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Does A Linear Marketing Funnel Exist Anymore?

Businesses with a solid marketing strategy are far more likely to see a successful return on their investment. We’ve spoken about this before– particularly that your funnel needs to be living, breathing and evolving with your customers’ preferences.

But for players who’ve been in business for a while now, you may not realise that the nature of the modern marketing funnel has changed. In fact, some would say marketing can no longer rely on a linear funnel.

A traditional marketing funnel… no more

Digitisation, hyperconnectivity and a general cooling of hard-sell marketing tactics mean we now live in a world where the traditional marketing funnel no longer has a place. This is because it relies on a customer to go through multiple phases individually: awareness, engagement, discovery, purchase and retention.

However, that’s no longer what the consumer wants. Instead, they want the freedom to completely bypass certain phases of the funnel altogether. And you need to adopt a similar mentality if you are going to market to this modern audience successfully.

How are modern customers making purchases?

Consider how a customer today makes a purchase. Let’s say they do a large portion of their shopping online. Rather than only having a choice between one or two different businesses offering similar products, instead they are constantly bombarded with advertising, sales and even direct communications through social media and eDMs – all online, with no ‘downtime’.

This means instead of a typical transactional relationship between buyer and seller, there’s been a market shift to the customer journey. So, you have to nurture your leads and give them something they want. This could be a product, better price than the competition, or simply something they are interested in consuming, like relevant content.

From funnel to loop

In a modern marketing funnel, leads can come from any of the traditional phases. In fact, the marketing funnel as we know it is dead – and that’s a good thing. Why? Because it’s been replaced with the loyalty loop.

This loop encourages repeat purchases and, most importantly for repeat business, takes advantage of the post-sale period – something that is often neglected. Build your marketing around the loyalty loop and you’ll soon come to see why so many business owners want to turn their customers into brand ambassadors.

An omni-channel approach

The bottom line is that to succeed with your marketing tactics, you need to take a multi-channel – or omni-channel – approach. This means:

  • Being where your customers are: To stay relevant in a highly competitive marketplace, you need to know where your customers are. That means spreading yourself across multiple platforms and implementing specific strategies for each. That’s an omni-channel approach.
  • Understanding your audience: The worst thing you can do is expect customers to change their behaviours to match your marketing strategies. Instead, you must pivot to meet consumers’ evolving needs. Stay across what they want, when they want it.
  • Targeting at the right time: Your messages need to be relevant and timely in order to convert. You can use campaign management software to automate tasks and predict when your marketing will hit the hardest.

A case study in multi-channel marketing

ASOS is one of the biggest names in online fashion these days. This should be no surprise when you realise, they were quick to adapt their marketing for a variety of social media touch-points.

 

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After releasing its integrated shopping app on Facebook, the company saw 11 million unique visitors per month accessing their brand. Its 9.4 million Instagram followers receive brand-consistent lifestyle images and new products to buy. Plus it was an early adopter of live-chat functionality, helping build its trustworthy image and generate powerful relationships with consumers.

Still not convinced? Stats don’t lie. Omni-channel B2C campaigns see 24% higher ROI.

Looking to develop a multi-channel strategy to replace your old linear marketing funnel? Contact us to find out how we can help you define a multi-channel strategy to reach modern consumers.

You can also read more about content and social media strategy at The Beat.

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