Mapping the customer journey with a new digital marketing model

The new customer funnel model is changing the way that businesses interact with their customers on their customer journey.

For years, the traditional funnel model has been widely used by businesses. Now, according to Davies BDM, it is under criticism for not adapting to a new era in which customers have very different wants and needs as a result of rampant digitalisation.

According to Campaign Monitor, the new version of the funnel is set to be one of marketing’s biggest developments for helping businesses understand the digital world. This new model, defined by a new hourglass shape, represents how customer journeys are becoming increasingly diverse. Customers are now less likely to finish engaging with a company once they’ve bought a product, and can go from discovering a product to purchasing and back again in a matter of seconds through online retail.

Some insight from Customer Journey Marketer further breaks down why the previous customer funnel wasn’t quite cutting it in the dawn of this digital age, and what the new funnel can offer customers.

The Old Customer Funnel:

  • Fails to consider external influences
  • Customers are considered the same
  • There is a lack of specific detail
  • Lack of granularity

The New Customer Funnel:

  • Customers can enter at any stage prior to purchase
  • Customers do not go through all the stages
  • Customers then progress differently through the funnel
  • Customer journeys are individual experiences

How are businesses using the new funnel?

The streaming service Netflix is using this new funnel to understand customer journeys that don’t simply start with discovering the service and end with a subscription.

For example, the average Netflix user would usually enter at the Engagement stage of the funnel. Netflix market effectively to their customers with a “call to action” by offering a free streaming trial upon subscription for a month on their landing page with just a URL or Google search. This non-linear approach helps to reel in potential long-term subscribers quickly, and enable Netflix to collect data which can lead to profitable conversions. In response to the need for responsible subscription polices, they emphasise that users can cancel this at any time, which increases trust in their service too.

After Engagement, the customer could then move their way down to Advocacy after watching their favourite series with personalised recommendations for similar streaming content. They could pass this onto friends and family, even before they make their way back up the funnel for an official subscription at the Purchase stage.

Another business that is putting the new marketing funnel to good use is Pinterest, as they prepare to launch their ad business in the UK market. Marketing Week demonstrates that they too market themselves well at the Engagement stage, which prompts potential customers to relinquish their data by signing up to their service so they can view more pins and create their own pages.

What about the future of the funnel?

The funnels (new and old) don’t offer a complete picture. Customers are ultimately individuals and will not comply exactly with any marketing models. But just like the new digital age these models do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon and they have been a catalyst for further development of the consumer experience. Current predictions suggest there may be a  72% budget increase for marketing teams to spend on intricate marketing tools and technological assets, and as marketing strategies shift more to ongoing relationships rather than atomised transactions one thing can be certain; that in a turbulent age of followers and subscribers and mailing lists, the customer funnel and the customer journey itself, will be changing alongside the digital landscape.

Leah Mahon, Student, Staffordshire Business School