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From Digital Journey to Marketing Funnel | Digital marketing for digital dinosaurs.

Last post was about path to purchase and consumer journey.

We discussed how the digital journey helps us figuring out what happens online from the moment people realise they want or need something, up to the moment they actually buy it, use it and form an opinion that they might share with others.

This journey is a tool to describe reality, not reality itself. However it is fundamental, because it help us structuring different marketing activities for different users, that might be in different stages of the journey. Ultimately we are trying to drive them to the purchase stage and become loyal users. By creating meaningful marketing activities, we dramatically improve our chances of success.

Now, let’s move this thinking further, imagine we could sum up all the journeys of our customers.

Imagine we could understand really how many of them are at each stage. how many people are at the awareness stage, and then at the consideration stage etc…

This journey would actually look like a funnel, we can imagine that a lot of people are aware about something but not necessarily everyone buys it and becomes loyal.

So if we could be able to sum up all those journeys we will end up with a funnel where a lot of people enter in the funnel because they might have been exposed to massive communication activities, but a small amount of them would actually arrive to the bottom of the funnel, as organically many people wouldn’t be interested in our offer.

Marketing funnel replicates the concept of P2P or the digital journey. The main difference is that we look at the whole potential buyers as an aggregate.

This approach will make it look like a funnel.

Again this tool is important for brands because it allows to approach different stages with different, but more relevant tools

It is important to separate the view of this funnel between consumers and advertisers.

As consumers we are not conscious we are on a journey.

We just seen something, thought about we need something and there we go. At each stage, as people, we are doing something different, we might not be thinking of any product at all (awareness) or we might already be searching informations about it (consideration).

As advertisers, if we assume that our main objective is to drive people to purchase and make them become loyal customers, we want to know the details of those different stages because, as people will be doing different things, then different marketing activities will be relevant to them and as consequence we should use different tools and set different KPI’s

The marketing funnel is a powerful tool that is widely used in a variety of business categories.

Of course the tool works the best for those type of products and services where the whole or majority of the ecosystem happens to be online. Think for example about online services (music or video streaming for example), e-commerce, education (like this course) or even booking hotel rooms or flights.

When it comes to FMCG, the tool is more relevant for the top and the middle of the funnel as well as loyalty (awareness and consideration), rather than the purchase stage that is still related to a big extent to traditional channels. This however doesn’t undermine its importance in planning for marketing campaigns.

Build our own funnel: what to do

Now let’s get a bit more practical. How do we work with this tools?

We will need to connect the 3 concepts explained before: path to purchase >> digital journey >> marketing funnel

Let’s start from the path to purchase: as digital dinosaurs and FMCG marketers, I believe you should have a map of the path to purchase of your customers. One of those old school analysis of the category you might have done with the planners of your advertising agency.

Well, take that out of the drawer and if you don’t have it, you should create one. How?

  1. We start from data, research experience and interviews to create a top line map. Please note: Each product category AND each target group is characterised by a different map where each phase can be more or less important.

  2. Once created the top line map, we go in details of each phase: each stage contributes to the final outcome in positive or negative terms. We need to know what happens, How important is that stage. What are crucial pain-points? Who are influencers per each stage? This is the phase of our plan where we need to go deep. We do this using experience, collective intelligence and researches.

  3. Once we know what happens in details at each stage, we isolate 2-3 insights or challenges per each phase. This will help us defining core actions: how can we be relevant in this stage? What should we do? Are we operating correctly? How can we use communication to influence people in the most crucial stages (crucial as the ones that are more relevant to bring people to the purchase act)

Again the path to purchase (P2P) becomes an important tool to understand the category, understand what motivates our target in their choice (specifically to that type of products) and this way define core actions.

Once you have your P2P ready, you can look at the digital journey and marketing funnel.

As mentioned those tools are extremely important for us at the awareness and consideration stage.

The logic here is similar to the P2P. We start from the top level map and we then go in details to understand how people use digital to solve the problem that started the journey in the first place.

The main difference here is that we focus on digital landscape.

The other key difference that leads us to the marketing funnel concept, is that we can use specific online tools (most of them are not free) to build that map

I’m by no mean affiliated with any of those tools but you can google and find a lot of them from Hubsopt to Marketo to Geru.

Those are expensive marketing automation solutions that allow us to connect our platforms and automatise a lot of operations as well as strategise them.

If you want some easy hands on tool to get familiar with the idea:

  • here a link to a free online funnel calculator for your reference

  • here you can download an excel file to play with:

Hope you're enjoying those sessions, please feel free to get in touch


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