Goodbye marketing funnel, hello hourglass model
When it comes to the typical customer journey, we look at it as a process from start to finish - taking them from a potential customer at the awareness level all the way through consideration and intent, to purchase. This method in marketing is referred to as the marketing funnel, but why does it need to end in a purchase?
Doesn't it make more sense to try and make the most from every person that shows an interest in your business?
This is where the hourglass model positions itself miles ahead of the funnel.
What is the marketing funnel?
Let's start by understanding the marketing funnel a little better. The funnel provides a graphic representation of the progression from stranger to customer.
There are several stages which progress down to the main objective of conversion:
Stage 1: The awareness level. This is where people have heard of you, but that's about it/
Stage 2: Some basic interest - could this be for me?
Stage 3: Further information and education - the consideration stage.
Stage 4: Between consideration and purchase is the intent phase. They're on the fence, about to reach for their waller. The name of the game here is to remove any objections and provide as much reassurance as possible.
Stage 5: The final stage, conversion - where they purchase your product or service (and you do a happy dance).
Though these stages are needed and remain relevant, we are celebrating our success too early. Our view of the customer can't be so narrow and incomplete.
Why? Because we are forgetting one key aspect which will result in more growth, more profitability, and happier customers.
To take your startup to scale-up level, you need to look at the hourglass and not the funnel.
Beyond the point of customer conversion is retention, and then loyalty and advocacy. All resulting in the holy grail, £0 CPA of marketing: word of mouth.
The hourglass model
The hourglass model looks at the pre-purchase stages while also introducing the post-purchase stages.
This model incorporates the customer’s full journey. From their first interaction with the company, all the way through to brand advocacy and all of the steps in between.
Endorsements from pre-existing customers or customers who are further back in the process can be key to business growth and development.
Strategies can be developed to manage customers through each part of their journey to boost their experience, value and engagement with your business.
The hourglass allows for customers who are post-purchase to be considered just as important as customers who are pre-purchase.
When you have multiple platforms like a website, social media and sales tools, it can be difficult to fully understand where customers are lost and where they are gained. This further enforces the idea of the hourglass model being more logistical than the funnel model.
It is important to remember that this process is not linear, customers may jump between stages. This should be reflected in the way you communicate with them. Following the hourglass model will help maintain loyalty and satisfaction from existing customers and will help support new customers.
The hourglass model & marketing
You may have guessed it by now but here at Bloom, we are *huge* fans of the hourglass model. As marketers, we really see the value in nurturing your customers. If you are spending all of your time bringing in new customers only for them to purchase once and then leave, you are missing out on so much potential business.
When you start using the hourglass model, it will be reflected across your marketing. You will be able to make your marketing more targeted and personal. New customers will feel as if they already know your business because of word-of-mouth. Your existing customers will feel like you can read their minds. Suddenly your marketing will switch from explaining who you are all the time to explaining the benefits every customer can gain from using your product or service.
The hourglass model offers you an opportunity to refine your messaging, elevate your marketing and secure your place in your chosen market.