If you’re struggling to define the path-to-purchase for your company or product, try looking at it as a composite story that captures all the commonalities of the real stories people have about buying what you offer. Make your buyer the main character in each story and include all the major elements of a good plot. Look for:
- Exposition – The background details necessary to understand the story
- Inciting Incident – The thing that happens when your buyer recognizes he/she has a problem to solve (which your product or service solves)
- Rising Action – The buyer’s struggle to find a solution
- Climax – The emotional high point of the story where the buyer may fail
- Turning Point – The buyer makes a decision (to buy from you)
- Falling Action – The unravelling of complications as a result of the decision
- Resolution – The removal of all conflict from the story where the buyer’s solution works
- Denouement – The ending where the buyer is better off than at the outset
Once you have enough individual stories to see a pattern, you should be able to answer questions like:
- What triggers your target audience to recognize that they need a product in your category?
- What influences them as they create a consideration set?
- What influences them as they narrow the consideration set?
- What makes them choose your product over others? Or, what makes them choose a competing product over yours?
That should get you pretty close to understanding the path-to-purchase for your target customers. Plus, you’ll know your customer really well after recording their stories.