If you’ve ever been in marketing, you’ve heard of the sales funnel. Basically, in the beginning, you have lots of people who are exposed to your message but aren’t all likely to do business with you.
As the funnel narrows and moves along the path from awareness to interest to evaluation and so on, there are less and less people but they become more apt to buy. Finally, you get to the end of the funnel with the few people who followed the linear path who are now your key and committed customers.
Because of technology and social media, the buying process is no longer a fixed path. Today, people make decisions very fluidly. We do necessarily follow the same predictable path for buying as we once did. Sometimes we wind through the process, circle back, decide quickly or not at all.
The challenge for marketers is not only to reach potential customers in any part of their own unique process but to create real value. We do not want “promised” or perceived value. With the megaphone that is social media, there is too much transparency. We will figure out what is real and what is a gimmick. Marketing needs to focus on providing real value and unique experience every step of the way. Then maybe we’ll buy.