The Marketing Funnel
As discussed in our last article, B2B marketing works on the premise that you are working to convert potential leads into solid customers in as short a time frame as possible. This was explained as three core stages:
- The Awareness Stage
- The Consideration Stage
- The Decision Stage
This is the surface approach to B2B (and B2C) marketing and will be expanded upon in this article, exploring the full 6-stage Funnel Model.
This model incorporates the three stage principles and the conversion of leads into customers, as shown below.
The purpose of this stage is to create an image that is appealing to prospective clients and broadcast the service or product that you are offering within your sector. This is a crucial part of the process because “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and will contribute to the way you are perceived within the industry.
The Awareness Stage is the initial point of contact between consumers and your product or service, which will likely take the form of a large-scale Marketing Campaign. These campaigns could include for example advertising, events, webinars, blog posts, direct mails, and social media posting. Lead generation is the key objective of this stage and is the lifeblood of the funnel model as it creates intrigue around your product or service.
With the Awareness Stage being successful in generating leads, it’s time to intensify interest in your company, service, or product. While the previous stage saw the casting of a wide surface level net to capture a large number of leads, this stage will see you provide a more thorough introduction.
“We see our customers as invited guest to a party, and we’re the host” – Jeff Bezos.
This stage of the funnel is the process of ‘nurturing leads.’ Business relies on relationships and rapport being formed which makes this aspect of this model so key. Leads can be nurtured through in various ways, including emails, industry-targeted online content, webinars, and newsletters, to name a few.
The Consideration Stage is a continuation of the Interest Stage but will see the focus shifting to personalised emails to increase engagement potential. Another method is additional use of targeted content and case studies, as this will demonstrate your expertise within the industry you operate in.
Having now sufficiently nurtured your leads, we move into the conversion aspects of the Funnel Model. The Intent Stage is triggered once the lead expresses an interest in your product or service by interacting with one of the marketing campaign pathways you contacted them through.
This is the Lead’s way of demonstrating Intent and is the green light for you to proceed and contact them directly, which can take the form of a physical meeting, video call or phone call about your service offering.
This is a crucial part of the process as it is the best way for you to develop the relationship between the consumer and your business, and is key to determining whether they proceed.
Ensuring consistent branding across all channels, from your website to your social media profiles is one of the most important parts to achieving your branding goal and it includes the practice of always delivering messages aligned with the core brand values in the same tone.
This allows your audience to develop an affiliation and familiarity with your brand, therefore increasing brand advocacy and affiliation.
Now we have reached the last part of the model! The all-important Purchase Stage. The consumer has made the decision to go ahead with the purchase of your product or service and is fully in the hands of sales team. This process can be potentially self-sustaining if the consumer has a positive experience throughout the Funnel Stages in the form of recommendations and testimonials.
With B2B Marketing the less time it takes to reach the final stage, the stronger your marketing strategy.