map-icon_500x500 (Photo credit: Shmector)

(This is part three of a three part series on the use of Buyer Persona Stories™, Buyer Persona Scenarios™, and Buyer Persona Story Mapping™ to drive effective content marketing strategy.)

Getting to see the big picture about customers and buyers today is not easy. It can be like sitting in an old stadium trying to peak around a column to see the field. When you cannot see the whole field, you are missing the action. With buying behavior changing rapidly each quarter, not having the big picture on the actions of buyers can set back an organizations significantly.

In part one and two of this series, I reviewed the use of Buyer Persona Stories and Buyer Persona Scenarios. These powerful techniques allow you to build the chapters of your buyer’s complete end-to-end story. Getting to know the sub-stories and the important buying scenarios of your buyers in order to shape an effective content strategy and content marketing plan.

A Collection of Short Stories

Having a big picture means having not only a good visual but also good contextual understanding. Buyer Persona Story Mapping™ helps to provide a visual backdrop as well as the situational contexts needed to understand buyers today. Like a collection of short stories, this mapping technique allows us to gather the goals, activities, key moments, stories, and scenarios of buyers into a story-mapping framework.

A Modeling Framework

When we can map the stories of our buyers, they allow for teams to work on the big picture. While this modeling framework has multiple uses, the focus in this series has been on content marketing effectiveness. Teams can be free of the business jargon and frame of references, which can hinder content creation. And, get focused on the practical stories of buyers.

There are several key elements, which help to complete Buyer Persona Story Mapping:

  1. Buyer Personas: this is our target character in our buyer’s story. A good place to note you may need to complete a story mapping for each buyer persona derived from buyer insight research and buyer persona development.
  2. Persona Buying Cycle: the purpose here is to introduce the important element of time. Like all good stories, there is a timeline. This view helps us understand the top-level epic story in play. There are other views also which can be used. Shortened or lengthened. My comment on the fervor around buyer’s journeys is rather than focus on the increasing “battle of the buyer’s journey”, focus on what takes place below the timeline.
  3. Buyer Persona Goals: as has been reiterated throughout this series, the core essence of buyer persona development is buyer goals. A goal driven mapping process helps us to understand what buyers are trying to accomplish as they progress through time, activities, and situations.
  4. Buyer Persona Activities: we want to highlight key activities and actions taken as buyers move along a timeline and identify the actions taken, which move them to the next stage or part of their buying cycle.
  5. Buyer Persona Stories: this technique, as shared in part one, allows us to focus in on how buyers are involved in sub-stories. These sub-stories focus us on their goals and the key topics most relevant to what they are trying to solve or accomplish.
  6. Buyer Persona Scenarios: this modeling technique provides the context needed to understand how goals, activities, and sub-stories come together during a certain stage of the buying cycle.

(The Buyer Persona Story Mapping modeling framework is shown below. It is available by link below for your review. I am also available for helpful discussions on how to make use of this approach for content marketing effectiveness.)

buyer story mapping model
Buyer Persona Story Mapping

A Team Effort

The Buyer Persona Story Mapping framework is designed for teams to work in collaboration. It provides a framework for discussion and brainstorming. To be efficient, it requires key insights, which come from buyer insight research and buyer persona development. It also should make evident how buyer personas in general have less to do with description and more to do with being a vehicle to understand buyers in practical ways.

From the point of view of content marketing effectiveness, here is how the modeling tools introduced in this series can help:

  • Crate the language of content around helping buyers accomplish their goals
  • Understand content media preferences specific to buyer activities and actions
  • Understand how content should be developed to fit into a buyer’s story as they go through certain buying activity scenarios
  • Content creation become a connected story told to buyers rather than a series of disconnected media presentations
  • Provide the context needed for teams to work in unison around helping buyers accomplish their goals and activities, which lead to action
  • Create a platform for removing the barriers of inside-out thinking and serves as the shift to outside-in thinking
  • Know what buyer’s value in terms of content and results

Advancing to the Next Level

The intent of this series is to help marketing and sales leaders develop a path towards improving the effectiveness of their content marketing plans and strategy. Also, it is designed to bring more benefit to buyers, who are increasingly voicing their dissatisfaction with the volume of unhelpful content being shot-gunned their way.

By getting teams focused on practical ways to understand the stories of buyers, you can do what has been part of civilization for many centuries – use content to tell a good story.

(The Buyer Persona Story Mapping™ framework is available here for you: Buyer Persona Story Mapping. I welcome further conversations to help you use this framework to understand the stories of your buyers. I am very interested in getting your thoughts and perspectives on this powerful framework. Please share widely – your peers and colleagues are trying to get on the right road to content marketing effectiveness.)