In the past, brands have used the traditional marketing funnel to guide their prospective customers through the buyer’s journey.
In a nutshell, the top of the traditional marketing funnel represents potential buyers at the awareness stage. This filters down to the bottom of the funnel where it represents buyers at the conversion stage.
However, the buyer’s journey has changed. Nowadays, marketers need to be much more savvy with their marketing approach as potential buyers are interacting with their brand and products or services at all different stages of the funnel.
Rather than simply assuming customers will begin at the first stage of the funnel, marketers have to tailor their strategies to reach customers at each stage. With this in mind, we have created this article to cover the absolute essentials of full funnel marketing that every business should know. So let’s dive in.
The essentials of full funnel marketing that every business should know
Full funnel marketing is a visual representation of the entire buyer’s journey. The funnel consists of 8 stages:
Each of these stages requires its own marketing strategy in order to be effective as they are each considered prospective buyer touchpoints.
Let’s explore how this marketing approach can improve your buyers’ experience and build long lasting B2B consumers.
What is the traditional marketing funnel?
The marketing funnel is a visual representation of the buyer’s journey. This is the same for both B2B and B2C, however, the timelines are very different and the strategies and tactics employed will also differ depending on who you are targetting.
The marketing funnel outlines the most straightforward journey your customer is expected to go on before they commit to buying your product or service.
Traditionally, this consists of three stages:
Awareness stage: The top of the marketing funnel is where a potential customer first finds out about your brand, product, or service. Perhaps through an awareness-raising campaign, through social media, or a business convention.
Consideration stage: This is where a prospective buyer wants to know more about you. They compare you to your competitors and conduct their own research.
Conversion stage: The bottom of the funnel is the action stage. Whether it’s making a purchase or becoming a member, the final conversion stage is where your prospective buyers are converted into sales.
Not everyone in the funnel will convert, but traditionally it was believed that all potential buyers made their way through this funnel – from awareness to conversion.
The problem is, nowadays the buyer’s journey looks very different. In fact, it is advised not to assume that all potential customers will follow the funnel stages in this sequence. After all, no two journeys will be exactly the same, and as such marketers need to adapt to provide the best possible experience.
This is where full funnel marketing comes in.
Full funnel marketing goes beyond the traditional marketing funnel. Whilst the traditional marketing funnel does encompass the main elements, it is not as thorough as full funnel marketing.
What is full funnel marketing?
Full funnel marketing takes the entire buyers’ journey into consideration. From awareness all the way through to advocacy. Not only is this powerful for sales, but it is also a much more effective way to build better brand relationships.
As with the traditional marketing funnel, the top of the funnel starts with the awareness stage. This is where your buyer becomes aware of both the problem that they want to be resolved and the solution that you offer. It might just be your brand, or your specific product or service, but this stage encompasses the initial awareness that is made.
The interest stage is when your prospective buyer looks at the products or services that you offer as well as the reviews. It is vital that your website offers value and insight into what you offer. Go above and beyond with free content that is insightful and shows that you are an expert in the industry.
The consideration stage is when the buyer shares this research with the company stakeholders. This is a good time to engage with the stakeholders to show that your product or service solves their pain points. Consider webinars, or live training to engage directly with the buyers. Remember, in B2B there are often many stakeholders involved, so you need to be able to communicate to all the different decision-makers.
The intent stage is when the buyer gets access to your product demo. If this isn’t something that you offer, or if you provide a service, this stage may not be relevant to you specifically. However, if you offer a product, this is a great opportunity to delight your prospective buyer. This is also an opportunity to build trust and rapport.
The evaluation stage is when the buyer reviews the contract proposal. It is important for the marketing and sales teams to work in alignment here to always be on hand for any questions or queries.
Traditionally this would be the final stage of the funnel. The conversion stage or the buying stage is when the sales transaction is complete. However, in full funnel marketing, this is not the final stage.
