Why the Buyer Collective Matters for Healthcare Information and Technology Marketing
In marketing, the concept of “the buyer collective” simply reflects the general individuals within an organization who contribute in key ways to a purchase decision. While a contract may only have one name signed on the dotted line, how that contract gets to the signing point is most commonly a team effort. In marketing to the buyer collective, marketers are trying to appeal to this team and its individual members to secure alignment and confidence that a purchase decision is the right decision.
Learning the Buyer Collective by Un-learning the CXO Tunnel Vision Fallacy:
There’s a bit of a fallacy, when it comes to “CXO Tunnel Vision,” that precise, buyer-profile specific targeting to that one deal-signing individual is going to help expedite the process. You’re taking things right to the top, so things should move faster from the primary mover, right? Wrong. It’s a fallacy, of course, because that’s not how things typically work.
Instead, our research shows that the average healthcare information and technology (HIT) purchase process is made up of around nine different individuals. Sure, your CXO deal-signer is often one, but that deal doesn’t get signed if the eight other contributors aren’t converted or convinced.
The buyer collective is the group of people who MUST have a say in the purchase decision. If you’re not marketing to these people, they’re still going to be evaluating how your offerings fit a specific need, configuration, or particular criteria. Marketing to the buyer collective means being able to control (as best you can) these conversations and the information that fuels them.
The Buyer Collective is a Puzzle to Piece Together – NOT Just Targets to Hit:
The key in this kind of marketing is to treat the buyer collective as a puzzle to put together, and not simply rings on a target to hit. If your buyer collective is only a static series of targets, success is simply hit or miss, and things don't get any clearer over time. The more pieces you have on your buyer collective and the content they consume, though, the clearer the picture becomes over time.
What can often trip organizations up if they don’t have the right expectations, though, is this pattern of increasing accuracy. Once a marketing team uncovers say, three or four common profiles in the buyer collective, appealing to those profiles does start to click things into gear, and it can seem like the formula for success is complete. However, if you limit the scope of your buyer collective to be “good and done when good enough,” the principles can start to be undermined by the exceptions. Your core three or four profiles fit in most cases, but the remaining missing pieces can start popping up more frequently and casting doubt on the accuracy of the model. Instead of simply expanding the included members of the buyer collective (as a well-oriented buyer collective strategy would), organizations may try to reinvent their personas or target profiles to try to better fit the involved players.
Instead, you want to let your buyers show you who they are in behavioral data and potentially even direct customer conversations. Data lets your buyers tell you who they are and what kind of content they need without assumptions. Even when you do generally identify all the key players in a buyer collective, data will continue to offer more insights on what matters to your buyers and what moves them forward in the purchase process.
The Buyer Collective Matters Because It Affords Improvement
Crafting a content strategy for your buyer collective allows for a data-driven, iteratively improved foundation on which to build everything else. It’s why methodologies like Account-Based Marketing (ABM) work so well – especially in the HIT space.
Within the HIMSS world, hundreds of thousands of healthcare information and technology buyers engage with our content on a daily basis. This readership data provides us with the puzzle pieces we need to see into many of the common healthcare IT buyer collectives and discern interests, patterns and opportunities for engagement. Even with our extensive data, there are still new and interesting pieces we’re discovering. Each discovery, though allows us to hone in on newer and better ways to help marketers engage their buyers.
Outside of the HIMSS sphere of influence, though, the ability to craft content to suit the needs of your buyer collective is something that consistently contributes to top levels of marketing performance. The more puzzle pieces you have, the clearer the picture, and the clearer the path to success.
For more research on Healthcare Information and Technology content marketing best practices, download our latest ebook: 7 Research-Backed Best Practices for Healthcare IT Content Marketing.