McKinsey says that “Full Funnel” marketing is the new must have for CMO is but is it really? Will it work? 

Let’s set the scene: Marketing activity is divided into one of two camps at the moment – Brand Marketing or Performance Marketing – above the line and below the line to use the old terms. Full funnel marketing essentially says that the funnel starts with the brand marketing and goes all the way through to sale via the performance marketing. To be effective at full funnel marketing an organisation requires a unified set of KPI’s across both areas and collaboration across the teams in order to “activate” customers at all points in funnel. 

However, the first point to note is that not all companies are doing both of these types of marketing and many, particularly in the last year, either have none or have ditched their brand marketing. Brand marketing has a measurement problem. We can’t prove it makes a difference the same way performance marketing can attribute its success. It is much easier for boards to justify cutting the budget. 

This is troubling for CMOs because 83 percent of CEOs look to marketing as a growth engine for the business.” – McKinsey

But performance marketing is also suffering – “performance-marketing returns have recently plateaued or declined, thanks to inflation in digital-media costs and customer saturation in some highly targeted ad markets. In addition, widely available automation tools have commoditized the execution of performance marketing, making it difficult to secure a significant competitive advantage.”

Whilst we agree that you need to market all the way through the funnel, (if for no other reason than you get to more of the market than the 3% ready to buy right now), doing this doesn’t connect the journey for the buyer, and it doesn’t necessarily change a whole lot of what marketeers are already doing.

If your marketing reflects the stages in the funnel as you’ve defined them for your process you cannot hope to meet the needs of your buyer and stage in their buying journey. Why Is this? Simply put, it’s because the funnel steps do not match the buyer’s actual journey steps meaning that you are missing out on vital engagement moments and you are out of synch with their actual buying needs.

Therefore, full funnel marketing must be related to the buying journey and not the sales or marketing processes that you’ve defined. To activate customers at any stage in the funnel you must also know that they are at that stage and what they need at that stage. Our evidence from auditing multiple companies content against a buyer journey is that there is almost always a big gap in the middle of the buyer journey. This gap makes full funnel marketing impossible. To do this successfully you must have the content that will support every step of the buyer’s journey but also this content has to be connected so that the buyer can follow the route to purchase.

Brand marketing fits at the early stages of the buyer journey. And it is at this stage that we can create emotional attachment and loyalty by linking to the customer’s needs and not our products. By connecting the brand content with a buyer journey map which is activated by the performance content, you can provide direct measurement for it. Buyer journey mapping can prove that the brand loyalty affects the conversion rate and why you need the brand marketing budget. 

If you are considering full funnel marketing or wanting to improve your existing approach, where should you start? The first step is to undertake a content audit. This will help you understand if you are supporting your buyer through their full decision-making process or if you are losing them to the competition at a crucial moment.

Contact Us to find out more.