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The sales funnel. It all seems so smooth and simple, doesn’t it? Lots of prospects come in through the top, only to move in various, predictable stages like “Awareness” and “Discovery” only to come out the bottom as loyal, committed customers.
Except the reality of today’s sales and customer experience process is anything like that.
Things like brand advocacy, social media, and even our own experiences have changed the way we market to others. Why then should we stay stuck in this rigid, old funnel structure?
We shouldn’t – and today’s article will show you why.
According to the Harvard Business Review, there are a myriad of ways that people learn of and interact with a product. There are even times when customers don’t come through the top of the funnel, but rather somewhere in the middle.
A typical marketing funnel starts with more customers in the “Awareness” stage and ends with fewer in the “Retention” phaseLet’s say you were in the market for a new pair of running shoes. A friend recommends a specific brand and links to them on Facebook. On their page you can see user comments and testimonials as well as active discussions. You’ve just completely passed the Awareness and Discovery parts of the funnel and moved on to Engagement and likely even Purchase – because a recommendation from someone you trust is that valuable to you.
On your way to purchase these shoes, the company recommends some specialized insoles to help cushion your feet. Great idea. Now you’ve instantly moved from consideration to purchase. It’s also possible that you could go back and forth between funnel stages while you evaluate different products or brands.
And with networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest always available at the tap of a button, the traditional sales funnel we all know and refer to ends up looking more like a pretzel, with twists, turns and overlaps at every corner.
Users will often double-back on their decisions, or switch between two points instantly
Moving the Focus from Transaction to Relationship
According to Antonio Lucio, Chief Brand Officer at Visa, the end goal is to shift priority from the transaction to the customer relationship. To that end, Visa has created the “Customer Experience Journey” which looks at the process from transactions being a part of the customer relationship rather than the customer relationship being viewed purely in terms of transactions.
He gives the example of a family planning a trip from the U.S. to Mexico. Visa has mapped out the whole experience:
- Family gets ideas on where to go from TripAdvisor
- Family gathers suggestions from friends on Facebook
- Family decides to get cash from an ATM to pay for their cab
- Family pays for their hotel via their Visa credit card
- Family shares photos of trip with friends back home via Instagram
You may see this list and think “Well, Visa is part of only one of these options” – which is true when you’re looking at each one as a transaction.
But step back a moment and look at the bigger picture. Every one of these points is conducive to building and nurturing the relationship with the customer. The transaction itself is just a small piece of the puzzle and not the end goal. According to Lucio, “[w]hen you change from decision to engagement, you change the entire model.”
So What Does This Have to Do With Conversion Rate?
Here again, if you’re looking at the funnel purely from a revenue point of view, or spending too much time focusing on transactions, the customer experience gets lost in the shuffle. It becomes too much of a focus to think only of the numbers and not of the people driving them. If you zero in on numbers alone, you miss out on so much more. Just look at brands like Tesla Motors on Facebook. Do you think there are nearly 1.5 million Tesla owners?
Tesla Motors has nearly 1.5 million followers – not all of them customersNot yet – but these people admire what the company has been able to build and the values they stand for. All of those things feed back into the brand itself and create the customer experience. Even digital products and services like SaaS and mobile apps can benefit from this adjusted funnel. As the Harvard article explains, with traditional funnels, marketing is a separate entity. With SaaS and other platforms, the marketing and the service go hand in hand.
Marketing with SaaS
The Salesforce AppExchange, for instance, doesn’t just look at the process as “how do we market this?” but rather, “how do we add value to this so that the things we recommend market for us?” Many of the apps profiled here weren’t made by Salesforce, but Salesforce and the apps it works with form a kind of symbiotic relationship where both parties win.
Not all apps featured on the AppExchange were built by Salesforce, but all of them use it to enable their own customer experience journeysAnother example is Google. What started out as solely a search engine has branched out to become a search engine, email service, word processor, storage service and countless other services, all entwined under a single brand umbrella. Every service plays well with other services – making it faster and easier for us to create, communicate and share. And our brains thrive on faster and easier.
Sure, there are other search engines out there, even other companies that have just as much influence as Google. But they don’t integrate in a way that makes our experience faster, easier or better. When was the last time you found exactly what you needed within seconds, using Bing?
The Bottom Line on Funnels and Conversion Rates
As the Harvard article says, the traditional funnel isn’t going away anytime soon. There are still products and services out there that gain new customers this way. But to overlay and apply that to our more open, two-way communication world is just trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. It’s not flexible, not adaptive, and just doesn’t work – leading to poor experiences for everyone.
When you look at marketing as the multi-faceted beast it is, you’ll be able to create your own funnel “roadmap” that incorporates all the steps you need to engage and empower your customers in a way where everyone wins.
