Thanks to my high school literature teacher, Richard Anthony, I was made aware of Joseph Campbell’s work, the Hero with a Thousand Faces. In it, Campbell analyzes a wide range of hero stories from ancient myths to modern religions to distill them into the archetypal hero quest. He then uses this to analyze the human condition. If you haven’t read this book, it’s heavy stuff and a fascinating read.
Phases of the buyer's journey
In sales and marketing, we essentially mirror Campbell’s abstract thought-work for the human state of being and apply it to the buyer’s journey.
While an epic hero’s quest starts with an invitation to a region of “supernatural wonder,” our buyer’s journey usually begins with the realization of a want or need. After this realization, the buyer then moves through the next three phases of the buyer’s journey:
Consideration phase. “Do I really want to address this issue?”
Decision phase. “How will I address this issue?”
Buying phase. “Who/What will I use to address the issue?”
However, it’s a common mistake to think that that this marks the end of the buyer’s journey; to the contrary: it’s just the beginning.
Our sale will not be considered a success until our hero is able to solve the problem or opportunity in front of her. In addition, the buyer’s organization must realize the benefits of the effort before the sale is considered a success.
The buyer's journey & your technical product demo
A well-placed demo during the buyer’s journey helps your buyer visualize the outcome of their quest.
For greatest impact, demo materials should:
- Show specific approaches and techniques to overcome the buyer’s unique needs
- Present an in-depth understanding of the challenges and pitfalls the buyer’s team will face on their quest
- Provide relevant sample scenarios that illustrate how your product addresses the problem or opportunity that lies in front of them
Your goal should be to ensure that your customer is set for success in the epic adventure that lies ahead, not solely making the sale.
George Lucas is a huge fan of Hero with a Thousand Faces and used it as a guide when writing Star Wars!
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