Funnel vision! Why marketers need to see the bigger, strategic picture and not neglect brand

Posted on
June 5, 2024
Posted by
Posted in
Digital Marketing
Pexels spiral

There is much discussion amongst marketing professionals around whether the traditional sales funnel is now an outdated concept.

The model, used to chart a customer journey from prospect through to conversion – and, increasingly, beyond – has undeniably been challenged by shifts in behaviour, prompted, largely, by the growth of digital.

But whilst increased access to information, a proliferation of channels and touchpoints and a developing preference amongst consumers for greater personalisation and values-based interaction is causing marketers to re-evaluate the previously linear path through the funnel, there is still merit in stage-by-stage analysis of how a business influences those to whom it wishes to sell.

We would argue that the more important debate is not over the worth of the funnel itself but why so many businesses choose to concentrate on it – and the tactics they employ to nudge customers along its course – at the expense of a more strategic approach to marketing.

Grey Simple Modern 5 Layers Funnel Diagram Chart Graph 2

The simplistic, short-term attraction of throwing activity at the funnel is cleardo more around awareness and consideration and sales will follow, right? We also understand the appeal of funnel marketing for those who need to demonstrate the return on their investment and who feel that ‘X’ in at the top can be recorded as generating ‘Y’ out of the bottom.

Of course, it’s not always quite that straightforward! But, in principle, there’s nothing wrong with either of these desires and we use the funnel approach ourselves when working on behalf of many clients.

However, we would never recommend such tactics unless they formed part of a joined-up marketing strategy – one which looks beyond the transactional and considers the benefits of building a client’s brand.

Research shows that only a tiny proportion of a business’s prospective customers are actually in the market to buy at any one time. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute puts the number at just five per cent – meaning that 95 per cent simply aren’t interested in purchasing at that given moment … however good a firm’s activity within the funnel is.

But building a powerful brand means there’s more chance that when they are looking to buy it will be your business they seek out.

Here are six reasons why investing in your brand makes strategic sense:

  1. Long-term loyalty and increased trust – strong brands build emotional connections with customers, encouraging repeat business and increasing the lifetime value of consumers.Consistent brand-building also helps establish credibility, making clients more likely to choose your product or service over competitors.
  2. Higher perceived value and reduced price sensitivity – a well-established brand can often command higher prices and generate greater margins due to perceptions of quality and trust.Loyal customers are also less likely to be swayed by competitor pricing, focusing instead on the value and experience your brand provides.
  3. Market differentiation, increased referrals and brand advocacy – strong branding helps distinguish your products or services, making it easier to stand out from your competitors. Italso generates more word-of-mouth marketing and organic referrals and can inspire advocacy, turning customers into brand ambassadors.
  4. Reduced vulnerability – established brands are less reliant on individual communications channels, which they may not be able to fully control, and are better equipped to withstand external challenges, such as economic downturns.
  5. Employee attraction and retention – strong brands are a magnet for top talent, who are drawn to companies with positive reputations and clear values.
  6. Increased marketing efficiency good branding creates a solid foundation for all other marketing activity, making campaigns more effective and creating cohesion across different channels.
Grey Simple Modern 5 Layers Funnel Diagram Chart Graph 1

At Purpose Media, we utilise a strategic framework to take the guesswork out of helping our clients drive growth. This insight-led approach aligns marketing activity with business goals, considers audience, channels, execution, measurement and, of course, brand.

We analyse a client’s history, their products/services, their objectives and market position to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

We review target audiences, developing personas which profile key customers and understand their needs and behaviours.

We assess existing client assets, considering UX, content quality and technical performance, and evaluate the most effective marketing channels, ensuring proposed activity on each is optimised for reach, engagement and effectiveness and is part of a cohesive overall approach.

And we conduct a thorough audit of the client’s brand, checking identity, messaging, effectiveness and addressing any issues with perception or delivery.

Then we set clear KPIs which measure the growth and ROI achieved

So, next time you’re considering the effectiveness of your efforts in the sales funnel, whichever variation you use, reflect on whether your activity – and investment – is driven by a clear strategy which also supports long-term development of your brand.

If not, give us a call.