Designing a business strategy is not a piece of cake. It’s more like baking an ornate wedding cake with the help of your 4 year old. It’s messy. Really messy. And it goes from deciding to make a valuable business strategy to detailing your buyer types to actually implementing decisions according to the strategy.
From start to finish, the whole process is messy. Especially for those of you who are marketing managers or brand manager. Implementing the strategy, tactics and actions, using the right tone of voice, mix of channels, media, audiences, in the right order, in the best moments is messy. You have all this info and you have to take into account and use it wisely and decide when and where and how to use it.
Part of this huge process is understanding your buyer types and their particularities. But this is also messy and it can actually be even harder to understand, simplify and make actionable. Most of the clients I’ve talked to, worked with or consulted for over years had a s**t tone of data. Qualitative, quantitative, observational, digital or offline. If you can name it, most likely I’ve seen it.
Yet, a lot of clients struggle with clarity over the bigger picture. Tiny disclaimer here: allow me please to settle this — the client, for me, is the business that I work with, while the user / buyer is my client’s client.
Does any of it sound familiar?
If you’re a junior, probably not. But if you’ve worked in the communication / marketing department for 1-2 years, you’ve most likely experienced these:
- Awareness campaigns where you have to grow your brand, turn it into top of mind choice or increase predisposition to buy or recommend your brand or increase brand authority.
- If you work with a big brand, you have one or two (if you are lucky enough to have the budget) image campaigns per year where you want to emphasize your mission, values and the positives of your brand, not the product.
- Then you have product campaigns (launch, rebranding, redesign, promo etc).
- You also have some special campaigns and activations.
- And most definitely you have your sales campaigns (Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, 1st of March, 8th of March, Halloween, Black Friday, White Friday, Summer Friday, Back to school, Summer sales, Winter sales, End of season, Start of season, you name it).
- You work with the brand agency. Maybe you have a dedicated digital agency, production agency or BTL agency.
- You have your performance campaigns and SEO and content.
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, maybe even Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Once a year the research company brings you new data and instead of making things simpler, this makes it even harder to remain focused.
This is where clear, simple and easy to follow strategies and frameworks come in to save you from going nuts.
Buyer types — small bits for big games
I decided to start with the typologies of buyers because I think they are more important than most of us like to admit.
You already have our target in place, we all know we want to communicate with 18 to 60 y.o., average income, higher education, male and female. Like the many. “We have a mass product and we want to be appealing for everybody and communicate with all of them out there”. If you’ve worked for at least 6 months in advertising I guess you’ve already heard this once or twice. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned as a species over the centuries is that you can’t make everyone happy through one thing. There is no universal 1 thing that works for a mass of people. Because we are not the same. We come from different backgrounds, grew up in different environments, learned different things in school, read different books growing up and developed different behaviors and patterns of thinking.
OK, this sounds even more complicated than the first 3 paragraphs. What do we do with this? How do we simplify and transform it in something easy to handle?
There are two ways:
Exclude the secondary target and try to find some common characteristics that can bring you closer to the core audience, while trying to attract as many as possible from the secondary target
Split and group the target in clusters based on how they decide to buy and the way they decide what to buy. After that you design micro campaigns that reach out to them on the exact level they are in the buying decision funnel.
Buyer types — what kinds are there?
The beauty of our differences as humans is that we are not that different. And from this thought, we can split our target into typologies of consumers or buyer types. We don’t need to psychoanalyze each individual to see what makes him tick. We just have to figure out what behavior patterns they have in common with other individuals thus creating the clusters mentioned above. From here we can build our buyer types.
And here are some examples:
They kinda know what their need is, but they don’t know not exactly. They’re constantly looking for inspiration to see what their options are. Usually, they are the ones who browse inside the category back and forth, visit a lot of product pages and read a lot. They are curious and like to explore, but they are some of the most disloyal buyer types.
Explorers get frustrated fast if they don’t find enough information about what they are looking for or if the pictures are small and blurry. When they find something they like, they want it THEN. Not next week, not tomorrow. They want it right there and then.
The best strategies to communicate with them is to establish your presence across all social media, have big, colorful pictures and include storytelling in your blog posts.
One of the most powerful tactic is to send them event-based triggers, or promos that are perceived as very personal.
The planners know exactly what they need, what specs it should have, what budget it should fit in, when and where.
These buyer types are the ones most likely to use the search bar or go directly to the category page, filter, sort, scroll-scroll-scroll, click, read a bit and decide fast if they will search in other places (maybe to find a better price or some added value like free shipping or overnight shipping).
They get frustrated if the relevant information is hidden between piles of fluff and irrelevant things. Moreover, they get frustrated if they don’t find the product in stock or in the exact color they want.
The best strategy to use with is to be accessible and have an incredibly good user experience and customer experience. If you can make them love your brand, they become some of your most loyal buyer types.
And the best tactics are to understand his needs, send him relevant newsletters and generate content that is very specific and easy to access.
They are well informed, all over the place, always on top buyer types. They already know almost everything, and most definitely everybody.
Connectors buy a lot, this being viewed as a way of establishing status. Sharing is a critical component to their buying experience. They ask questions before purchasing. And after they buy they share their acquisition a lot. According to them, their shares helped at least one person take a better decision when they were struggling.
They get frustrated if they don’t find matching products or the pictures, content and the products are outdated. What gets them even more frustrated is when the brand doesn’t acknowledge their status.
In conclusion, the best strategy in this case is to be very personal and close to the community. Be personal, vulnerable and involved in their lives. Organize events and call them over.
They tend to put everybody’s interest ahead of their own. As a first choice, they will always go for familiar products, things that somebody has already bought or used. They tend to decide based on recommendations from people whom they see as authorities in their field.
Followers read a lot of blogs, forums, FB pages, groups, watch vlogs. They are always searching for opinions.
They get frustrated when the information is too ambiguous, when there are too many options and when they come across what they see as irrelevant product recommendations. Irrelevant is information that basically increase the complexity of product discovery.
The best strategy is to connect them to micro-brand ambassadors, KOLs and give them best product reviews and testimonials you can.
They very rarely pay full price for products and unfortunately they are very easy to get and even easier to lose. They have little to no brand loyalty and mostly search for products based on best price or discount available.
Unsurprisingly, they get frustrated very fast if the product they want is not on sale, if the prize or discount is expired or if the delivery is too expensive. And by delivery too expensive I mean is not free.
In addition, the opportunists shop both online and offline in order to find the best deal.
The best strategy for them is to create loyalty programs in which is easy for them to see profit or beneits.
Key tactics are to highlight the discount figures and use past data to recommend them products within their budget.