Many marketers have funnel-vision. We learn to see our customers in a linear path. Our job is to systematically move customers from step to step. The rise of data-driven marketing has made it easier to measure and improve the performance of each stage.
In theory, this model keeps marketers focused on activities that lead to results. In practice, the funnel can be transactional and short-sighted. The funnel can lead marketers to heavy-handed tactics, like click-baiting, spam, or bait-and-switch offers.
We have to be really careful which metrics are ultimately the most important for the business. What drives a conversion may not be the best in the long-term for the brand. It can also lead businesses to overlook the value of existing customers in favor of new user acquisition.
This cartoon and post was partly inspired by an article (and doodle) from MailChimp founder, Ben Chestnut, where he compares the classic marketing funnel to a meat grinder. He advocates flipping the funnel (an idea long touted by Seth Godin, Joseph Jaffe, and others).
“We discovered this “upside down funnel” approach in the early days, and never really grew out of it (because it’s worked). When you see our strange billboards that don’t even say our name, or when you see our random “high five” shirts, vinyl toys, or hear ridiculous radio ads, just know that they defy logic because they’re for our existing customers. We’re not going for new leads, let alone conversions or whatever they teach you in Marketing 101. We’re going for customer service. Which, by the way, leads to leads.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on working with marketing funnels.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)