Reincarnation Of The Funnel As We Thought We Knew It

August 8, 2014

Marketing is one of the most complex things in the world. It consists of numerous disciplines – from literature and art to sociology and psychology. They all work together, complementing and influencing each other in complicated ways.

Yet many marketers tend to fall back on lead numbers and conversion figure spreadsheets to identify the issues, instead of looking at the customer journeys they relate to, and where and why marketing isn't working hard enough at bringing prospects into the funnel.

Don't get me wrong, numbers are important. If you spend X amount of money on your marketing, you want facts and figures to prove that it's money well spent. But you also need to remember not to confuse these numbers with reality; you mustn't lose sight of what's really important: your brand and genuinely making a name for your business; where your brand touches your customer and at what point in the ever-cluttered landscape. The 'funnel process' way of thinking, where everything comes through the funnel at the right point, is no longer relevant; it's more like a complex diagram of a two-way sieve all falling into a funnel-shaped pot!

For example, metrics such as your 'conversion funnel' could help pin-point potential issues within the customer experience, but it won't tell you whether your logo is out of date and that's the reason people are choosing another, more modern-looking, brand over yours.

I read an article on the MarketingProfs website last week that discussed the purpose of measuring. Instead of measuring for measurement's sake, it said, the best marketers out there will tie metrics to your brand's impact. The three key considerations they made were:

- Defining the data. If going for the 'customer value and capture approach' we may need to do more than just change the metrics; it could require us to change the types of data we collect.

- Focusing on customer intelligence. When looking at data, we may need to hone in on customer intelligence – this includes buying criteria and processes, touchpoints, customer supplier and channel preferences. Once strengths and weaknesses are assessed, we can design an efficient approach for measuring customer value creation and capture.

- Establishing the correct metrics. This will help fine-tune initiatives, ensuring our precious limited resources (including our time and energy) are used in the best way. While it's not easy, and there are bound to be challenges along the way, these types of metrics allow us to measure how well we are achieving marketing's purpose.

Ultimately, metrics are a huge piece of the jigsaw puzzle; but figures are not good enough on their own to make solid marketing decisions. Everything that can be measured should be, but you need to recognise that they're only a partial view of a complex situation.