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The B2B Customer Journey is More Like a Tower than a Funnel

  • The B2B Customer Journey is More Like a Tower than a Funnel

“If you’re thinking about your customer journey as a funnel, new research suggests you are wrong,” says a new article in Forbes.

Most current B2B customer journey frameworks show the buying process as a linear path from awareness leading to consideration leading to purchase. New research from Gartner, however, shows that this is a flawed view. The journey is not linear at all. And it’s definitely not a “funnel.”

Not only is the journey not linear, but it’s also not isolated, as the funnel framework implies. In addition, frameworks such as the funnel ignore influencers and referrals, they don’t account for the strength of the messaging and design, and they somewhat hilariously make it look like gravity is on your side—as new customers just fall out of the bottom. The biggest factor, however, is that it’s marketer-centric and not buyer-centric. If anything, as a marketer, you are the one who’s being put into your potential customer’s funnel.

The Forbes article shares a new concept from Gartner and CEB. It explains that there are three common sets of “jobs” that comprise the B2B customer journey. These jobs are: finding information about what’s out there and how to solve the problem; validating that information; and aligning internal stakeholders (an average of 7 per decision!). These jobs happen concurrently.

The conclusion is very enlightening and the overall illustration interesting, but the complexity of the illustration makes its practical usefulness somewhat limited. There already is, however, a proven framework that illustrates the B2B customer journey in a way that is directly supported by this new research.

This need for a more accurate, yet still highly practical, B2B marketing framework was the driving force behind the conception of the Revenue TowerTM by Pepper Group in 2014. Rather than move the B2B customer through a linear process, the Revenue Tower concept is to continually “attract and elevate” where content is crucial and creativity is king. It recognizes that buyers jump in and out in the time it takes to load a web page, and it reinforces that you can’t just rely on gravity to do the job. The Revenue Tower also accounts for the value of strategic messaging (the foundation of the tower), and helps prioritize resources and identify opportunities to repurpose marketing assets for maximum return.

If you’re not familiar with the Revenue Tower, you can download a free eBook here.

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