this.

Sample Content Mapping for Philippine Companies

Be honest with yourself. This is a prerequisite.

You need to know where you are right now so you can make meaningful decisions.

Basketball reference: This is like a training camp for the team. Imagine meeting for each other for the first time. You don’t know how each other play. You want to know who plays what role, who can shoot, who can run fast, etc.

Step 3: Determine the Appropriate Content for Each Context

Now that you have an idea of which segments your existing campaigns fall under, it’s time for you to start thinking about the stages where your content is lacking.

At this step, you think about two things: content and context.

You don’t create a campaign targeting people who are unaware to directly purchase from you. That’s a complete waste of time and money. Imagine trying to sell standing desks to Uber/Grab drivers.

You might think that that’s ridiculous, but a lot of marketers do this every day.

Remember that your goal is to simply move them from one stage to another.

That’s it.

If they move 2 or 3 steps down, that’s a bonus.

Basketball reference: Here, the team makes some plays. Now they know how each other’s roles and how they play, it’s time to lay out some strategies for winning games.

Sample Content for Each Stage

In general, here’s a list of content that works best for each type of context. Of course, these might be different depending on your specific industry. But for 90% of digital marketers, this will suffice 90% of the time.

For example, your primary product is a power bank.

  • Unaware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to make people realize they have a problem/pain point (that you can solve) without mentioning your products
    • Videos — fun, light-topic videos. For example, 11 creative ways you can use powerbanks
    • Articles — listicles usually work great. For example, 3 Celebrities Share Their Most Favorite Travel Companion (with the powerbank as one of them)
  • Pain Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to educate them on alternatives/substitutes to get rid of their pain
    • Educational/How-to types of content shine here. For example, How to Make Your iPhone Last All Day; or Tips to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life; or Turning Off Bluetooth/Wifi Doesn’t Save Your Battery, Do This Instead.
      • One thing to note here is that you should not be biased to your own solution. When writing content for this, really explain the other options available. So apart from power banks, you share about charging cases, solar chargers, tips to extend battery life by dimming the brightness of your screen, etc.
      • Think of this as being helpful to the buyer. You’re giving him/her all the info they need. They will research about these things anyway, so why not give it to them instead, right? In the process, you become a trusted advisor.
    • The content here can also be turned into an infographic and video.
  • Solution Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to make them realize your company offers these products  and can benefit them the most among the other solutions out there
    • Comparison content between/among the other options works great here. For example, Power Banks vs Charging Cases.
    • Checklist/Quiz/Flowchart type of content also works great here. You can create a flowchart that has a title “How to Extend My Phone’s Battery Life.” Then the different solutions show up here like dim your screens, etc., then ultimately leading to getting a power bank if all else fails.
      • The one thing you need to keep in mind here is that you remain product/brand agnostic. You’re merely sharing more information that says your solution is best.
  • Product Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to educate them more about the product and its specs/details
    • Technical specifications, product information sheets, features list, warranties, etc. These are content specific to your product. If you’re selling 3 types of power banks, create content for each. Create a comparison among them as well.
      • One pro tip: use words/phrases that make sense. For example, 22,000 mAh might sound cool for those who are familiar. But it’s better if you phrase it to something like “Charges your iPhone X 8 times.”
  • Most Aware —> the goal for your campaign targeting these people is to get people to either buy from you or get them to be brand ambassadors
    • This is the stage where you’re most familiar with — this is the time where you offer those loyalty rewards, discounts, and everything else that you normally talk about your products.

If you noticed, for each stage of awareness, the main goal is to move your leads down to the next stage. If after your unaware campaign they decide to purchase from you, that’s great. But don’t expect everyone to be like that.

Step 4: Watch Your Numbers Meet Your Goals

Based on the previous steps, you’ll notice that a lot of campaigns you see out there sits at either stages 3 or 4. Marketers expect revenue goals from these campaigns. Don’t be one of them.

Again, it’s not wrong to assign revenue numbers. But that should not be the main goal if your campaign is to educate.

In basketball, not everyone’s role is to score. There are those who have key roles to play. In fact, one of the key statistics tracked in basketball is the assists.

