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Forget the [Marketing] Funnel

The funnel is changing.

Consumer behavior has changed and therefore so has the buyer’s journey.

Now, yes – we’ve known this for years and many savvy marketing directors have already adopted full-funnel marketing strategies. But with the rise of mobile-first we have even more insights to back the claim that we need to completely rethink the traditional marketing funnel and embrace fluid inbound marketing.

Explaining the traditional marketing funnel

The marketing funnel model depicts consumers as going from brand awareness to consideration to purchase. Inbound marketing methodology expands on that a little bit and includes four key stages: attract, nurture, convert, and delight.

Awareness: Consumers are made aware of a product or service.

Consideration: Consumers are showing interest and desire.

Action: Consumers make a decision and purchase.

There is a new digital marketing ‘funnel’

It’s not such a linear path nowadays. To accomodate the many different types of projects and people in today’s digital landscape, the funnel steps have had to expand and change, so much so let’s not even call it a funnel, but rather a snaking and looping journey.

Connection after conversion

Many people don’t stop at the purchase step. Even after making a purchase, someone might continue to search out details about the brand or company. Have you ever booked a cheap flight then kept on looking for information on luggage, or hotels, or things to do once you’ve landed? Brands want to be fostering a connection after that conversion, for loyalty and advocacy. The post-purchase experience is just as important for the modern marketer to think about!

The research factor

Nor is today’s buyer’s journey so singular; people’s journeys are as unique as they are. People research and discover all at the same time. For some, research is the most important factor and broadens their search quite a lot before narrowing and ending in an online or in-store purchase. For others, they land on one or two brands immediately. But even when that search is narrow, the consumer might continue searching for reviews, and product videos, before making a decision to stick – or not – with the original brand.

Strategies for the reshaped ‘funnel’

People turn to their devices for immediate answers to their questions, expressing intent and reshaping the marketing funnel. But what does this mean for you? What does this new marketing funnel, where the customer journey is as unique as the customer themselves, mean for your business?

First, it’s key to understand that people turn to online video at every stage of their journey. Video is often considered a great tool for building brand awareness. Google research from earlier this year shows that people are actually using video throughout the entire customer journey, from discovery to purchase. People would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read about it.

Social media is of course crucial for generating awareness. Be where your audience is! We talk a lot about this but you start with defining your target audience and choosing the right social platform. Then you can show off your company, your products and services, and develop a cohesive brand story.

SEO should also be top-of-mind. Seventy-one percent of consumers begin with a search engine. Nobody goes to page two or page three of search results. So if your website isn’t ranking on page one for important search queries, you’re not going to get discovered.

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Because of ever-changing consumer behaviors, it makes sense to ditch the old marketing funnel in favor of new strategies that more accurately represent today’s digital consumer and the unique journeys they take.

If you’re daunted by the thought of navigating these new customer journeys, or want more than the quick rundown above,contact us! We’re supremely interested in evolving consumer behavior and work hard to shift our marketing to keep up with consumers.

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