The rise of the internet has changed, well- everything! From attending class, to booking a plane ticket, to reading a novel, there's not much in our daily lives that has stayed the same in the last few decades. It goes without saying that online shopping, combined with the consumer’s ability to research via the internet, has altered the way people buy the products they want and need. This digital transformation has shaken up the traditional marketing funnel. But this transition comes with benefits for marketers.

What is the Marketing Funnel?

The marketing funnel describes a traditional concept that people in the marketing industry use to map out the actions potential customers make. It is a multi-stage journey that ultimately results in consumers committing to a purchase. To go over it briefly, the five stages of the marketing funnel include:

#1 Awareness This is the stage where consumers first realize that you offer a product or service they may be looking for.

#2 Interest After discovering your brand, product, or service, the shopper does additional research to see whether your business meets their needs.

#3 Consideration The consumer knows they need a product or service you offer. At this point they are seriously interested in buying.

#4 Intent They're almost ready! Now, the consumer starts leaning towards a decision because they feel they need your product or service.

#5 Decision It's finally time! In the last stage, a consumer is converted into a paying customer after making a purchase.

What is "Digital Transformation?"

While the term “digital transformation” may sound like a confusing and somewhat scary concept, it is actually pretty easy to understand. We have been experiencing gradual digital transformation for decades. Now we’re witnessing an accelerated pace of changes. Under the umbrella of digital transformation is understanding your potential digital capabilities, and then applying and integrating it into everyday work tasks. 

For some companies, digital transformation might involve efficiency, like electronic health records in the medical industry. On a larger scale, businesses like Uber have taken a traditional business concept, such as consumers' need for transit, and then applied innovative digital technologies to the process. Leaving the old-fashioned taxi competition behind and surging ahead!

How Digital Transformation Changed the Marketing Funnel

One of the significant ways digital transformation influences marketing is through the marketing funnel. As you can see from the outline above, the marketing funnel used to be so simple! Consumers had a consistent place in the classic five steps. The linear marketing funnel process was easy to define. Consumers had fewer opportunities to become aware of a brand or product, but thanks to the rise of all things digital, this is no longer the case.

The buyer’s journey is no longer a straight line! Now, a buyer's journey has loops, swirls, twists, and turns. They may even go straight to the finish line! 

One thing you'll want to pay special attention to is engagement. Nowadays, brand awareness almost always starts online, and social media plays a huge role in this. A full 59% of consumers use social media when looking for inspiration for future purchases. Social media advertising has evolved to be highly targeted, helping click through rates and conversions. If you're not on social media yet, and if you don't have a well-defined social media strategy, you're missing out.

Another recent development in digital marketing? There's really no end to the funnel. You want to retain consumers so they convert again and again. Digital marketing, paid ads, and social media means you can keep your brand and products fresh in their mind- deepening the marketing funnel in the process. 

The objective hasn’t changed. Your company still wants and needs to convert an inquiry into a sale. The methodology for reaching it is far more complex and challenging. If interested, The Old State can help. We offer the digital marketing services you need to be successful in today's new marketplace.