The foundations of funnel marketing go back a few years. As early as 1890, Elias St Elmo Lewis offered the “AIDA” model. For those allergic to acronyms: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Despite some variations (on the same theme), the marketing funnel has not undergone major changes. Essentially used in B2B marketing, it is the visual representation of the buying or acquisition journey of customers. Translated into French by funnel, a much less glamorous term, it describes in the form of stages: the state of mind, the symbolic place of its presence, and the state of qualification of your prospect.
Several versions of funnels coexist depending on the desired purpose: marketing, sales or acquisition. Three almost similar representations to which are linked techniques to push your prospect down this famous funnel. Now let’s see how the marketer tries to give substance to the theory …
Long is the journey from the chrysalis (visitor) to the butterfly (client)
The best-known representation is: discovery, interests, considerations, purchase, post-purchase or loyalty. This funnel, in which your prospect evolves as best they can, can also be divided into three phases, the names of which can whet the appetite of die-hard vegetarians: tofu (top of the funnel) which corresponds to the discovery of the interest, mofu (middle of the funnel) or a more pronounced interest of prospects for your product, and finally bofu (bottom of the funnel), in other words, the moment when the prospect becomes a customer.
To these two versions can be added the so-called MQL / SQL sales funnel. The stages will then be at the top of the funnel the visitor, who very quickly becomes a suspect or a lead to metamorphose at the next stage into a prospect / MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). Once qualified by marketers, the prospect switches to SQL (Sales Qualified Leads).
After this antepenultimate step, your prospect then becomes an opportunity for sales and hopefully, to contribute to the warming of the atmosphere between marketers and salespeople, a customer. Even if the customer journey is often more erratic, this way of sequencing makes it possible to build a complete strategy by deploying a technical arsenal to encourage the original stranger to make his journey throughout this funnel.
From theory to practice …
For the marketing department, the acquisition funnel, the conversion funnel or the sales funnel, often superimposed, are both the map and the territory. A card which sums up, despite its simplicity, the whole business challenge of a marketing department. From knowing the company to decision-making, including consideration, each of these sequences requires both a global strategy, but also as many tactical deployments to drive the customer to the end of the funnel and transform the lead into loyal customer.
In theory this may seem quite simple, in practice much less. This complexity comes from an exponential digitization which accelerates the multiplication of contact points. Thus, the funnel must now be based on a multi / cross / omnichannel strategy and the range of techniques – and tools – associated is becoming just as complex. From consideration to conversion, leading your prospect to the end of the tunnel can quickly look like an initiatory journey for the marketer who will have to imagine all the stratagems to ensure to support his prospect in the most effective way. At his disposal, the king contained with his arsenal of inbound marketing mixed with outbond, tools – more than 5,000, according to the last martech census – and, sometimes, the idea that will hit the mark. After all, that’s what will make the difference, but L’Épiphanie marketing is not the most shared thing in the world.
On the method, all marketers are in phase: drawing a funnel, the first stone of a strategy, is quite simple. Playing with funnelytics is also quite fun. But, very quickly, your schematic diagram with a primer (hook), an acquisition path (adequate landing pages), the right calls to action, the right measures, the right retargeting, the right marketing automation, a nurturing of excellence, until the appropriate qualification for the dirty, turns to exhaustion. This peaceful customer acquisition journey quickly turns into an ultratrail in a hostile environment.
Very often, the ax falls: with death in the soul, the marketer resolves to abandon his panoply of KPIs selected with love, his A / B tests declined at will (formats, content refined by following the AIDA method, call to action …). In other words, the moment always arrives when the marketer, once the device is more or less in place, lets go and calmly looks at the figures at the bottom of the table. Whoever has never done it throw the first stone at me.
The author : David Benguigui is Social Media and Content Management Director of Prodware, publisher and integrator of sector and business IT solutions, and administrator of CMIT.