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What is “Full-Funnel” Marketing?

As more and more “tools of the trade” become available to us, marketing becomes both more interesting and flexible, yet also more segmented and potentially confusing.

Marketing’s “split personality” has traditional brand building, driven by broad-reach vehicles such as TV ads, on one side, and what we call “performance marketing” such as date-driven online activities on the other.

Performance proponents tout their ability to drive and measure clicks, while brand builders argue for longer-terms, broader-reach marketing vehicles (sometimes struggling to demonstrate near-term value).

We see brand building’s measurement challenges sometimes driving an organization’s marketing spend too far in a one-dimensional direction of online marketing exclusivity. Research shows that long-term customer loyalty is strongest if it is nurtured by an emotional connection to the brand.

In order to effectively address this potential imbalance, we recommend moving toward what we call “full-funnel” marketing, which combines the power of both brand-building and performance (online) marketing.

It’s important to understand how the various stages of a company’s growth drive how they need to market themselves.  Frequently, early-stage businesses need to focus heavily on the immediate gratification and cost-effectiveness  of a strong online strategy.  As these companies grow and mature, however, they can then reach revenue levels that provide the resources necessary to spend more on building and promoting a strong brand awareness (in addition to the more immediate gratification of online clicks).

Now is a critical time for marketers to lean into full-funnel marketing because pure performance marketing returns have begun to plateau, due to inflation in digital marketing costs, as well as customer exhaustion regarding the proliferation of online platforms and messages.

Marketing success should always be viewed through a well-integrated lens that constantly measures customer acquisition, retention and sales against various promotional activities and their related costs. We see the strongest marketing results occur when organizations execute a well-crafted and unified strategy of long-term brand building, along with the immediacy and measurability of online performance.

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