The marketing funnel plays an important role in the marketing journey, outlining the simplest path customers can take as they move toward purchase. Essentially, marketing funnels provide a valuable structure for building connections and interactions with customers throughout their journey. Below, you’ll learn about each stage of the marketing funnel and how can help marketers maximize results with a comprehensive advertising strategy.
What is a marketing funnel?
The concept of the marketing funnel has a history spanning over a century, designed to simplify the classification of significant milestones in the shopping journey: from raising awareness, to fostering consideration, guiding towards a decision, and ultimately, building loyalty.
While occasionally referred to as the conversion funnel, it relates to the customer’s journey, but in today’s world, the path to purchase is notably more intricate. Very few customer journeys precisely mirror the funnel structure. Effective marketing campaigns adopt a more comprehensive approach, such as full-funnel marketing, which is crafted to connect with shoppers at every phase of the process.
The shape of the marketing funnel aligns with the notion that in the initial stages of a shopping journey, marketers cast a wide net to engage a multitude of potential leads, subsequently nurturing them through each level of the funnel. As you progress down the funnel, the audience naturally narrows, ultimately reaching the bottom where you encounter shoppers who are most likely to convert and, ideally, evolve into loyal customers.
Why are marketing funnels important?
Although the customer journey doesn’t always follow the simple linear path described in the marketing funnel, this concept is still important. The digital path to making a purchase is not simple, and digital marketing channels recognize that consumers can enter, exit, and navigate the funnel in a variety of ways. Additionally, their purchasing behavior is not limited to just one store or geographic location.
Because customers can shop virtually anywhere and anytime, brands need to strategize to engage them at every step of their journey. Particularly in the digital marketing channel, the consideration stage can include extensive online research and product comparisons, going beyond traditional in-store comparisons. Many brands have adapted to this less linear buying journey by connecting authentically and meaningfully with customers throughout the funnel.
Marketing funnels serve the dual purpose of generating and nurturing leads. During the awareness and consideration stages, brands use campaigns to attract new potential customers. During the decision and retention stages, campaigns are used to nurture existing leads, eventually turning them into brand advocates. Digital marketing, combined with channel marketing, plays a central role in deciphering which channels, strategies and content attract attention, conversations and ultimately sales for brands. theirs the most.
Stages of the marketing funnel
There’s no one-size-fits-all funnel model, but here’s a simple four-stage version: awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty.
Stage 1: Awareness
Brand awareness implies clients’ experience with a brand, including factors like its name, informing, style, values, and culture. It begins with shopper research and includes drawing in and helping clients perceive and recall the brand. The point is to keep major areas of strength for a presence by using significant client collaborations all through the purchasing venture.
To support awareness , brands intend to arrive at buyers where they are, utilizing stages like TV (both conventional and streaming), digital advertising, sound advertisements, virtual entertainment crusades, content showcasing, and the sky is the limit from there. Curiously, 84% of customers start online item look through on digital channels other than a brand’s own site, underlining the developing significance of these touchpoints.
Eventually, the objective of the awareness stage is for your image to remain conspicuously in clients’ psyches.
Stage 2: Consideration
The goal of consideration marketing is to increase the likelihood that consumers will think about a specific brand and its products when they shop. Marketing messages should address consumers’ problems, interests, or questions. At this stage, customers are trying to become familiar with a brand and find out what makes it different from others. Brands should focus on educating and informing customers during this consideration phase to help them understand how their product or solution meets their needs.
Examples of consideration marketing strategies in the middle of the funnel could include showcasing positive customer reviews, sharing customer testimonials and success stories, and hosting webinars. In the world of e-commerce, various advertising tools cater to this stage. For instance, you might find options like sponsored product listings, informative product videos, and eye-catching display ads on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. These advertising tools are strategically crafted to engage customers while they are actively searching and researching products to make a purchase decision.
Stage 3: Conversion
The aim of the conversion stage is to convince shoppers to make a purchase, believing that the chosen brand provides the right solution for their problem or fulfills their needs. This phase is often called the “decision” or “purchase” phase, and it’s when a brand has a chance to create a strategy that sets them apart from similar products and establishes their unique identity in the market. During this stage, having a well-structured product page on a website becomes crucial, along with providing an exceptional customer service experience to instill confidence in customers’ buying decisions.
