Marketers have studied purchase patterns for decades, relying on research data and consumer feedback to determine how brands can best reach their audience. As the economy fluctuates and technology constantly changes the way we shop, marketers’ job has become even more challenging. Despite these shifts, most folks in the biz subscribe to the “funnel” theory.

Not sure what this oddly-shaped, seldom-used tool has to do with marketing? A few real-world examples might explain it best. We’ll follow three hypothetical consumers through the funnel, focusing on the health care, legal and automotive industries. Let’s meet ‘em!

  • Stacy, a mom with an allergy-prone toddler, is looking for a specialist to cure her little one’s chronic cough.
  • Gregory, a car crash victim, is unsure of which legal steps to take next.
  • Emma, a driver with a long daily commute, is finally ready to replace her beloved Buick.

Top of the Funnel
“The Awareness Stage”

Objective:To provide information and start establishing trust
Method:Social media, short-form content (blogs, infographics etc), TV/radio advertisements, informative videos

Our fact-finding friends are ready to take action in the near future, so it is imperative for brands to make information easily accessible.

  • Stacy begins by Googling “pediatric ENT care.”
  • Gregory asks around for attorney recommendations.
  • Emma starts researching car safety ratings during her lunch break.

Middle of the Funnel
“The Consideration Stage”

Objective: To deepen the brand-consumer relationship and continue providing information about the service/product offered
Method:Case studies, personalized newsletters, relevant blog posts

As they move down the funnel, consumers are getting closer to making a decision. Their list of providers is growing shorter as they continue to research, as we see here:

  • Stacy has compiled a list of 5 potential ENT doctors in town
  • Gregory has found a few attorneys that offer free evaluations
  • Emma hears a radio ad and visits a local dealership’s website

Bottom of the Funnel
“The Conversion Stage”

Objective: To set your brand apart as the clear choice and ultimately, to close the deal
Method: Testimonials/reviews lauding friendly, efficient service and incentives (when applicable)

By this point, consumers are prepared to act – but may still be wavering between a few choices. One final push to differentiate your brand is often all it takes to nudge consumers into a decision.

  • Stacy calls the remaining doctors on her list to determine availability and schedules an appointment for next week.
  • Gregory crosses a law firm off his list after a poor interaction with the receptionist and completes a form submission for the remaining firms on his list.
  • Emma decides to visit a nearby dealership that is running a huge sale this weekend.

Most marketers have progressed past this traditional three-tier funnel, adding two more stages afterconversion. The fourth is loyalty, a stage focused on retaining consumers by continuing to add value to their lives. This might be an email campaign with relevant content or a discount for future services. The final stage in the new-and-improved funnel is advocacy. Loyalty programs, short surveys and requests for referrals are a great way to create some buzz for your brand, all in hopes that consumers at the top of the funnel will follow the path of your brand advocates!

Through our years of experience in the health care, legal and automotive industries, the M2 team has learned that conversions come from presenting the right content not only to the right audience, but at the right time. Brands have a lot at stake as potential clients make their way through the funnel, so if the whole concept is still a little unclear, we’d love to talk more about strategy – especially the kind we employ here at Motivated Marketing! Email or call 843.856.7322 to get started.