Eyes on the Buyer


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Major League Baseball player Joe Morgan of the...Major League Baseball player Joe Morgan of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently listened to an interview with Joe Morgan, the great former Cincinnati Reds slugger talk about his days as a baseball player. Most revealing was how he talked about studying films of pitchers. He was looking for insight into how a pitcher prepares to deliver a pitch. Depending on what he learned, he would adjust his swing and stance.

What amazed me about Joe Morgan’s story was how he could see, in the pitcher’s wind up, where the fingers were on the baseball. He could tell by how the seams were positioned and how the baseball rotated out of the pitcher’s hands, what pitch it was. Based on that insight, he would know if he was going to try for a home run or aim for a hit.

Similarly, marketers today need to have keen buyer insight into today’s markets and buyers. Without it, precious dollars can disappear into the catcher’s mitt of campaigns and initiatives gone awry.

When it comes to buyer insight, it does not always have to be a home run. One of the pitfalls I see is this: expectations of finding one profound ah-ha insight, which will change the world.

Insights Avoid Three Strikes

Buyer insights can be subtle hints. Often, the case is insights are not vocalized. It takes a level of expertise to figure out meaning from data collected during qualitative interviewing of buyers. Let us look at three areas where this can be the case:

  1. Revenues Falling Short: When revenues are supposed to be growing and they are not. Analytical data is not giving the clue you hope. Querying the sales organization leaves you with more questions. Qualitative buyer insight can give you the how and the why. You might not always like the answer but it is better to know than not to know.
  2. Validating an Idea: Ideas are introduced all the time. Some turn out good and some turn out to be duds. Buyer insights can minimize the duds. Before committing significant dollars, validate ideas with buyers.
  3. Buyer Behavior Changes: We are often kept up at night thinking about what we do not know. To get good sleep, buyer insight gathering needs to be an ongoing effort. Done consistently enough, one day there just may be that grand slam home run “ah ha” moment that is a game changer.

As in baseball, insights need not always be of the home-run variety. Consistency is essential. Insights are the accumulation of many at bats with buyers. Just as the game slows down for a veteran player, the market of buyers slows down with insights.

Giving us the chance to see what we did not see before.

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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