The Buyer’s Journey – How a Couch Taught Me the Fundamentals of Inbound Marketing

Note: This is a fun little piece that I think is fitting for the launch of the website. I wrote this in 2014 as part of my interview process at Revenue River Marketing, the agency that launched my digital marketing career…

I’m thinking about buying a couch at IKEA this weekend. My wife and I have actually been considering buying this couch for about six months and I think we’re finally going to take the plunge into new couch ownership. How does this relate to inbound marketing?

Recently I’ve been working on my HubSpot certifications and I hear the words Buyer’s Persona, Buyer’s Journey, Buyer, Buyer, Buyer, there seems to be a trend. I’m starting to think that the goal of inbound marketing is to impress people enough so that they’ll buy something from you.

In the training I was asked to remember the last time I bought something online, but I feel like my IKEA experience is a better example. It’s important to note that we own a couch, I have no need for a new couch other than to own something new. We were not in the market for a new couch, yet that couch has come up in conversation at least once a week since before Christmas between my wife and I. Let me explain my Buyer’s Journey…


I shall start from the beginning, why did we choose IKEA to begin with? We have to go out of our way to get to IKEA, we have to get in our car and drive about 15 miles out of the city to get there, IKEA is an iconic retail store worth occasionally going out of the way to get to, so it has that going for it. Of course to create a website that is iconic takes time, but one that is worth going out of the way for takes only effort and ability, something that most people in this field can and do aspire to. Once in IKEA no one bothers you to ask if you’d like to look at a couch or anything else. It is set up to where you have no choice but to look at every product they offer. Can you do this on a web site? Probably not without a lot of clutter, but can you make your web site easily navigable and your content interesting enough for people to want to navigate beyond what they are necessarily looking for, that’s really the ultimate goal.


We happened to see the couch on our maze through the store and with no pressure we went from the buyer’s awareness stage to the buyer’s consideration stage in a matter of minutes. Of course we’ve stayed at the consideration stage for months, but that’s okay with IKEA, we’ve gone back several times since to look at the couch, and I’m not going to drive 15 miles without buying anything.


Now I’m at the critical decision stage, but the presentation, the lack of pressure, the quality of the product and the company reputation has made the decision easy for me. I’ve weighed the pros and cons I’ve compared couches and prices at other companies, now I only need to figure out if I can get a truck to get it home.

Next time you buy something, be it a candy bar, a new car or something online, think about what prompted you to make that purchase and use that knowledge to sway others to buy your product or service.

Author: Douglas Eldridge

Douglas Eldridge began his career in content in 2003 as an editor at a global newswire. Over the years he has worked in almost every facet of digital marketing, from PPC to ecommerce. When he's not marketing you can find him with his wife, two kids, their dog and a flock of chickens in Denver, Colorado or in the right seat of a Cessna 172 teaching people to fly airplanes.

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