Understanding Buyer Priorities and Goals in an Uncertain and Chaotic World


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The Age of UncertaintyImage via Wikipedia

We are living in a world that is fraught with uncertainty. The degree of uncertainty for businesses today probably is at the highest level in decades. Resulting in a chaotic world for sellers and buyers looking to make sense of what the future may hold.

This high degree of uncertainty and chaotic environment is showing up in many forms for both buyers and sellers. Whether it is sellers suffering from significant skill gaps as recently pointed out in surveys completed by DemandGen Report and Sirius Decisions or buyers in recent compiled reports indicating lack of knowledge and information that helps them to make purchasing decisions – uncertainty and chaos reigns at the moment. This perfect storm of uncertainty and chaos making the ability of marketer’s to communicate with buyers extremely challenging and causing sales organizations to struggle in being relevant to the buying process. So how does an organization get a hold of itself in such times?

Adaptation Begets Patterns

Organizations and buyers are highly adptable albeit some adapt quicker while others lag. Oftentimes, those who do lag are left off the train with some just barely grabbing a hold of the last caboose that is pulling way. When adaptation in industries and markets occur, patterns begin to emerge as we have seen during the past three years – such as in how buyers search for information. A key to being relevant to buyers is an organization’s willingness to invest in staying abreast of patterns and then adjusting. This is much easier said than done. Buyer behavior patterns can be tricky indeed for it can be like shifting sand on a beach that on the surface looks flat but the moment a disturbance occurs – a crater is revealed. Caught unaware of the underlying shifts in buyer as well as market behaviors, an organization can find itself falling into a crater that could be difficult to climb out of.

Buyer Behavior Research and Analysis

Previously I have written about the use of multiple qualitative approaches that relates to Buyerology© and the understanding of buyer behaviors. Investing in a collective use of qualitative approaches, which I called Buyerography recently, helps organizations to get the deep insights needed to be relevant to buyers. They offer a window into identifying emerging patterns that provides nimbleness in terms of responding to the shifts in buying behaviors and processes. Buyer behavior research and analysis is becoming an important means for organizations to recognize emerging patterns on the part of buyers and buying organizations. Understanding buyer behavior is a qualitative social science in particular thus an overemphasis on quantitative analysis will make it difficult to reveal the underlying patterns that are emerging. Quantitative tells organizations plenty about what and who whereas qualitative efforts in buyer behavior research can reveal much about why and how – important to understanding the story behind buying decisions.

Bringing Order To Uncertainty And Chaos

Once patterns can be discovered, bringing order to chaos and uncertainty lays in understanding buyer priorities and goals. An essential point and the reason buyer behavior research is a primer for this understanding is that buyers themselves are dealing with a high degree of uncertainty and chaos. They are having their own degree of difficulty in clearly being able to express priorities and goals in precise ways. Given that premise, then organizations must develop a means for identifying patterns as well as being able to interpret patterns into an actionable understanding of buyer priorities and goals.

The path to gaining a deep understanding of buyer priorities and goals is through buyer behavior research and analysis. The high degree of uncertainty and chaos in today’s marketplaces makes a presumed understanding one that can be filled with many craters. Craters that can be littered with failed product launches, content marketing efforts, demand generation initiatives, and a smoldering fire of bad reputation.

Is it time for organizations to take a hard look at their efforts in understanding emerging buyer behavior patterns and how they reveal why and how buyers are making purchasing decisions today? I know my answer – what is yours?

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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