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August 26, 2013

Designing a Sticky Marketing Funnel

by Tom De Baere
designing a sticky marketing funnel

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Sticky marketing funnels can fix marketing funnel deficiencies or broken funnels. They are designed to do that. But before I explain you how to do that, let me ask you a question.

How well do you understand your marketing funnel? I’m not sure if this is on your mind today. Maybe you’re just to busy. Busy creating ever more stuff. More marketing stuff. Because that’s what people expect from you. Because that’s what you’ve always been doing.

You consider what you do to be a good revenue contributor. And you feel good about it that they work. You might be great in attracting attention to what you have to offer. They might enjoy your marketing. They might like you, follow you, subscribe to you.

But do you “move” your buyers to consider to purchase your products? And how many do not considering you? Do you know why you didn’t move them to consider you?

Sticky marketing funnels

Prospects around the world constantly flirt with vendors. They become aware of vendors, and fly from vendor to vendor, as a butterfly flies from flower to flower.

But some vendors seem to always have the most fresh flowers. Why is that? Because they have sticky flowers. Prospects stick to the marketing funnel until they drop into the sales funnel.


Sticky marketing funnels are well balanced, and not only built to attract awareness. They are designed with attention to guiding prospects from awareness to consideration, and then to buying. Business objectives and marketing strategies are the guides to building these sticky funnels. Derived from your business priorities, relevant awareness actions are linked with actions that try to identify your buyers. And behavior throughout the myriad of integrated marketing actions signals buying intentions. Detecting this behavior, and deriving marketing qualified leads from that is your task.

Sticky marketing funnels are designed for action. For every single possible interaction a buyer can have with your company, you need to have the next steps ready for him. From the moment he flirts with your company, you need to have that sticky flower in front of his nose so he/she can smell the honey. When they are off for a while, get them more sweets, in the form of content which you consider relevant for that prospect.

Sticky marketing funnels are always fresh. With the abundance of content and activities in the world, everyone is crying for attention. Google gives priority to fresh. So if you want to be found in the digital world, if you want people to pay attention to you and buy from you, you need to remain fresh in all stages. Staying fresh means constantly watching all phase of the marketing funnel, and regularly renewing it.


Designing Sticky Marketing Funnels

Well balanced, designed for action, and always fresh. OK, got that. Tell me how!

Your first step is to link your business objectives to marketing activity “themes” as I often call them. Themes are subjects of importance to your buyers. These can be business issues, missed opportunities, or new opportunities.

Once you have identified what matters to your buyers, start designing your marketing activities around these themes. The number of activities you put on the different stages in the marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, buying) depends on the needs of the business. New products require more attention to awareness, as with startups needing brand awareness. And existing product lines with stables sales require strategic marketing actions to defend their position. That’s why often the weight on getting attention around a certain strategic theme requires more activities.

Now go and visualize each theme and its activities along the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: typical topics to catch awareness are best practices, giving market insight, predicting the future, interviewing market leaders, commenting on news, giving insight in trends, …
  • Consideration : benefits/capabilities, capability demonstrations, Selecting (buyer guides), Learning, Technology choices, Use Cases/Stories, Customer interviews, Education, Reasons to switch, ROI Insight
  • Buying phase:  Quality proof, Product specs/info, Performance demonstrations, Comparisons, ROI calculation, Due diligence info

A fantastic exercise is to visualize where you stand today in each of these phases, for your most important themes. It will reveal some weak points which require re-enforcement to improve the stickiness of that phase. A usual way to do this is through a content audit, where you place each piece of content or activity you produce along the marketing funnel and inside a theme.

Designing for action means that every single piece of activity or content must have a desired action which you expect from the buyers, and which can be measured and tracked. Don’t try to over-engineer these steps. Just be aware of where you position each activity or content, and have the appropriate actions next to it.

  • Typical awareness actions are Follow on social, Download Free Content, Check out “Consideration” content.
  • Typical consideration actions are Subscribe to blog / list, Subscribe to download, Event participation, or point them to buying content or actions
  • And typical buying actions are completing a contact form, participating to on/off-line events or webinar, or requesting a demo.

Crucial when designing for action is to measure every action that is taken along the sticky marketing funnel. Only this way you’ll understand what sticks, and what doesn’t.

And once you’ve done all of this, you now have a clear view of what business themes matter to you and your customers, what  actions and content you need to drive buyers through the marketing funnel, and how you link all that together with desired actions from your buyers.

Understanding all these elements will also give you insight in what themes need regular fresh activities and content. And that’s the last step you need to design a sticky marketing funnel. You now know what you need to keep it fresh. Not everything needs to remain fresh. Only what matters to you, strategically and financially, should remain fresh.


Thank you for reading this far. If you liked this post, please share!


Warm regards,

Tom De Baere