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What is Replacing the Marketing Funnel?

marketing funnelAlmost 70% of companies these days have not used a sales or marketing funnel. It is no surprise, as they are a concept that is over one hundred years old, and in the digital age, we need something new. So, what can you use instead that provides you with a better digital marketing strategy in 2023 and beyond?

This article will help you understand the alternatives to the funnel. We will help you see how the funnel is outdated and what your best new options might be. By the end, you should have a good idea of what direction to go in instead to boost your marketing moving forward.

What is Wrong With the Marketing Funnel?

The marketing funnel can be very useful for startups and small businesses. Still, many of the largest businesses eventually switch to a different method. For example, Amazon grew its business tenfold when it switched to a new model.

It can also help many people learn the basics of marketing and how to start measuring their customer base. Still, it is not good for everything, for example:

Customer Dialogue

While the funnel can give you statistical input on every step of the customer journey, it does not take into account qualitative input. If a customer has specific issues with how you interact with them, you will not see this reflected in the different marketing funnel stages.

No Information on Retention

The marketing funnel is a one-way trip. It watches to see how a customer acts and where they fall off in the journey to buying a single item or service. It does not watch to see if they later no longer wish to engage with you.

In a world where subscription services are key, and when you want to sell several items to someone, this is no longer enough. You want to track how well your customer base grows as they continue to buy from you over a longer period. While different types of marketing funnels may hint at this, none deal with it in a satisfactory way.

The Funnel is Too Straightforward

While the funnel works in one direction, in reality not all customers engage with a product in that way. You need a model that shows how a customer might bounce between sections of a journey or even skip them wholesale. You also need to see how each section might affect others for many different reasons, which a funnel does not do.

A Marketing Loop Vs. a Marketing Funnel

With the marketing loop, or “flywheel”, you can instead start planning for a new type of digital marketing strategy. This new strategy takes growth and constant improvement into account, allowing you to expand over time.

It also acts as a constant and iterative model that cycles the same customers through its processes more than once. This even works if those you bring in fall off the model only to return later.

The marketing loop has three main sections, each of which builds upon the previous one. Different companies may use different loops, though one of the more common has these sections:

Attract Customers

Here, you bring in people who might have an interest in what you have to offer. The intent is to grab, or “earn”, people’s attention by them noticing something you can do to help them somewhere in life.

This is not meant to be an easy win, but something you strive for. It should be a natural method of bringing people to you instead of forcing them to notice you through awkward strategies.

Attract engages with marketing, SEO, organic reach, and targeted, paid ads. Each of these will point to a different type of customer and bring them in in different ways. This is in contrast to a marketing funnel, where you might only focus on one method of encouraging people to notice you.

Engage With Customers

Engagement is when you remove all barriers for customers who wish to buy your product or service. Through doing this, they can engage with you in the manner they see fit.

Such engagement might be through more than one channel, such as using both websites and apps. Or, it might be by seeing entertaining or informative content you create on social media.

The intent is to start to create a parasocial relationship with the client, where they start to believe you have their best interests at heart. They will then become interested in your product or brand.

This is different from the marketing funnel, which is only about a single sale. Instead, you want to grow a relationship with the client to allow you to build on that engagement in the future.

Delight Customers

In the delight phase, you are trying to empower people to complete a task. This is most likely related to your USP or product, as you want to delight people with the thing that will bring them back to you. In theory, your greatest goal is for them to succeed at what they need to do.

Another reason you want to delight customers is to get them to have enough excitement about you to talk to their peers about what you do. This turns them from fans into evangelists.

The whole process should continue to cycle around. As you show customers how you want to invest in their success, they will go back around the loop again.

This leads to a longer retention period and a system of customer growth. As the average company loses up to 25% of its customers each year, keeping people on board can be very important.

These customers will also leave good reviews for you, talk about you on social media, or give you invested feedback. Your SEO will then grows and you will learn valuable insights into your most invested customers. Thus, your products or services will start to market themselves.

Help With Your Future Marketing Plans

It does not matter whether you use a marketing funnel or loop if you do not have the time or experience to engage with either. Marketing your products and services takes time which you might not have, or you might not know where to start. This is where we come in.

We can help you form a digital marketing strategy to help your business grow. Over time, we can start to build up your image and bring you to a place you can feel proud of. All you need to do is give us a call and we can start you down that path.

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