What are your thoughts? Have you thrown out the traditional funnel in favor of another sales model? Which one did you choose and how did it work for you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today! Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!
The ANZ Bank’s launch of its new Apple Pay service has been hijacked by an online troll who has edited it to show a supermarket being blown up to the chant Allahu Ahkbar.
The bank launched the new ad on Sunday night showing a man of South Asian appearance strolling through a supermarket to a purchase a carton of milk, holding up his phone at the checkout to indicate he will use Apple Pay, leading all the other customers in the shop to stop and stare for a moment.
In the edited version the milk has been crudely labelled as a bomb, with the phone photoshopped with an Isis flag on it. An Arabic song plays in the background before he taps his phone and there is a the scream of Allahu Ahkbar and an explosion.
The ad has then been edited to show a burning toy building as the chants continue, accompanied by gunfire.
It then cuts to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders with Clinton laughing maniacally.
The ad was posted on YouTube under the headline ‘New ANZ Commercial’ by a user who appears to be from the USA: Austin H.
Mumbrella has contacted ANZ and is awaiting a comment.
The original ad:
The post YouTube troll hijacks ANZ new Apple Pay ad to make lead actor look like jihadi terrorist appeared first on mUmBRELLA.
Are you starting from scratch with social media? Got a new product or a new business? Having a social media launch plan is essential. In this article you’ll discover a step-by-step plan for launching your new social media presence. #1: 12 Weeks Before Launch: Choose Your Social Platforms A few weeks before launch, choose which […]
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Night two of the Australian Open saw 1.198m tune in to see retiring former champion Lleyton Hewitt defeat fellow Australian James Duckworth, handing Seven an easy win with a share of 29.7 per cent in the absence of Ten’s Big Bash.The prospect of what may have been Hewitt’s final game at the tournament enticed nearly twice as many viewers to tune in from 7pm for the coverage, compared to the first evening’s match featuring Nick Kyrgios.
Nine could only muster half of Seven’s audience share of 14.7 per cent in second spot while Ten managed a share of 10.7 per cent. The ABC settled for a share of 9.4 per cent.
Night two of the Australian Open was the most-watched program across the key advertising demographics (16-39, 18-49 and 25-54).
News was the second most-watched program after the tennis, with Seven News at 6pm drawing a crowd of 951,000, dipping to 885,000 from 6.30pm.
Nine News at 6pm was watched by 925,000, sliding to 896,000 at 6.30pm
Nine’s repeat of The Big Bang Theory at 7.30pm was the eighth most-watched program of the evening, pulling in a metro audience of 600,000
Ten’s Territory Cops, which went up against The Big Bang Theory at 7.30pm, had a metro audience of 363,000.
It was out-rated by the ABC’s 7.30 Summer which was watched by 570,000.
In the 8pm timeslot, Nine’s Border Rico was watched by 374,000 while the ABC’s Kangaroo Dundee grabbed 398,000.
Ten’s repeat of NCIS at 8.30 was watched by 377,000.
The post Lleyton Hewitt’s Aussie clash draws more than 1m viewers in night two of the Australian Open appeared first on mUmBRELLA.
Never stop exploring, that’s what North Face’s interactive light installation called “Ascent” visualises, an art installation that both blurs and highlights its surroundings in nature, aiming to inspire and excite. A mesmerising sight of smooth lines and soft light, the sculpture creates a harmonious relationship between human aesthetic and the natural landscape in which it […]
When Black Friday’s over, have you ever wondered what happens to the unsold toys left on the shelf? Tom Jenkins & Simon Sharp, aka Sharp & Jenkins, have produced “Happy Place”, a short film exploring the fantasies of unsold toys. Filmed in the UK and Nevada, USA, “Happy Place” shows a radio controlled Maisto Rock Crawler travelling to a far-off destination to engage in off-road action and on-road racing. Happy Place follows on from the viral success of the Google Streetview film Address Is Approximate and projected car chase The World’s Tiniest Police Chase.
Making Happy Place
Happy Place was shot in-camera over six months. Forced perspective scenes, such as when the car sees other giant toys in the desert, were achieved by placing real toys right next to the camera, sometimes touching the lens. To prevent them being out of focus a pinhole photography technique was used to provide an infinite depth-of-field. Tiny round metal discs, with a pinhole punched through the centre, were stuck behind the camera lens. Normally this wouldn’t allow anywhere near enough light into the camera, but by using the new Sony A7s DSLR Tom and Simon could use its sensitivity to capture what light came through the pinhole. This technique allows little things placed on the camera lens to look huge. A DJI Phantom drone was used to film in the desert. At times the drone was hand-held above the ground to make use of its gimbal.