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The Humble Marketing Funnel Analysis – Understanding your Marketing Objectives

Marketing Funnel

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about how, in today’s omnichannel world, the traditional marketing funnel is obsolete.  It has been labeled broken, dead, and upside down with new shapes including loops, journeys, starbursts, and other alternatives that more accurately reflect how consumers interact with brands today being suggested as the new funnel.

While it is clear how, where and when people interact with brands has changed, leveraging the fundamental metrics in a funnel-based analysis remains one of the more effective ways to diagnose strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in your marketing and to shape future marketing objectives.

Most of this information is readily available in your brand tracking data (or it should be) but the analysis itself is often overlooked with more focus put on wave over wave changes.  Typically, at least a periodic funnel analysis can provide some of the more actionable insights that you can derive from your brand tracking research.

While we don’t always include every metric in every analysis, some of the key metrics that we include are:

  • Brand Awareness:  Is the brand name known by your target audience?
  • Familiarity:  Are target audiences aware of key characteristics of the brand?
  • Consideration: Would target audiences consider buying the brand?
  • Trial: How many have actually bought or used the brand before?
  • Repeat:  How many used it again?
  • Regular use:  How many use it on a regular basis?
  • Preference (BUMO): How many prefer it or choose the brand most often?
  • Market Share: What is the brand’s share of requirements?
  • Advocacy:  How many consumers are passionate and actually advocate and support the brand?

A couple of these metrics are often overlooked and are better suited as custom measures for a brand. 

Particularly for newer brands, brand familiarity is an important concept and metric.  While overall brand awareness is key, it is equally important to know about key features of the brand.  A survey question should ask more than just “how familiar are you with Brand X” on a five-point scale.  Instead, it should be a more custom measure that captures how many in the target audience know basic characteristics of the brand, like what it sells and what some of the key features are.  For example, in its earlier days Panera Bread wanted to know not only how many knew the name Panera, but how many knew that it was a café-based restaurant that sold soups, salads and sandwiches.

Advocacy is another metric that often best defined in a brand-specific way.  First you need to understand the specific measures and levels of brand affinity that, when held by customers, lead to important advocacy behaviors on behalf of the brand.  Once identified, you can then measure and track how many people hold those levels of affinity.

In many situations, the brand funnel measures are revealing on their own.  If brand awareness or familiarity are in the single digits, it is clear that a path to growth is to make more people in the target audiences knowledgeable about the brand.  

marketing funnel metrics
Review key metrics to compare your brand’s funnel with competitors.

It is also often helpful to compare your brand’s funnel with key competitors.  By looking at metrics across the competitive landscape, you can get a realistic sense what a good score represents and “how high is up” for key metrics.  If another brand has achieved a certain level of consideration or preference, it certainly implies that is an attainable number in your brand’s category.

Finally, some of the most interesting diagnostics come from a comparison of metrics from one level of the funnel to the next.  These can provide clues about what is and is not working well with a brand’s marketing strategies and tactics today.

Is the ratio of familiarity to awareness low?  You need more be sure your marketing is telling the story of the brand rather than just building the brand name.

Is the ratio of repeat to trial low?  Typically that is a product satisfaction, price or sometimes distribution issue. 

Is the ratio of market share to regular use or preference low?  Typically that is a targeting issue where you are winning with lower volume customers.

Each juncture, from one metric to the next, tells you which aspects of your marketing strategy and tactics are working well, and which represent opportunities for brand growth.

These are mostly simple metrics and the analysis could hardly be simpler.  Yet, the results can provide a great deal of insight into your marketing performance.

About Brookmark Research:
Brookmark is a research operations company focused on managing the critical components of the research process including project management, survey design, programming, hosting, sample design & management, data management and reporting solutions. Brookmark provides a full outsource solution for all your research needs.