Buying Triggers and Why They Matter

As consumers, if we are not in an active buying cycle, we are in a passive buying cycle. Like it or not, in the course of our daily lives we are exposed to and consume so much information and content that buying something or acquiring something including experiences, goods, food or resources is always on our mind. However, certain trigger events (tangible or intangible barriers that when met or breached cause another event or action to occur) cause us to move from a passive buying cycle into an active one.

shutterstock_425667115In terms of B2B marketing, we know the buyer’s journey can be long and is often complex, involving many different buyers and typically buying committees from across an organization. Just as in our consumer lives, B2B buyers are either in a passive or active buying cycle. So how can marketers identify buying triggers for different buyers and why does it even matter?

Understanding the triggers
By understanding buyers inside and out, marketers can anticipate their buyer’s challenges and how they are likely to try and solve them. For example, if a new law is implemented, such as the Affordable Care Act, it will have a radical impact to the buying patterns of healthcare buyers. It is these triggers, among others, that may cause passive buyers to become active buyers.

External or internal triggers-
Knowing what external triggers impact buyers (CEO, VP of marketing, HR department, board members or Chief Privacy Officer) in the healthcare example above helps marketers develop insights into buyers. Internal triggers may be things like fear of non-compliance, growing out of a specific system or internal pressure to improve performance. Internal triggers may affect buyers differently, once again, highlighting the need to understand what motivates and influences your buyer(s).

It’s about the buyer-
While triggers are the impetus for buyers to purchase and do not necessarily impact vendors, it is vital that vendors understand them o they can message appropriately. As marketers we will utilize this information to create content, include key words on our sites, and develop relevant blog posts around topics that relate to triggers. For examples of how to utilize triggers in marketing content, read the evergreen post by Velocity Partners.

Identifying triggers-
So how do you get a better grasp on your buyers and what their external and internal triggers are? Ask them. Ask them what they read, when and how they prefer to consume content, what events or circumstances pushed them into a buying process, etc. However, don’t stop there. Do additional research into the market and find those who are not your customers, but fit your buyer profile to get a different perspective. The goal is to obtain both a broad and detailed understanding of your buyer. This is where marketers can develop deep insights into their buyers and build a strategy to support ongoing education that will eventually lead to a conversion (sale).

Knowing and understanding buying triggers is one of the most important aspects of the creation of buyer personas and the start of understanding the buyer’s journey. Given that in many instances the buyers begin their buying process without involving sales, it is imperative that content be developed to speak to the buyers as their buying journey begins. Educating your buyers and helping guide them through the process via relevant and timely content, all begins at that all too important trigger event.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg VP, Marketing for ANNUITAS