Our VP of Marketing, Mark Lippert, is a great guy. Funny. Smart. Curious. But that’s not why we’re writing. We’re writing because Mark recently attended a marketing leadership forum in California that was all about marketing trends. It was good stuff, so we thought we’d pass along a particularly useful nugget here.
It seems the traditional sales funnel we all know is dead. The good news is that it’s been replaced by a circle of continuous customer engagement—with infinite opportunities to influence and deepen brand loyalty.
The old way
Once upon a time, marketers used the “sales funnel” approach to reach consumers at the most influential moments in their purchasing decisions. At the “top” of the funnel, marketers cast a wide net of awareness about their brand to the broadest group possible—and then funneled interested consumers through a series of strategic moments of truth to convert them. It was very linear.
But digital marketing has disrupted these moments of truth, forever changing the way people research and buy products. 70% of consumers now use product reviews to make purchases, for example. And 79% of consumers use a smart phone to help them make product decisions way before they even engage a brick and mortar business or e-tailer.
The new way
The consumer journey is now cyclical and infinite because today’s customers are still often actively engaged with the brand—as well as their friends and peers—after they’ve bought a product or service using social media and the Web.
What does it all mean? It means marketers need to manage all touchpoints of the customer experience—from their online and offline presence to the post-purchase experience (e.g. loyalty programs). It means marketers need to listen to their customers. Know them. Study them. Anticipate and meet their needs. Design programs that matter to them. Make every interaction count.