For those who aren’t familiar, it’s when Player A makes a pass to Player B, then Player B scores immediately. Player A gets the assist.

Some coaches refer to assists as the ability to make other players look good. Sure, scoring — driving the revenues for your business — sounds sexier. But, basketball (and marketing) isn’t all about scoring. Great basketball players make their teammates look good as well. And that’s how it should be in marketing. Your campaigns should all work together.

So, what are you going to do next?

Use a holistic strategy in your digital marketing campaigns. Don’t rely on tactics to increase your revenues in the short-run. Rather, think of the bigger picture and how to make everything work together.

You’re the coach and the digital marketing campaigns are your players. Not every one of them will score and bring your revenues. When you start forming your team, you don’t choose based solely on their ability to shoot three’s. You choose different roles to account for the different scenarios you might face. You don’t run the same play every time. Depending on the situation, your plays have to change. You have to adapt.

Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments below!

What Is Segmentation

What is Segmentation

Segmentation is a process of dividing your email list into smaller groups based on certain criteria. Think of it as grouping people based on similarities or differences.

Have you ever received an email (or perhaps an SMS) that doesn’t feel quite right? Here are some indications of those:

  • It starts of with “Dear Mr./Ms….” or “for sale…”
  • The sender is unknown

I know I have. And I’m sure you are thinking of a company or someone in your head right now.

Others try to avoid this by dropping the honorifics or getting straight to the point. While that’s ok, it still doesn’t solve the main issue — the lack of relevant content.

Spam: a fact of life? Or not

A lot of Filipinos simply accept the fact that they can get bombarded with unsolicited emails, SMS, and other form of harassments. Sadly, we don’t have laws in the Philippines such as the CAN-SPAM act or the GDPR that can resolve this.

But that shouldn’t be the case. Even if there are no “laws” governing how these things go, professional marketers ought not to be doing these harassments.

Marketing today is all about helping the buyer get all the information they need so they make a decision to purchase (or not).

The underlying principle is to be helpful.

And the easiest way to do that is through segmentation.

Two Objectives of Segmentation

1) Relevance

There are two primary objectives of segmentation. First, you create these segments so that you can send the people in these segments relevant content.

For example, if you’re an organization that sells clothes. Would your entire email list be receptive on an email campaign about blouses? I don’t think so. It’s the women in your list that would be interested.

And the men? They’ll be annoyed. Some might even unsubscribe. Or worse, report your campaign as spam.

Segmentation helps you avoid this problem. It gives you a chance to create personalized and relevant content.

Just take a look at this eCommerce shop who didn’t bother segmenting their list — nor tried to get to know me.

img 3134

Take a look at the dates and the subject lines. Every day, this eCommerce shop offers a sale/discount. Sometimes, they send an email twice and it’s still about a promo.

Does this look familiar?

2) Insight

The next objective of segmentation is to give you data that you can analyze later on to gain insights on your audience. The earlier you start collecting data, the better your analysis will be.

For example, at the time of this writing, I ask the following question on my forms with these answers: “Which statement best describes you?”

  • Owns the business
  • Works in marketing
  • Plans to work in marketing

People who answer my forms are divided into these segments. For example, if I found out that 50% of my list are business owners (owns the business), I might create something special just for them. The same holds true for other segments.

You can use this to make effective decisions.

Bonus: Create Reports from the Data

You know the best part of this? You can create your own business reports that you can turn into a marketing offer.

Ever wonder how international organizations come up with “State of the ____ Reports” yearly? They all start with data collection and segmentation.

Then, they analyze the data they need, ask more questions if needed, visualize the data into charts, add some copy to explain them. Finally, they organize and compile this into a PDF.

They then use this as a marketing offer to generate more leads. They get to ask more questions, collect more data, and get better insights. Then they repeat the entire cycle again.

You can apply this to your organization as well starting today.

So, what are you going to do next

Every organization is different. There is no set list of segments that will fit for everybody. Some are necessary while some doesn’t make sense.

What matters is you start collecting now.