The marketing funnel is dead…check. What's next?

Posted by Ed Anderson on Dec 2, 2014 11:31:00 AM
Ed Anderson

Some of us grew up with the traditional marketing funnel:


In the good old days you used push advertising on TV to create awareness and maybe if you're really good you achieive differentiation, which drives traffic into your stores, and newspaper advertising to create urgency to buy. Ok, it's slightly more complicated. P&G won the war on purchase insight with the first and second moment of truth: the first moment takes less than 7 seconds and that's how long it takes to make a purchase decision at the shelf. The second moment is when you first use a new product...which, according to urban legend means the buyer becomes a promoter of the product if everything goes well. But that description, along with the marketing funnel are just sooo yesterday.

What killed the traditional Sales Funnel?


Two tsunamis: search and social media. Fleishman-Hillard found that 89 percent of consumers turn to Google, Bing or another search engine to find information on products, services or businesses prior to making purchases. And social media: 62 percent also research on Facebook before buying. Add in the demise of newspapers and with it a 75% decline in newspaper advertising, and you have the whole picture of the death of the traditional sales funnel for B2C.

The fact that so many buyers first step in the purchase journey is a search led Google to declare search the ZMOT, or the zero moment of truth because it precedes the purchase decision at the shelf. Here are some of the common steps consumers take during the Zero Moment of Truth(see slide #6):


Needed Next: An intelligent strategic weapon


You could make a case that the combination of search, reviews, and social media on line accelerated the shift in buying to e-commerce and resulted in less traffic in stores. Haley Rushing, chief purposologist at the Purpose Institute, a division of Austin-based Ad Agency GSD&M, makes a great point that retailers need an intelligent strategic weapon to combat this situation:

  • "When I think about the future of have low cost providers on the one hand like the Walmarts, and you have high-end customer service/experience-driven brands like Nordstrom...
  • Then you have this vast sea of retailers in the middle..And all of them that aren't built around a highly differentiated customer-service proposition or a really over the top in-store experience or low cost model--they need competitive weapons at their disposal or its going to be really hard to compete going forward
  • So that's what intrigued me about gives all of these retail players a really intelligent strategic weapon to use to reach consumers in an intelligent way
  • I've sat in hundreds of focus groups of retail consumers, especially women, and the intention is always people talking about getting the lowest price as an important driver of where they shop, but every Mom I know has very hard time remembering to take the coupons with them in their purse when they go to the store...
  • It's always the intention, but it rarely happens
  • So the idea that you could just go into the retailer of your choice and be liberated from the hassle of having to carry around paper and have a retailer that is smart enough to be on your side and helping you get the prices you want without having to deal with the hassle of the paper--that idea is going to be big."

At Shelfbucks, we think there may be more turns on this idea. Specifically we think there may be three phases of evolution in the shopping experience, the first of which is described above, and the representation of these phases is this:


For a brief discussion on how to plan the pilot phase and the rollout, refer to these blog posts:

Craft several pilot tests when beginning the iBeacon journey.

Start with your shopper in mind when considering iBeacon rollout plans.

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