From Funnels to Journeys: Enhancing Your B2B Marketing Efforts

The marketing funnel is an industry standard. Since its creation in 1898, it’s weathered countless modifications, redesigns and new names. In more recent years, its purpose has been called into question — how accurate is the funnel amidst rapid digital innovation? Can organizations continue to base efforts off of it, or is it time to retire the triangle?

Despite ongoing debates over the funnel’s modern day role, it still plays an important part in prioritizing, clarifying and pushing efforts forward. The real answer to current concerns does not come from replacing the funnel, but from supplementing it. Brands must learn to treat the funnel as a foundational tool, and treat Customer Journey Mapping as a related, and necessary, enhancement. Why? It’s simple. Funnels tend to be business centric, while journeys are customer centric. Together, they provide a holistic view.

Let’s break them down further.

B2B Marketing Funnel

The below is a standard B2B Marketing Funnel. Its primary purpose, is providing companies with an easy method for categorizing KPIs and aligning on high level business objectives.

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Of course, it has its cons, like its lack of attention to the post-purchase relationship and its disregard of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). That’s where journey mapping comes in.

B2B Customer Journey Mapping

The emergence of additional brand touchpoints and shifts in consumer behavior, necessitates a new user centric approach that takes into account all digital and offline interactions. This journey is the baseline for successfully leveraging other digital tactics. It’s user-centric nature leads to greater insights, and its structure (unlike the funnel) accounts for the entirety of the consumer relationship. With 34% of companies currently investing in journey mapping, it’s quickly becoming a marketing standard.

The below table describes the primary goal of each phase of the typical B2B customer journey, as well as the typical behaviors that indicate a person’s phase in the journey. This framework allows companies to easily identify optimal touch points and potential opportunities for journey optimization.

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“One size fits all” approaches are extinct in modern day marketing. However, that’s not to say that foundational standards no longer exist. B2B Funnels and Journey Mapping are quickly becoming a must-have combination for cross-industry leaders. And while time consuming, there’s no replacement for truly understanding the entirety of your business goals and user needs.