The traditional marketing funnel is gone, folks.
It’s been replaced by a gigantic, unpredictable, over-the-top Rube Goldberg device.
There was a time when the “marketing funnel” was as simple as a consumer seeing a television ad, driving to the store, looking for your branded product, and then purchasing it.
Now, the consumer of that same product can receive a suggestion from his Amazon Echo, then decide to go read some reviews online, get sidetracked by a related (native advertising) article on the product, ask a few questions of the live chatbot on the product ordering page, decide to wait until Christmas, then go into a physical store to make the purchase.
This critical shift in the consumer mindset is going to require a similar shift in the marketing mindset.
5 Key Mindset Shifts to Deal with the New Marketing Funnel Reality
First of all, it’s not linear – the original funnel concept assumed that the customer went through a defined, linear process that was highly predictable. With the new, complex customer journey, there are sidetracks, cul de sacs, and fast-forwards. Each facet of your marketing approach needs to be able to stand alone, to account for consumers who jump into the middle of your marketing/sales process.
Second, you don’t know what they know – studies have claimed that up to 70% of the pre-purchase research is done before the customer even approaches a salesperson. In the new mindset, you can’t just launch into a canned pitch. You need to do a lot of questioning and listening, to find out what the person already knows or assumes about your product. This is so important to start building trust with your customer.
Third, agility is key – your marketing content arsenal needs to be diverse and refreshed frequently. You absolutely must be willing to experiment, pivot, and A/B test like a mad scientist. Schedule time to look at your analytics on a regular basis to see where your customers are coming from, where they’re going on your website, and which content is resonating (or not). Don’t forget to ask your prospects about their journey when you speak to them as well. “Oh, I decided to visit your site after an agency friend of mine recommended you at a conference I just attended.”
Fourth, spread your wings – the old funnel had a single output. You could stand there and take in the leads. Now, you need to put yourself out there and be ready to catch the ball wherever it emerges from the Rube Goldberg device. The new customer might reach out via a Tweet, a Facebook comment, an email, or by filling out your online inquiry form. It’s imperative that you have someone available to “answer the phone,” whatever that means to your customer.
Oh, and fifth, sales is different now too – HBR described this piece of the sales shift in an excellent article. The old sales playbook has been tossed out along with the marketing funnel.
How are you dealing with the new marketing funnel reality?
Featured image via Flickr CC: Arne Hendriks