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“Not all, though, are ready to toss the marketing funnel out entirely. Elizabeth Harr, a partner with Hinge Marketing, and the author of several marketing books, including Inside the Buyer’s Brain, is one example.
While Harr says she isn’t a fan of ‘marketing speak,’ she believes there is some merit to the various stage of the funnel. Simply talking about top/middle/bottom, though, she says is too simplistic. ‘It’s what happens between the lines—or layers—that makes these stages an accurate, and therefore important, representation of the buyer’s journey,’ she says.
- They’ve never heard of you. ‘If you think of it that way, you understand the type of marketing that is most effective,’ Harr says. ‘Someone who has never heard of you before and sees your website for the first time is not likely going to respond to a call to action that requires providing an email or giving you a call. Nor will they spend an inordinate amount of time digesting your content or even paying attention to any of your marketing until you’ve earned their trust.’ Consequently, activities taking place at this stage need to be open access and require little time to digest and little risk—things like blogs, articles, video blogs, social media posts, etc.
- You’re on their radar. At this stage, says Harr, marketers need to work on keeping themselves on the radar. Tactics that work: calls to action to sign up for a newsletter, downloadable content that requires an email, and email campaigns that put relevant content in front of your buyers. ‘These are all excellent because they reflect the mindset of the buyer at that point in time,’ she says.
- The deal is closed. ‘If in the middle of the funnel you’ve sufficiently nurtured and earned their trust, the buyer will be more receptive to a demo, a pitch, or a consultation that requires time and investment,’ Harr says.
It really isn’t about the stages themselves, Harr says, but what happens at each stage that makes the funnel a good model for marketing dialogue and planning. ‘Omnichannel just means that there are multiple ways and multiple channels to reach your audience in sequential actions that reflect their mindset—but the funnel—which is really a representation of the mindset of the buyer at a given point in time, must be considered,’ she says.”
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