There’s a joke that when a business relocates and is deciding where to situate the marketing department, they look for the space between a rock and a hard place. For those unlucky marketers, your team ends up in a walkway between Accounts and the CEO.
Whilst it’s profitable for management (usually excellent salesmen) to view the business through a telescopic lens – funnelling product into the distance – and for the accounts team to have systems in place regularly funnelling money throughout the business, this funnel approach is not something marketers dreamed up. It’s what you work with, and what can most work against you.
Because for you, the marketer, the people tasked with demonstrating quality and superiority to the competition, how do you stand out when every marketing department in the country is deluging Customer X’s inbox? How do you prove your worth internally when data is based on click-throughs and opens, and not dollars and cents?
Many hardy souls have fallen foul of the funnel, succumbing to a dire condition, which can go undiagnosed for years: Marketers’ myopia. Symptoms can range from arrogance, aggressiveness to downright ruthlessness. Fair-weather colleagues give up and move on, but you and the funnel go on.
Assuming where an audience is in your process is self-defeating because they are not in your process, they are in their lives — facing a challenge or opportunity, and you’re either helping them with that or you’re not. Humans have conversations. Business have systems. We know this and yet, everyday, business leaders, who think they know better, tell us to forget it.
But within marketing, we only really triumph when we are ahead; and that means freeing ourselves from funnel syndrome at regular intervals. Leave the telescopes to other divisions. The best marketers I know, whenever they are suffering from funnel vision, do something totally counter intuitive: they step outside of their comfort zone and engage with a marketer’s most under-utilised resource: other departments.
Because to represent your brand, you have to be representative.
By asking where they’re at, your company partners: their challenges and opportunities? What keeps them up at night? And what keeps their audiences up too? This shifts the dynamic in a myriad of ways:
Returning to your customers, you may still be speaking to them through the funnel but you’re communicating with them in a whole other way. Taking the panoramic view is something marketers are best placed to do because you’re the ones with the broadest access. That is your strength, and your power.
Over a series of upcoming blogs, I’d like to have a conversation about how that can play out in practise – totally funnel-free.