Take a look at some sample marketing and sales funnels. Go ahead, check out Flickr or Pinterest or Instagram for all of the different ways people are choosing to visualize the sales and marketing process:


Do you see what’s missing? Take a closer look; here are two models from Forrester:

Forrester (2007) - Two important points about Purchase ... | Business

Another one from Garin Kilpatrick:

Online success marketing funnel. | Infographics

And another:

Inbound Marketing Terminology - Terms you should know! | Social Media

In almost every example you’ll find, marketers focus on the mechanisms of marketing but assume that the audience from which they will cull leads just magically appears. Eyeballs or traffic just appear. This is marketing’s greatest blind spot, the spot that goes largely ignored: people do not just appear in quantity by accident. That audience has to come from somewhere and needed some kind of stimulus in order to realize that they had a problem they went on to solve with “SEO, social, email, etc.” as one of the graphics put it.

It is the job of media – earned, owned, and paid – to help create that stimulus so that the rest of these marketing funnels can function. Make sure that if you’re telling the story of the customer from beginning to end that you start not when marketing’s responsibility to generate leads starts, but when the potential customer first starts their journey by becoming aware of a problem they need to solve. Then determine with your public relations efforts how to create more of that awareness, to bring more of the eyeballs and traffic that these models rely on, and the rest of the marketing funnel can begin its work.

The next time you draw out a sales and marketing funnel, ask yourself if you’ve got the complete customer journey or not!

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