Is the Funnel really dead in local marketing?
I read a lot of chatter in the marketing world on the elusive nature of the modern consumer. Pick up a copy of Inc. or scan a marketing blog and you see how technology is changing everything. It seems impossible to predict exactly how a potential customer finds you and decides to buy from you. The marketplace is different. It is fluid and unpredictable. We live in unique times.
I am fine with this. No problem at all.
But a mistake happens. And it happens over and over again. In our quest to stay cutting-edge and innovative, we lose sight of the fundamentals that have always formed the building blocks for successful local marketing. Rather than helping, the new theories, models, and tools often just distract us from the work at hand. Our fundamentals get lazy. We over-complicate strategy and measure far too many metrics that hold little value. Unfortunately, with the power of new technologies, there is no sign of this slowing down.
I want to flip this around, and propose that local marketing needs to simplify and slow down. It really needs to get back to the basics, and the basics mean the classic Marketing Funnel model.
A story to bring this home…
I was having coffee with another Brandery alum the other day, and we were discussing the conversion and buying process for customers at Jersey Watch. If you are not familiar, Jersey Watch is beginning to scale up and it is now time we get systematic with how we approach lead generation and our inbound marketing strategy. The conversation was rolling along, and really helpful, but the takeaway that stuck with me was how simple my friend described the buying journey. He offered 3 steps and suggested I nail them down first and foremost.
Awareness -> Consideration -> Decision
Awareness: If we keep it really simple, awareness in our world is getting qualified leads to our website. Our website is where leads learn about our product and company. Let’s cut away all the other noise, we need to increase the traffic to our site. Got it. That is what we are going to focus on this spring. For the youth sports side of our business, thinking strategically about awareness leads to these types of questions…
- Are we on the radar of local youth sports coaches and administrators?
- Do they know our services are even available?
- How do they hear about us?
- What online channels can we build to drive traffic to our website?
- What activities are we doing to generate awareness?
Consideration: We define the consideration stage as when a lead visits our website, evaluates our offerings, researches our background, schedules a demo, up until the point they want to move forward or say “no”. This spring, we want to simplify our messaging and make it easier for leads to decide whether Jersey Watch is something that can improve their life. If the fit is wrong for them, that is fine, but they should be able to consider that relatively quickly. In a few months our new website will go live and we will begin testing a variety of tactics to improve this stage in the journey. I am excited to see the results.
Decision: Trust has been built, our product explained and credibility established. Now our lead wants to purchase. They want to get started and moving right away. For a sports organization, we guarantee a 24 hour turn-around for their new site. The on-boarding process is fast, systematized and our processes are in place. But we can still improve in this step. What if administrators could self-service, upload their logo and domain details, and go live in 5 minutes? Can we build a frictionless decision and on-boarding process that is even better? I believe we can… stay tuned for this soon!
Each business is different, but the fundamentals of the funnel are not going away. Let’s be real, your marketing needs aren’t like those at Visa, Amazon and Twitter. You don’t need to scrap the “old school” funnel. In fact, it’s probably time you give a fresh look at the simple key phases in the funnel that your potential customers are working through.
At Jersey Watch, we are going to keep this simple, and remain focused on three main steps. For our funnel, less is more. I suggest you do the same.