A pivotal concept of marketing and sales is the funnel – through which companies systematically move prospects along the buyer’s journey: from awareness through consideration and on to purchase. But with prospects now better educated, connected, and empowered than ever, the funnel is also dramatically and rapidly changing. Can marketers still rely solely on the funnel? Our data suggests otherwise. Here’s how to optimize conversions on non-linear marketing funnels:
The funnel is part of the buyer’s journey, also known as the customer journey, which has significantly changed due to technology and access to information. Plenty of research has been written about it, by top research bodies such as Forrester and CEB. They seem to agree that most of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even contacts a vendor or brand. Furthermore, the journey now spreads over more channels and events, making attribution even harder than before. Here is a good summary by McKinsey & Co.:
Since attribution across the different channels is so difficult, marketers tend to focus on what they can monitor and manipulate: how prospective customers behave when they appear as anonymous visitors at their online doorstep, or as we humans call it, the website. Here, in a more controlled environment, online marketers constantly improve the output of their funnel through optimization of every part of it. And since everything is supposed to be measurable and under control, the changing nature of the marketing funnel is felt the most.
The rise of the non linear funnel
Some look at the new funnel as a change to the traditional roles of the team. Steve Patrizi thinks this is