We’ve all spent ages working to move customers (and potential customers) through the old marketing funnel. Awareness. Consideration. Evaluation. But there’s a distinct possibility that clinging too tightly to that model is actually hurting your efforts. If you really want to keep your audience engaged, it might be time to switch to a more modern marketing funnel.
We’ve been taught to draw customers closer using the traditional marketing funnel model. We craft different messages for audiences in various stages as they move towards making a purchase. What’s so bad about that?
While the old system isn’t inherently awful, there are a few very good reasons to transition to a modern marketing funnel.
What’s at the Bottom of the Funnel?
What happens to your customers when they reach the bottom of your traditional marketing funnel? Do they simply fall out the bottom and disappear?
The traditional method we rely on to guide our marketing efforts is entirely focused on a transactional relationship with the people we are guiding through the funnel. We want them to:
- Recognize a need or problem
- Find our solution
- Evaluate if it’s right for them
- Commit to a purchase
Once that happens, the funnel ends. A few motivated marketers might try to move those customers back to the top of the funnel again, but the result is ultimately the same. Once we’ve completed the transaction, we treat existing customers like people we don’t even know.
How do you think that makes them feel?
There’s a New Way to Shop
Even if customers don’t mind the transactional nature of the traditional marketing model (here’s a hint: they do!), the fact is, many customers don’t shop in a way that fits that model. Shoppers don’t necessarily want to spend time researching potential solutions to their problems and considering all the options.
Research from Google suggests that we need to adopt a modern marketing funnel to fit the new customer journey — which could more closely resemble a pyramid, a diamond, or even an hourglass.
“Across verticals and categories, we’re seeing people narrowing and broadening their consideration set in moments that we couldn’t have possibly predicted if we relied on that age-old marketing funnel.”
— Allan Thygesen, Google’s President of the Americas
Some customers want instant gratification. They’re ready to commit to a purchase as soon as they find something that fits their needs. Others will research, appear to hone in on a solution, and then climb back up the funnel to start researching again with a different take on the situation. Potential customers aren’t going to conform to your marketing strategies. To keep engaging your audience, your methods will need to change.
Are You a Vendor or a Partner?
So what does a modern marketing funnel look like? Full disclosure: it doesn’t really look like a funnel at all. It’s more of a cycle. And here’s why that matters.
Consumer trust is low. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer (which measures the trust and credibility of governments and businesses around the globe) 2018 brought a 37-point drop in US consumer trust. At the same time, trust in experts increased. The general public hasn’t become entirely distrustful. Their trust has just shifted.
So how do you become the expert that your customers trust? Switch to a cyclical marketing strategy — one where you continuously engage with your audience without trying to pigeonhole them into a specific funnel stage. When your goal becomes building a relationship with clients instead of simply selling them a product, you will win their trust. You’re invested in their success. You’re no longer simply a vendor; you’re a partner.
Make Your Marketing Count
Retaining customers, building trust, marketing to the way people shop — all these things sound good on paper. But what do they actually mean to your bottom line? Is there value in marketing to your customers after they’ve made a purchase?
There really is.
Investing in customers’ success is becoming a high priority for businesses focused on growth. A 2017 Hubspot survey found that 70% of companies with growing revenue ranked investing in customer success as very important. Another study linked a 5% retention rate increase to a profit increase of between 25% and 95%. Continuing to build relationships with your customers even after they’ve made a purchase isn’t just a nice thing to do — it’s critical to business growth.
Adopt a Modern Marketing Funnel Now
Businesses need to change their marketing strategies to adapt to the new consumer normal. Gone are the days when shoppers simply wanted a vendor to provide the solution to a singular problem; today’s customers want someone invested in their success. If you need help transitioning to a modern marketing funnel, we can help. Contact the experts at Total Product Marketing today.