Buyers’ Journey and reasonable attribution

I was recently asked about use of the term the Buyers’ Journey‘. I first coined the term in 2003 and it has since been popularised. I’m happy for this, but do get a little miffed when others claim it as their own. Please, therefore, forgive the following rant. I’ve also posted this in FunnelWiki so others can comment / evolve the dialogue if they wish.

I took no registered trademarks, but the term is copyrighted and trade marked under common law. I am happy for anyone to use the term, but I also believe that accurate attribution is courteous and reasonable.

‘Positioning’ is the term coined by Al Reis and Jack Trout – they wrote about it in papers and then in their famous book of the same name. Read any of my slides and I attribute it to them.

‘Chasm’ and ‘tornado’ are terms found in any pocket dictionary, and many might have had water cooler conversations around a market being in such a state, but it would be a brave or rude marketer to not fairly attribute these terms, when used to describe market maturity, to Geoffrey Moore – author of ”Crossing the Chasm” and ”Inside the Tornado” (and other books). Again, read my slides used in training and I source every time I use the chasm image.

The buyer's journey - a term first coined by Hugh Macfarlane in 2003

Buyers’ Journey (also written with the apostrophe in the singular (buyer’s journey) was coined by me in 2003. At the time of writing the book there were zero references to it in any Google / Alta Vista / Yahoo web directories or search engines, and no references in any of the major libraries in the big cities of the world.

Many talked around the subject, but the term is mine. Google it now and most references are either me, or our partners and friends using the term – usually with proper attribution.

So, by all means use the term. Even put your own spin on it, but please don’t claim it as your own. And if you are feeling courteous, then a little attribution goes a long way.

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