Buyer’s Goal Orientation Make Decisions More Than a Matter of Choice


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When we are faced with choices, sometimes they can be gut wrenching.  There are choices we have to make that can be especially personal as well as heart breaking.  History has recorded good choices as well as bad choices throughout time.  Imagine that you are President Truman and you are faced with the choice of using the Atom Bomb to end the war against Japan.  President Truman must have been confronted with many sleepless nights as he wrestled with the fate of such a choice. 

Fortunately, in B2B marketing and sales, we do not have to make such choices on this level or order of magnitude.  Getting a glimpse into how buyers make choices though can make a difference in success or failure.  Gaining insight into how these choices are aligned with a buyer’s goal orientation becomes a marketing and selling imperative for high stakes business model shifts, strategies, and new initiatives.  In a B2C market, understanding persona goals and aligning strategies to help consumers accomplish their goals determines how a product or service is positioned. 

A simple example could be stereo equipment.  The motivations, needs, and want of a good sounding system can be similar for the home theatre enthusiast and the stereo equipment aficionado.  However, each will have a clear set of distinguishing goals as they attempt to make a choice on equipment.  Understanding each set of goals can clearly make a difference in how a product is positioned and where it is placed for distribution.  The home theatre enthusiast may find that Best Buy personnel and carried equipment will help to meet his or her goals whereas the aficionado might require a specialty shop with brands that are not carried by Best Buy to meet his or her goals. 

In the B2B marketing and sales strategy environment, the degree of complexity surrounding buyer’s goal orientation and choices is significantly higher.  The degree to which a B2B entity can analyze and determine buyer’s goal orientation can spell the difference in formulating successful customer strategies around buyer’s choices.  What makes this complex in the B2B marketing space is that saucy mix of three ingredients:

  • Identifying the buyer’s individual goals
  • Identifying the organizational goals
  • Identifying the market goals

And the blended saucy mix is the key.  They are not always clear and take some in-depth qualitative and experiential analysis to arrive at.  The correlation between choices and goal orientation has been established in both academia and in research.  What we are seeing is the application, through a goal-centered buyer persona approach over the last eight years, of gaining insight into buyer’s goal orientation to determine customer strategies related to B2B marketing, content marketing, demand generation, and innovation.

As we learn more about the advent of digital marketing and social media marketing, we will learn more about the impact on buyer’s goal orientation and the means and methods used to accomplish goals.  It is clear though that the status quo with respect to choices will undergo changes.  We can no longer be certain as to how buyers may make choices with such changes afoot and adjustments are made to goals by both individuals and organizations in a B2B context.  Developing internal competency in this area appears to be an important mandate for organizations in 2010 and over the next couple of years. 

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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