In 2014 we talked about how important it is to understand the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase.

We call it the buyer’s journey, and Google calls it the customer journey. Each industry has a different path and the sales cycle can vary greatly depending on industry and purchase price for your product or service.

Google just updated their customer journey tool to reflect lessons learned from analyzing millions of consumer interactions with Google Analytics.

Buyers Journey Graphic

An example graph from Google’s tool-set.

A 2013 survey of B2B buyers revealed the following facts:

  • 72% of B2B buyers start their research for a future business purchase on Google
  • 82% go back online at least two or three times before seeking manager approval on a business purchase
  • 89% say the cost of the item they are researching affects the amount of research they do before purchase
  • 76% said that they prefer different content at each stage of their research process

Google’s data reveals that “display impressions tend to act at the beginning of the purchase path 33% of the time and in the middle 45%. They play a role at the end of the journey about 23% of the time.” Of course, they are trying to sell more ads, but the updated customer journey tool allows you to research “the numbers” for paid search (SEM) and display ads compared to email, organic search (SEO), and social media channels.

How can you demonstrate the value of your products and services at every stage of your buyer’s journey?

Start by developing or refining your buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of the different categories of people who are interested in your products or services.