Measuring conversion can be relatively straightforward because you can often trace which advertisement click directly led to a purchase. However, it’s important to note that customer interactions in the earlier stages significantly influence whether customers ultimately make that conversion.
Stage 4: Loyalty
Brands can encourage loyalty by ensuring a smooth buying experience and delivering high-quality products or services. By maintaining connections with customers after they make a purchase, brands can stay in the forefront of shoppers’ minds.
Positive interactions during and after the purchase can significantly influence whether a shopper chooses to become a repeat customer. Without a strategy for building customer loyalty, brands may discover that many customers make a single purchase and then move on. On average, it costs a brand five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, which is why some marketers refer to this phase as the “engagement” stage. To foster loyalty, it’s crucial to continue engaging with customers who have invested in your brand’s products or services.
Effective engagement strategies, such as email nurture campaigns, social media initiatives, and loyalty programs, can be highly effective in building brand loyalty. The ultimate goal at the end of this stage is to have earned devoted, satisfied customers who not only advocate for your brand but also become lifelong patrons.
What is the difference between the marketing and sales funnel?
Some people use “marketing funnel” and “sales funnel” interchangeably or even combine them into “marketing sales funnel”. However, they’re actually two different things. Marketing and sales in a company have seperated goals, and their respective funnels support those goals. Marketing works on branding, awareness, and generating leads, while sales aims to sell products or services. Connecting these two can keep teams on the same page and create a better customer experience.
How to integrate a complete marketing strategy from start to finish
The marketing funnel serves as a useful tool for connecting with audiences. However, it’s important to note that customer journeys and funnels are not the same thing. Nowadays, customer journeys often don’t follow a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase. Shoppers can enter the funnel at any point or even bypass certain stages. In essence, while the funnel is valuable for ensuring you engage customers across various potential paths to purchase, it’s rare for customer journeys to perfectly align with the funnel’s structure.
You might not know exactly how shoppers will find your product, but a full-funnel marketing approach looks at all the ways potential customers can connect with your brand. This helps you find chances to engage with them, no matter where they are.
Full-funnel marketing measurement
To understand if your complete marketing plan is working, you need to measure and analyze it. Here are three ways to improve and optimize it.
1. Understand how channels impact each other
A comprehensive approach might involve advertising on various platforms to connect with customers regardless of where they are in the buying process. Setting early benchmarks for success is crucial to effectively assess how each platform influences a brand’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Different stages of the funnel come with their own metrics for measuring success.
When advertisers need to gain widespread brand awareness among consumers, TOFU metrics measure:
- unique reach
- completion rate
- Click-through rate (CTR)
MOFU metrics show when people are more likely to buy. These benchmarks measure:
- detail page views
- new-to-brand percentage
- branded search index
These metrics measure how many people actually buy, and they calculate:
- return on advertising spend (ROAS)
- advertising cost of sales (ACOS)
- customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- orders or units sold
When you look at the benchmarks for TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU and compare them, advertisers can make their spending more efficient at every step of the funnel.
2. Customize messages to the different stages of the shopping journey
Using an ad server helps brands show the right ads to the right people at the right time during their shopping journey. For instance, if someone has looked at a product before, the ad server can display a different message or image to them compared to someone who hasn’t. This way, brands can connect with shoppers wherever they are in their path to buying.
3. Compare spend to peers
With the use of various technologies, brands may see how their marketing expenditures stack up against those of a group of competitors in the same industry. Marketers can use this information to assess if they are paying more or less than their competitors on metrics like sales and branded search, among others.
To conclude, the marketing funnel is an effective structure for directing brands through the customer journey and assisting them in maintaining a connection with their audience at each stage. In the digital age, it’s crucial to adapt to the changing and non-linear character of client journeys. The key to maximizing your full-funnel approach is to measure the performance of your marketing techniques, customize messages for each stage, and assess your spending in relation to competitors.
Brands may better target their strategies and engage with consumers by knowing the differences across the funnel’s stages, from awareness through loyalty. Additionally, understanding how marketing and sales funnels differ emphasizes each one’s specific responsibilities and improves the entire customer experience.
Brands may successfully navigate the complicated world of contemporary marketing by using a holistic strategy, utilizing ad servers, and benchmarking spending against rivals. These actions will help them make judgments that will help them succeed at every stage of the sales funnel. Ultimately, to achieve long-term success and brand advocacy, it’s about remaining adaptable, accepting change, and developing enduring relationships with customers.