Beyond the traditional marketing funnel — a new formula for growth

My Post1.jpgGoogle’s President of the Americas Allan Thygesen explains how intent-rich moments are altering the shape of the marketing funnel.

Marketing has always been about driving growth. And the formula for how to drive growth in today’s market has changed.

As marketers, we were taught to master the funnel — a linear customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase. And using mass media, the key levers to drive growth were reach and frequency. We used demographics to approximate user intent and inform our targeting and creative.

But this model no longer applies to today’s customer journeys. In the last six months, Google looked at thousands of users’ clickstream data from a third-party opt-in panel. We found that no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more. Digital technology and mobile devices have put people in control. We all now expect an immediate answer in the moments we want to know, go, do, and buy. And all of these intent-rich moments are creating journey shapes as unique as each of us. In many ways, intent is redefining the marketing funnel.

Let me explain. Take the example of Jill, a 25-year-old from Tennessee. She’s shopping for some new makeup after learning from a friend that the products she’s been using for years may be irritating her sensitive skin.

 

Her journey starts off with a flurry of Google searches where she learns that she needs hypoallergenic and aluminum-free products. Then, she quickly narrows her search to a handful of promising brands. Pretty predictable funnel-type behavior, right?

Not quite. She then broadens her search again by looking for “makeup brands without aluminum.” We see Jill’s consideration set expand and narrow several times as she researches brands on Google and watches YouTube videos over the next two months — yes, two months. She’s more undecided than ever.

Jill explored a number of retailers and brand websites over this time period, but ultimately it was Ulta Beauty’s loyalty program “Ultamate Rewards” that won her over. Results from searches for that retailer’s “rewards” and “rewards birthday gift” seal the deal. Her next move? A search for that retailer’s locations. – Read more