If you wake up any marketer in the middle of the night and ask them what a marketing funnel is, you’d get a brief answer along the words of: It’s the process every potential customer goes through on the way to paying and committing to a product or service. It starts with awareness and ends with purchase. Some may even go through the next stages of sharing and spreading the word, as well as the stages of further upsells and renewals. Graphically speaking, this is when the funnel widens out again.
In between awareness and purchase the funnel may vary, between industries, products vs. services and somewhat depending on the marketing channels. Also, the more the marketing team is sales oriented, constant alignment and communication between the marketing and sales funnels should occur. In the B2B world this is a must.
In the past two years of constantly working up and down the sales and marketing funnels, I found them very useful in understanding what phase I am dealing with and what are my measurable goals and objectives. However, with every project and task, I keep debating on what is it that I really need to do in order to move our prospects down to the next stage of the funnel. Be it B2B or B2C, The upper end of awareness and lead generation or further down in the decision making process – the question and challenge remain.
So after breaking down numerous briefs and campaigns I found the common denominator to success: Experience.
The experience our audience goes through is what makes them appreciate us and become more engaged (‘US’ as in the brand or company). A good experience makes ‘us’ more memorable, and creates a preference towards our offering and brand. For every stage there is an experience that can actively and measurably move our potential clients down the funnel to the next stage.
From a totally different world, quoting Maya Angelou, to strengthen my point: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. The experience initiates a feeling, which aligns with a rationalizing thought or understanding. And this is eventually played and measured in action. Btw, technology today enables us to track, evaluate and validate the feelings and thoughts our audience has nearly as much as their actions.
So what we actually are speaking of is “The Experience Funnel”. A new funnel that is consistent and aligned with the legacy marketing strategies and sales one – and yet, when hitting the exact and most relevant experience at any stage of the sales and marketing process the two are positively affected. That’s a promise.
The main difference between the sales, marketing and the experience funnels are: The sales and marketing funnels map out the stage and state in which the prospect is in and the sales measurement to which they comply. The experience funnel outlines what should our audience be feeling, or what added value they should perceive in order to move down the funnel. This one is totally about and for them and what needs to be done in order to get to the next stage.
If you want to put theory to practice there are a few tools and thought processes to master. Also some adjustments may be required depending on verticals and industries along with the various personas and the value proposition. However, if you want to give the experience funnel a quick go – try this exercise:
Work with either your marketing or sales funnel to make sure you are serving your business process and goals.
Put the text in the experience funnel into a question mode. For example in the awareness stage as yourself what you need to do in order to make your audience feel smarter. An example in the fashion industry is the most brands upload up to date fashion trends, looks and statements on their home and landing pages – to make their audience feel that ‘the brand, and now the site visitors all know what’s cooking this season. In the SaaS world talk about industry trends and standards – all for the sake of smart water cooler moments.
For industry and vertical based tools, talk to us.