Funnel or Circular? What Does The 2019 Content Marketing Journey Look Like?
Content marketing has gone through countless revolutions. From the flashing banner signs of the web’s early days, to the more subtle tracking ads that follow potential customers across the web, to the inspiring blog posts of 2018, content marketing is nothing if not adaptable. And yet, for all of its agility, it has remained rigidly attached to the traditional marketing funnel. Fortunately (at least for this forward thinking writer) 2019 might just be year that the traditional content marketing funnel gets a much needed facelift.
The Problem With The Tradition Marketing Funnel
Googling “content marketing funnel” will result in millions of pages with the same shape. At the top of the funnel is everyone who might possibly be interested in your company, its products, or its services. The next layer is awareness, which is subsequently followed by interest, education, commitment, sale, and finally ends with repeat. It’s almost as bad as the classic “wash, rinse, spin, repeat” cycles of our trusted washing machines. Ironically, the washing machines produce the same beloved results time and time again, while the traditional marketing funnel seems to let us down more often than not.
The traditional marketing funnel ignores the latest revolution in content marketing, i.e. customer success. By its very nature, the funnel is designed to filter potential customers via various pre-determined qualification processes. When the journey ends, that pesky repeat cycle doesn’t make customers feel loved or even appreciated. In fact, for most customers, the repeat portion leaves them feeling a bit conned (much like the person who finally realizes that their friends leave them at the bar to settle the tab each and every time they go out, thus leaving their wallet empty even though their stomachs are full).
In 2019 the mindset needs to change and with it the content marketing funnel. Instead of a traditional funnel that quite literally pushes potential customers through until they open their wallets, and then spits them out into the “buy now process” all over again, businesses need to instead adopt a more circular approach. Instead of focusing on transactional relationships, brands should focus on those customers that show continuous engagement. The latter focus is especially important post-sale.
If customers feel that you are interested in who they are (as a customer of course) and not interested in the size of their wallet, they are more likely to recommend your brand to their network. In an age where a network is much larger than the number of people you physically talk to every day, it is vital that brands refocus their energies on creating meaningful relationships that are based on the customer’s success.
In short, it is no longer enough for the customer to simply fall through your sales funnel. Instead, you want to use content marketing to transition your brand from a convenient vendor into a trusted partner. By continuously engaging with your customers in a circular fashion that sees their journey as a continuous opportunity for lessons learned, support, and even reminiscing, you can form genuine partnerships that inspire heightened levels of brand ambassadors.
Read this post about Hubspot’s Flywheel for related commentary.
2019 Is The Year To Focus On Customer Success
In support of throwing away the traditional marketing funnel, in 2019 content marketing needs to refocus its efforts on customer success. Customer success refers to the various ways in which you can help your customers receive the most value from your products or services. In other words, customer success is your opportunity to deliver a heightened level of personalization. How one customer might use your products or services might not be the same as another customer.
Remember the circle.
In an effort to focus on customer success, you need to first think of the marketing journey as a circle (not the outdated funnel). The customer might repeat the same journey, however each time around you have gained new insights into their personal needs and wants. Leverage this data to create more genuine and meaningful connections. Recall to mind previous purchases that could help them to gain additional value from their more recent acquisitions. By paying close attention to these specific details, you can create happier customers who are actually interested in repeating their buying journeys again and again.
The moral of the story is simple, in 2019 brands need to be smarter about their content marketing strategies by realizing that the traditional funnel is outdated. Deliver the personalization, genuine relationships, and trust that customers want by leveraging the power of a customized circular marketing experience. To get the most out of your content marketing efforts in 2019, you should implement lessons learned, reminisce via social media, and create a powerful connection with your customers by focusing on their success.
Laura P has written 4,000+ articles, blog posts, product reviews, press releases, and website content for a multitude of clients. In the past 7 years, she has developed written, marketing, video, and web content for clients in the real estate, information technology, restaurant, auto, retail, equine sales, oil and gas, and public relations industries. Laura is highly proficient in SEO optimization, particularly in real estate and retail industries. She ghost wrote IT white papers, government contract task orders, RFIs, and RFPs that resulted in millions of dollars won. She has 7-years of experience working with and interviewing olympic athletes, small-business owners, CEOs, SMEs, and entrepreneurs on complex topics. As a professional writer, Laura strives to create content that is both meaningful and relatable to her readers.