B2B marketers have traditionally left branding, awareness and other upper funnel marketing approaches to their B2C counterparts. B2B marketers have gravitated to direct response techniques such as direct mail or email; they’ve also embraced pay-per-click search advertising and other lower funnel tactics. But here’s the problem: Far too many B2B marketers are overfishing in the bottom portion of the funnel.
In focusing on these lower funnel leads, B2B marketers are ignoring the cultivation of the larger universe of prospects who are not currently in the market for their products or services. If marketers don’t attract these prospects into the upper funnel, there’s no way the prospects will get to the lower
funnel. The point is B2B marketers must add branding tactics, such as display advertising, into their programs to get the most out of their search, email, PPC, and other lower funnel tactics.
The bottom line: B2B marketers must fully embrace full funnel marketing. The time is now. That’s why Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis says full funnel marketing suites will be a key disruptive technology in 2015 and 2016 that will change “how brands think and work.”
The most efficient way to understand the marketing funnel is to divide it into two parts.
First, there’s the upper funnel, where marketers “reach” their target audience with brand messages via content marketing, display, and other tactics.
There’s also the lower funnel, where marketers “nurture” prospects who have expressed an interest in their product or service.
Marketers have traditionally focused their nurturing efforts on email, but new technologies and new thinking have expanded the concept of nurturing to include display advertising and other tactics. This new approach to nurturing includes not only known prospects but unknown prospects —prospects, for instance, who may have shown interest by visiting a corporate website even
if they haven’t yet shared their email address.
The ultimate goal of reaching and then nurturing prospects is to “acquire” them, to drive them toward becoming a customer.