Marketing is getting increasingly complex.
The marketing funnel is no longer linear, it has changed:
Typical marketing funnels, like the one shown at the top of this excellent Forrester graphic, were largely based on a groundbreaking article published by American academics Lavidge and Steiner in 1961.
1961 was before my time – but I’m told that in 1961 there were 3 television networks in the US. Clearly a lot has changed in the marketing landscape since then.
The ‘new funnel’ represented in the lower portion of the graphic shows the impact of peer reviews, competitive alternatives, recommendations from peers and user-generated content.
This is infinitely complex because there are literally thousands of different ways to engage. I don't even think it's accurate to call it a 'funnel' anymore, it's more like a giant subway map - our prospects and clients could enter and exit at multiple different points. This is all due to Web 2.0 and social media having turned the communications landscape on its head in the last ten years. Prospects and clients now source information, make decisions and get influenced in very different ways.
As a result, I believe as marketers, we need to integrate our activities into a consolidated, integrated map that creates a positive user experience along the engagement journey – providing touch points when, where and how our prospects or clients want to engage, i.e. on their terms, not ours.
To do this requires a lot of thought - not just the ability to implement activities, but real insight and strategic planning ability.
Do you think today's marketers are strategic enough?