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Nolan White
Nolan White

Buying Funnel Marketing


The purchase funnel is also often referred to as the "customer funnel", "marketing funnel", "sales funnel", or "conversion funnel". The association of the funnel model with the AIDA concept was first proposed in Bond Salesmanship by William W. Townsend in 1924.[2]




buying funnel marketing



This early model has been modified by marketing consultants and academics to cater to the modern customer and is now referred to in marketing as the "purchase funnel" or "buying funnel". Many different business-to-consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern business-to-business purchase funnel has more stages, considers repurchase intent, and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior.[3][4] As a model, the buying funnel has been validated in a variety of domains, including searching,[5] keyword advertising,[6] and lead generation,[7] but also modified to include previously unconsidered steps and metrics such as outbound sales, Internet impressions.[8]


The purchase funnel concept is used in marketing to guide promotional campaigns targeting different stages of the customer journey and as a basis for customer relationship management (CRM) programs and lead management campaigns.


Similar to a purchase funnel, "conversion funnel" is a technical term used in e-commerce operations to describe the track a consumer takes through an Internet advertising or search system, navigating an e-commerce website and finally converting to a sale.


The modern conversion funnel can have many entrance points, meaning people can enter at any stage of their life-cycle, they can leave and enter again. This is why an effective online marketing strategy requires an omnichannel approach which combines various traffic sources, campaigns and re-engagement paths, and makes them work as one in order to finalize the purchase and even lead to loyal customers or brand advocates.


With careful analysis, a marketing funnel lets you know what your company must do to influence consumers at certain stages. By evaluating your funnels, you can potentially drive greater sales, more loyalty and stronger brand awareness.


The marketing funnel works as a unified whole. This means that every section needs to work perfectly for the journey to be successful. There are many things that reduce friction in their marketing funnel. For instance:


Here, we'll explain what you need to know about the marketing funnel, and dive into recent changes and rising challenges for marketers. I'll compare B2C and B2B uses of the funnel, break down the hype around the marketing vs. sales ownership debate, explain how the funnel can be flipped to create more leads, and explore nonlinear approaches to the funnel.


The marketing funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of turning leads into customers, as understood from a marketing (and sales) perspective. The idea is that, like a funnel, marketers cast a broad net to capture as many leads as possible, and then slowly nurture prospective customers through the purchasing decision, narrowing down these candidates in each stage of the funnel.


Ideally, this marketing funnel would actually be a marketing cylinder, and all of your leads would turn into customers. Though this is not a reality for businesses, it is part of a marketer's job to turn as many leads into customers as possible, thus making the funnel more cylindrical.


It's important to note that there is not a single agreed upon version of the funnel; some have many "stages" while others have few, with different names and actions taken by the business and consumer for each. In the diagram below, we've done our best to pull out the most common and relevant funnel stages, terms, and actions so this information is useful to as many marketers as possible.


Awareness: Awareness is the uppermost stage of the marketing funnel. Potential customers are drawn into this stage through marketing campaigns and consumer research and discovery. Trust and thought leadership is established with events, advertising, trade shows, content (blog posts, infographics, etc.), webinars, direct mail, viral campaigns, social media, search, media mentions, and more. Here, lead generation takes place, as information is collected and leads are pulled into a lead management system for nurturing further down the funnel.


Consideration: In the consideration stage, leads have been changed into marketing qualified leads and are seen as prospective customers. Marketers can send prospects more information about products and offers through automated email campaigns, while continuing to nurture them with targeted content, case studies, free trials, and more.


Intent: To get to the intent stage, prospects must demonstrate that they are interested in buying a brand's product. This can happen in a survey, after a product demo, or when a product is placed in the shopping cart on an ecommerce website. This is an opportunity for marketers to make a strong case for why their product is the best choice for a buyer.


Evaluation: In the evaluation stage, buyers are making a final decision about whether or not to buy a brand's product or services. Typically, marketing and sales work together closely to nurture the decision-making process and convince the buyer that their brand's product is the best choice.