What You Need to Know About Online Buyers

Updated: 30 November 2018
What You Need to Know About Online Buyers

Understanding Buyer 2.0 Will Help You Create Successful Marketing Strategies

A key feature of marketing is the use of models to understand the buying process – “Sales Funnel”, “Consumer Decision Journey”, “SMART” – they’re everywhere. We do this so we can understand people’s behaviour and guide them to our product. The aim is to make a sale.

As the world changes, these marketing models evolve. One recent change is the move from, “Buyer 1.0” to “Buyer 2.0”.  The terminology reflects a wider shift in global internet usage and the birth of Web 2.0.

From a marketer’s perspective, the most important change with Web 2.0 is how people interact online. As web design became interactive, internet use became dynamic and the conversations now flow in all directions: customer to customer, business to business, business to customer, customer to business. It’s one giant melting pot of social interaction.

This is different from Web 1.0, where websites were static and conversations one-sided. Businesses could create marketing messages without criticism from customers – the public didn’t have a voice.

This change is important because it means customers are now involved in all aspects of PR and branding.  They are no longer the passive recipients of sales patter. Instead, they search for product information on their own. They look at different social media platforms, information sites, review sites, and they talk to previous and existing customers. They also talk about the products in these spaces too.

Businesses no longer have the monopoly to control their reputation. Today, reputation building is a collaborative project between business and customer. Marketers need to understand this if they want to create good digital marketing campaigns. They have to understand that it’s important to involve buyers in marketing strategies.

Enter Buyer 2.0.

Who Is Buyer 2.0?

As Web 2.0 emerged, so did Buyer 2.0. Buyer 2.0 is the modern internet user looking to make purchases online. Compared to pre-internet/early-internet buyers, Buyer 2.0 is savvy and knows what they want.

In the past, we had a simplistic understanding of buyers. You just needed to push a few buttons and out popped their wallet. A few clever words and a hook and you could get them to buy anything.

Buyer 2.0 lives in the consumer-centred world. They are awake to old-fashioned sales techniques and don’t trust them. They don’t trust salespeople, corporations, or marketing. Therefore, they don’t rely on the sales pitch to make up their mind. They use the internet to research products themselves. They look for third-party opinions, product reviews, and advice from trustworthy places (e.g. Which?).

The old-fashioned sales pitch is dead. It’s no longer your role to educate per se. Instead, they evaluate products and services themselves.

To conceptualise this, we can say that they are now entering the sales funnel at a much later stage than they used to and are cutting out part of the sales process for marketers: the research and evaluation stage. They still carry our research and evaluations, but they largely do this independently of the business selling the product.

How Should This Inform Your Digital Marketing Strategies?

If businesses want to succeed on Web 2.0, they need to evolve their sales strategy in line with the buyer.

By the time buyer 2.0 has knocked on your door (i.e. landed on your website or social media page), they have conducted their research and believe your product offers a potential solution.

Effectively, the only part of the sales pitch left is a few loose ends and the close. To tie up loose ends, you must understand what final pieces of information they’re looking for: why are they looking at your business? What do you need to say about your product to move them from prospect to sales? Do you need to provide details about risks, quality, full specification, etc.?

To discover their unresolved questions, businesses need to involve different departments in the sales process. There must be an open dialogue between the sales department, product development, and customer services.

Customer services and social media departments need to listen and engage with customers to learn how the product meets or fails expectations and what questions customers have at different stages of the sales process. By engaging in this type of interaction, businesses will understand how to fulfil their customers’ needs.

With content creation, the issue becomes giving the potential customer the information they need at the right time. You need to understand that, instead of giving them the classic sales pitch, you need to pre-empt their unanswered questions and create content that answers these questions.

In effect, you create content that addresses questions that are unanswered by the customer’s own research. It’s only after they have all the information that you can use traditional sales techniques to compel them to buy.

Take Away

To sell to Buyer 2.0, you need to create an open dialogue. Customer feedback, incentivising positive reviews, honest product descriptions, etc., become increasingly important as you create your marketing and digital content.

If you would like help creating a content marketing plan that can reach Buyer 2.0, get in touch today.

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