Funnel Marketing Will Become Less Relevant in 2018

Posted by on December 12, 2017

Funnel Marketing Will Become Less Relevant in 2018

Is the sales funnel changing, as so many digital marketing specialists have predicted—or is it actually just dying?

It’s an important question for every marketer to address as we all move forward. Certainly, the familiar cycle of a customer moving from awareness to prospect to sale is no longer as straightforward as it used to be. And in a lot of cases, as consumers are influenced in all directions—from their laptops, phones, tablets, from search engines and social networks and video ads—there’s not much semblance of structure to the so-called funnel.

Why the Funnel Has Changed

The funnel has changed not just because digital environments have changed, but also because consumer behaviors have been forever altered. Today, consumers jump in and out of channels. They compare prices and weigh the pros and cons of alternatives. They seek out better deals. Sometimes a consumer will head to a brick and mortar store to check out a product, only to purchase it online, from their phone, while standing right in front of the store shelf.

There is seldom anything predictable or linear about this. There’s not one single marketing message that pushes the consumer through. While there may be some basic trajectory toward a sale, the path to conversion often comes with a lot of zigs and zags.

The implication for marketers? It’s never been more challenging to influence consumer decision making.

New Models of Buyer Behavior

New Models of Buyer Behavior

Because there are now so many more options concerning when and where and how consumers make purchases, the competition among retailers (including ecommerce stores) has become increasingly cutthroat. The merchants who fare best are the ones who are able to make some sense of this new, fractured consumer journey.

One secret is framing everything in terms of people—not platforms. In other words, marketers should have strong branding messages that are consistent across platforms and devices. No matter where a consumer is or how he or she sees your marketing message, it should be resonant. It should move things forward toward conversion.

Data is the Key

And that brings us to data—the one constant you can find in the fluctuating consumer journey.

Good, intent-based data is the single best way to bring some consistency and focus to your marketing efforts. Specifically, first-party data—harvested directly from your own customers—is ideal. This sort of data gives you the inside look at what your customers are really after—their intentions as well as their future actions.

Armed with the right data, marketers can prepare a message that will always have a positive impact on their customers—no matter where or how that message reaches them.

The bottom line: You can’t predict the sales funnel because it effectively doesn’t exist anymore. What you can do is craft a message that gets results in all contexts. And data will help you do it.

EverythingOnline is a digital marketing agency that takes great delight in data-backed strategies—and we’re available to help you make sense of this new, funnel-less world. Reach out to our Orange County marketing experts today. Contact EverythingOnline and ask about a marketing consultation.