Marketing has many potential goals — brand awareness, building communities, organizing events. For technical marketers, there is only one goal: revenue. This means that we are leveraging techniques and strategies from marketing in order to drive a monetary goal for the business.
A marketing funnel is a user journey that begins when that user first interacts with the company and ends with the customer’s lifetime value. We’ll break this into three distinct groups: acquisition, activation and retention.
The acquisition funnel starts the first time a user sees something related to the company. This is typically an advertisement, but could be a blog post, a billboard, or a friend’s referral. The goal of this individual funnel is to receive leads, or signups; some form of contact information.
Next is activation. Here, the goal is to turn these leads into first-time customers. Marketers can nurture these leads through email, retargeting campaigns, push notifications, or leverage sales teams.
The third step is retention. Once customers have made a first purchase, encourage them to return and make subsequent purchases or up-sells. Typically, marketers leverage the same channels in both activation and retention.
Putting this all together, the marketing funnel starts with user acquisition, follows through activation and ends at lifetime value. This means dollars go into the marketing budget and should come out the other side in revenue for the business.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Here, a user sees an ad and goes to a website. She doesn’t immediately add to cart, fill out a registration form, or purchase. This means she gets entered into a retargeting campaign. As a result from retargeting, she comes back to the website and adds an item to her cart. She’s still not ready to purchase, but this time she put in her email. That means she’s entered into an email nurture campaign. When she returns again, she makes her first purchase. After the first purchase, a new nurture campaign begins and she returns to make subsequent purchases.
This funnel begins when the user first learns of the business and ends at the projected lifetime revenue generated by the user. This is a full marketing funnel — starting when marketers spend money and ending when the company receives revenue.