This is the stage where you continue to nurture and sustain the relationship in order to provide the best possible buying experience and to increase the likelihood of cross-selling and continued investment. This after-sale stage is an opportunity to introduce new products or services, continue to educate about the product or service you offer, and generally build rapport with this buyer.
The final stage of the full funnel is advocacy. This is where you continue to engage with your current buyers and up-sell new products and services. It is where you ask for valuable feedback and testimonials. It is also where you offer reward for loyalty and continue to nurture the relationship.
It’s important to remember that not everyone will enter your funnel at the same stage.
For example, your existing clientele will already know about you so they’ll skip the awareness stage – but you still need to resonate with them to maintain the relationship and ensure they remain loyal. A full funnel marketing approach is about tailoring your messaging to the particular stage that your buyer is at.
It’s a complete visual of how your whole marketing strategy should work and how it intends to drive growth, with your team working together more closely at each stage of the funnel to increase impact from all campaigns.
Keep in mind that because you’ve got individual campaigns targeting the different stages, there will be different objectives. Therefore they must be measured using different metrics.
Why every business needs a full funnel marketing strategy
There are a number of benefits to full funnel marketing:
- Companies can be more relevant to their customers
- It gives a more accurate picture of how successful a marketing strategy is
- You get more value without spending more money as you can switch up media allocation depending on return rate
The full funnel approach helps you to understand how each stage of the funnel impacts the others, which enables you to make better marketing decisions.
Why are brands changing to full funnel marketing now?
In recent years, buying habits have altered greatly.
For many, research and discovery now happen across multiple channels at once. A potential buyer might come across your brand whilst searching for a solution to their problem. They might come across you again when they receive tailored remarketing ads that solve their problem. All of these touchpoints are contributing to their individual buying experience.
Buyers have more information at their fingertips now than ever before. They can conduct a lot of their own research, so you need to provide more value at each touchpoint.
Because the buying journey is becoming more fragmented, it’s now necessary to adopt a full funnel marketing strategy that drives awareness and demand across multiple channels at the same time.
Three essentials of full funnel marketing
Because every company is unique, there will be different variations of full funnel marketing strategies. However, there are three common essential elements every marketer should embrace.
1. New ways of measuring brand awareness
Collecting and analysing data is an essential part of full funnel marketing. As mentioned above, data needs to be collected from a range of internal and external sources so you can monitor how successful your marketing tactics are and optimise your efforts at each stage of the journey. Doing this enables you to maximise sales and achieve a greater ROI.
There are now many different ways in which you can measure the success of online marketing, including:
- Digital customer surveys, which can give you an idea of brand awareness and favourability.
- Automated content recognition that works with unique IP addresses, so you can determine the link between adverts and actions.
- Attribution tools, to know where and when consumers see your adverts and what actions they then take.
2. A unified set of KPIs
You’ll have a better understanding of the real impact of your marketing efforts if you link your KPIs between all channels and stages of the funnel.
By understanding how the different touchpoints throughout the funnel affect one another, you’ll be able to start making informed decisions on how to adjust or rebalance your marketing spend.
If, for example, brand-building campaigns are leading to more website conversions, you’ll know it’s worth investing in more brand building.
3. A full funnel operating model
For full funnel marketing to be as effective as possible, it’s not enough to simply apply it to an existing strategy. Your model needs to be complete from top to bottom and you have to rethink how each of the stages and tactics relate to one another.
Here are some tips for ensuring your full funnel marketing strategy is as successful as it can be:
- Make sure all brand managers, analytic marketers, sales managers, and other stakeholders work together closely so that everyone is on the same page
- Reward marketers for delivering goals, but hold them accountable for their actions too
- Test and learn so the necessary changes can be made
With consumer habits changing in recent years, no two customer journeys are the same – and marketers need to adapt their strategies to account for this.
Full funnel marketing recognises that customers can enter the funnel at any of the awareness, consideration and conversion stages, so brands need to tailor their marketing tactics accordingly.
This model is about building better brand relationships, as well as sales. Rather than focussing on just one campaign, it’s a complete visual of how your whole marketing strategy should work.