It doesn’t replace the efforts of advertising, marketing, sales or product teams. The role is more akin to a financial role - Full-funnel Marketing understands the business as a system, a mixture of inputs and outputs, and realises that for the system to operate as smoothly as possible, they must be continually optimised, evaluated and replaced by newer, more effective mechanisms.
As marketing becomes more fragmented and specialist - there are new channels appearing quarterly - a chasm has opened for a function that understands how all of the moving pieces contribute towards a greater goal.
Matt Heinze popularised the term Full-funnel marketing, however I believe that there are differences in our takes. If you’re looking for a more enterprise B2B focussed interpretation, I’d suggest taking a look at these articles:
But if you’d like to hear my perspective on how you can create an incredibly effective revenue generating business, read on.
If you’re familiar with marketing, you’re probably familiar with conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
Conversion rate optimisation usually deals with traffic, and making sure more if it converts into a lead or customer by analysing data and deploying experiments with the goal of optimising the ad and website experience. In doing so, this gives you a greater return (output) for my spend on advertising channels (input).
It optimises a system, a relatively simple system, but nonetheless.
For a company whose product is physical or offline (say an item of clothing, or a service business such as an accountant), CRO takes the majority of their digital activity into account - and one of the major benefits of digital activity is that it’s extremely easy to extract data from.
However, for completely digital businesses like mobile apps and SaaS software, channel and website activity is only a small portion of the digital experience. Because their products are advertised, delivered and paid for through online platforms, there’s a whole swath of activity that is now open to analysis and optimisation.
That’s where a Full-Funnel Marketing strategy comes into play. Instead of just focussing on advertising and website, Full-Funnel takes ownership over optimising the whole experience towards revenue.
This is how that may look for a B2B enterprise business who advertises online, collect leads through their website, nurtures those deals in a CRM and then collects revenue through a payment processor:
As well as advertising channels and website, we now have visibility over the nurturing, sales and revenue collection. This gives us an extra 3 points of conversion of which we can optimise.
The system has now expanded from traditional CRO, and the skillset to make effective optimisations has expanded. Now, we need to know sales. We need to know lead nurturing, and we need to know how we can improve revenue through lifetime optimisation, upsells and expansions.
Because this function is so different in traditional vs digital products, and because the existing expectations of CRO strategy doesn’t cover upsells, expansion and sales, it’s fair to say that we need a new term to define this strategy: Full-funnel Marketing.
Up-to now, this definition has very much followed Matt Heinze definition. Where our thoughts diverge as I believe the strategy can just as easily be applied to B2C, too:
Ultimately, the only defining feature of a company deploying a Full-funnel Strategy would be their ability to collect and analyse data across the whole funnel. Because of this, it’s suited best to digital businesses that realise their revenue overtime such as SaaS and consumer mobile apps, whatever the market.
Many marketers are apprehensive to adopt new phrases with good reason. New phrases can be used to confuse and obstruct, so let’s keep things as simple as possible: Full-funnel marketing is simply making more people take the next step towards revenue.
You’d struggle to find someone that says optimising your website conversion or click-through rate is a bad idea. A Full-funnel strategy just takes more steps into consideration.