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Blogpost - January 20, 2016

A new marketing era, a new marketing funnel

Marketing models have been here for ages. They have developed into several versions, because consumption and brand interactions have developed as well.

A new marketing era, a new marketing funnel

Marketing models have been here for ages. They have developed into several versions, because consumption and brand interactions have developed as well. It is time for a new take on the “marketing funnel”.

As all the digital developments are getting more and more connected, all kinds of opportunities arise. Keeping track of users via digital channels is becoming more and more complex. As customer centricity is taking off, there is one piece of theory that is still untouched. The marketing model. All model iterations are two dimensional models, they are lacking a third dimension.

The hourglass marketing model


The oldschool AIDA funnel developed into an hourglass, this was partly due to the rise of social media. Fanbases made it very tactile for brands to develop interaction with fans and ambassadors. The first time that a customer journey did not stop at the conversion (as AIDA did).

The hourglass still remained lineair. Something the customer decision journey (CDJ) changed.

The Customer Decision Journey model


The CDJ recognised that bonding buyers and fans had significant impact on the journey of customers. By bonding them and making people become repeat buyers is a lucrative way of increasing sales. It also visualized that focus on bonding customers on a personal level could also benefit by saving on expensive media buy to gain new customers. There are a lot of studies that show that keeping customers coming back is more cost-efficiënt than gaining new customers.

But still there is a dimension lacking in this model. It is not a conversion by a bondend customer nor a conversion by a new customer. There are bonded or engaged customers in multiple levels and degrees. In an age where customer centricity is becoming the norm, it is necessary to give customer bonding a more crucial role in this customer journey model. That is why the CDJ should evolve into something three dimensional. A new take on the model; Let’s call it the Tornado model.

In short: it is a stretched version of the CDJ.

The Tornado model


The black line is a journey of someone who addresses a problem to be solved (someone in market for a product or service).

The black line starts wide as people research the market and try to find best solutions for their problem. With the always-on customer a journey starts instantly when an intention arises (e.g. a friend shows a product, or a blog post about a service). As interactions with a brand increase (also a conversion may take place) the deeper someone gets into the tornado. A negative interaction can lead to someone being uplifted. A series of positive interactions can lead someone deeper into the tornado. The deeper into the tornado the more trusted interactions someone will have with the brand and the more likely they will become (or stay) repeated buyers.

A short explanation on three dimensions within this model (T, B & V).

The Tornado model explained

T is for Trust.

The more relevant interactions, the more trust a brand builds towards this person. The more trust, the more interaction with a brand. In the bottom part the brand creates customer curation. People decide to follow you as a brand and they are recognizing that you listen to them. Their feedback is the brand’s fuel to optimise products and interactions. The more you incorporate the voice of your existing customers into the products and services the more you will be recognized by them. This will build trust.

B is for Buzz

The more interactions people have, the more Buzz there will be around your brand. This will have a great influence on people who could become your first-time customer. The more trustworthy interactions you have, the more positive influence your existing customers have on potential new customers. This Buzz is critical because advertisments from brands are far less trustworthy than the voice of a friend or neighbor about their brand experience. People will have an intention to buy a product or service because they feel the urgency at a certain point in time. In most categories a referral by somebody trustworthy ((close) friend, neighbor, colleague etc.) will dominate a decision to buy. That is why the people who can refer to you need te be empowered to do so.

The V is for Velocity

The bottom of the tornado is where velocity is the highest. Velocity means that people engage more with each of your interactions. People will feel recognized that you not only listen to them, but you actually do stuff with their feedback. Multiple times customers will start to see your brand as the default solution for their problem, they are hooked to your product or service. In some cases it may need a very smart product portfolio for people to habituously choose the next product in your portfolio. People who haven’t been customers yet will be appealed to your brand’s humbleness and force of listening.

Models always have helped a lot to identify areas of marketing work. This will change a lot by the always-on customer that is shaping up right now. To make a difference in this world you need to make every interaction work. Understand the intention behind an interaction and make the follow-up as relevant as possible. The brands who will create the biggest (active) fanbase and work with them to develop more added value for them will have the strongest run into the future.

As mentioned above, it is time for a new model that covers more dimensions than plain marketing areas. This take on the marketing funnel is an encouragement for marketers to focus more on their responsibility to keep customers coming back. It is more important than short-term customer acquisition. Your job is to make your customers feel awesome while interacting with your brand. What do you think?

Tags transformationdigital marketing customerjourney strategy

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