October 8, 2018
New Marketing Funnel
From observing thousands of users’ data, Google has discovered a new formula for growth that transcends the traditional marketing funnel.
Out with the old and in with the new
If you’re a business that relies on customer growth, whether that be for conversions or sales, most likely you have a marketing funnel. The marketing funnel represents your customer’s journey from prospect to customer, but in practice, building this journey is a lot more complex.
In 1924, the marketing funnel was defined by a four-letter acronym: AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action). Today, people still rely on that same concept and have transformed the funnel into an hourglass, pyramid or diamond, depending on who their customer is and what their intentions are.
But now, according to Google, you can forget that whole concept. Throw out the shape and the linear pattern of your marketing funnel as there’s a new formula on the scene.
Findings from Google
Six months ago, Google observed thousands of users’ clickstream data from a third-party opt-in panel. By analyzing this data, Google discovered that no two customer journeys are the same and most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all — not even an hourglass, diamond or pyramid. In fact, the journeys were as unique as people themselves.
People don’t make decisions in a linear or funnel-like format. Instead, consumers narrow and broaden their searches, jumping from keyword research to market comparisons, location and price. They make decisions from viewing content on social media, follow-up emails, free trials, case studies, landing pages, etc.
For example, take this airline customer journey:
It’s the holiday season, and people are looking to book their perfect family vacation. A consumer might search for tropical destinations, review the cost of flights and then talk about hotel options with their family. They might have to wait a month before their leave is approved and then wait again until they find and book the right hotel. In between, they also consider if driving would be a more affordable option and review car rental companies. Two months after their initial search, they compare airline providers and finally make a decision and book.
Potential customers search across multiple verticals and categories until they make a purchase. Their consideration is set in moments, which doesn’t fit into the linear marketing funnel. This means that marketers really need to know who their customers are and predict where they might search, what they might search for and what considerations will impact the ultimate purchase decision.
How do brands influence the outcome of consumer choice?
According to Google, consumers choose to engage with brands that are relevant, helpful and personal. When people can count on brands, brands can count on growth.
To influence your customer’s choice, it’s all about creating a marketing strategy that understands your customer; their needs, desires, wants and aspirations. It’s not a cookie cutter exercise as there’s not one customer who fits every journey.
This is where marketing automation comes in. Marketing automation software gives marketers the ability to segment their audience and provide relevant, helpful and personalized content. Based on real-time behavior, marketing automation software identifies what type of customer is visiting your website, whether they’re at the awareness stage or have already entered the sales cycle. Based on your customer, you can create multiple journeys that nurture or convert.
The new marketing 2018 funnel is all about predicting customer intent and anticipating their needs. Learn more about how Autopilot helps you personalize your content and automate the entire customer journey.