So, how do we know what we should focus on when it comes to building our marketing materials?

The first thing to do is to identify where you are most lacking. This should be done by considering how many people are, on an ongoing basis, entering each stage of the buyer process.

The three stages of the buyer process, as covered in our last blog post, are the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage.

A buyer is in the awareness stage when they have been made aware of the fact that you exist, but have not yet began to consider doing business with you.

They are in the consideration stage when they are both aware that you exist, and are now actively considering the prospect of doing business with you, but do not feel any pressure to make a decision.

A buyer is in the decision stage when they have already determined that they wish to change their current circumstances in some way, and are deciding whether to purchase your product, purchase a competitor, or perhaps do nothing.

The consideration stage and decision stage are similar in that both involve active consideration, but they are different in that a buyer at the decision stage is essentially in the “closing” part of the sales process, and plans to give a definitive yes or no answer as soon as they have evaluated their options, whereas a buyer in the consideration stage is not as highly motivated.

A common mistake salespeople and marketers make is treating a buyer in the consideration stage, who expresses interest but in reality is indifferent about the product, as if he or she were ready to buy (decision stage). The tactics of approaching a buyer in the consideration stage actually differ substantially from those involved in approaching a buyer in the decision stage.

How to use video at each buyer stage

Part 1 – The awareness stage

When using video to market your product, it is important to consider whom you are trying to influence in terms of the buyer stage he or she is in. Most companies do not have universal brand recognition and need to focus much of their efforts on making people aware of them.

Typically people vastly underestimate the amount of people that they need to reach in order to ever make a sale. If you can successfully make one thousand people aware of your product, unless you have had in depth conversations and moved many of these people straight into the decision stage, you have not made even a small dent in terms of your efforts to find customers. You more likely need to be thinking in terms of the hundreds of thousands and millions range in order to be successful.

The #1 reason businesses fail is not because they are “under-capitalized”, per-say, as is often repeated. This under-capitalization is part of the larger problem of businesses incorrectly estimating the time and effort it will take to reach their target market and find customers. And the greatest reason for this is the incorrect estimation of how many people need to be made aware of the product simply to gain a reasonable number of potential customers.

The best way to make a potential customer aware of you is to advertise on a large scale. This is not always the most affordable – and many companies wisely begin with cold calling and cold email due to the much lower price point, and the ability to “test the waters” with real conversations before committing marketing dollars.

Part 2 – the consideration stage

The key with the consideration stage in terms of video marketing is medium and the related idea of placement. By medium I mean whether you are using television, your website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or any other location. By placement I mean where the video is displayed within these mediums. For example, the page and section of your website, or when in the television lineup and on what network.

The reason these concepts are so important, and that your planning will focus heavily on determining these things, is because a video aimed towards buyers at the consideration stage is most effective when it is displayed specifically to buyers who are at that stage. 

You need to map out how somebody will interact with your various channels at each stage of the buying process. There is no formula – but you do need to understand that a buyer who has never heard of your product will not be looking for, by definition, and this person needs to be found.  A buyer who is aware of your product and is now curious enough to consider it will encounter your product in a different place than when they were not aware of your product.

An unaware or disinterested buyer may see a Facebook ad, or perhaps find your video in the search results on YouTube when looking for a solution to your product. An interested buyer (in the consideration stage) may voluntarily begin exploring your blog, or watching material on your YouTube channel that does not perform well on search, or perhaps start following you on Instagram.

The point is that each video should be made with a clear buyer stage in mind, and the consideration stage videos will either not be advertised (but displayed prominently to incoming traffic to your site or social channel, for example), or will be advertised differently (re-marketing, for example).

Part 3 – the decision stage

At this stage of the buyer journey the buyer is highly interested and is giving their full attention to making a decision. These videos should probably be focused on logical persuasion, comparing features and benefits to competitors, “act-now” offers such as limited time discounts or deadlines to purchase.

It will generally be fairly obvious where these types of videos should go on your site. If you sell products on a website, on the purchase or pricing page you could have videos with additional information or further persuasive arguments, or offers.

Conclusion – the Gist of it

Understanding how to persuade people is a science indeed, but it is also fairly intuitive – if you properly understand the mentality of the person you are communicating to. With marketing, you communicate not directly to each person, but to groups of people, “the masses” who view your marketing materials. It is not fully controllable, and you can’t fully customize the message to each person.

The key then is that each piece of your marketing should be planned based on the stage the buyer is likely to be in when they view the material. So – map out the likely path buyers will take to purchase from you, starting with when they don’t even know about you but can be reached through some means with your messages. Then, place the right content in the right places, based on the likely stage of the buying process – awareness, consideration, or decision stage – they will be in when they view that content.

If you understand these things, your marketing will be much more effective.