Brian Serocke
By Brian Serocke on September 04, 2020
3 minute read

Flipping the Marketing Funnel on its Head

When you develop a plan for new content, envisioning how each piece will work together to turn strangers into eventual customers is paramount. The traditional marketing funnel is an easy, familiar way to visualize a particular lead or prospect’s progress. 

Hello Funnel, My Old Friend

The widely-used funnel approach illustrates turning leads into warm prospects interested in making a purchase decision about your product or service by the end of the funnel. It shows how an audience will start broad and slowly get smaller as unqualified leads drop off before a purchase decision.

Can you create great campaigns with the traditional funnel method of thinking? Yes, you can. However, to operate as a true inbound marketer, your approach may need a revamp. 

Inbound Marketing Funnel

What’s Wrong with the Typical Marketing Funnel? 

The inbound marketing theory, popularized by HubSpot, urges companies to provide a prospect with all of the resources they may need to make an informed decision at their own pace. This method allows marketers and businesses to offer varied opportunities for readers to find valuable solutions to their pain points without insincere and mistimed sales pitches.  

According to inbound theory, building a base of trust with a new visitor is the most effective approach to gaining more leads and closing more deals. By changing your mindset to think like an inbound marketer, you can create content that addresses problems and establishes thought leadership — empowering your customers to navigate their own buyer’s journey. 

The typical marketing funnel can lead marketers to believe they have far more control over a particular customer journey than they do. The marketing funnel, like any real-world funnel, works like Newton’s first law of motion. An object in motion stays in motion. Once visitors enter the funnel, they fall out entirely if their research habits and buying behavior don’t keep pace with other buyers or a business’s expectations. 

The typical funnel isn’t representative of how this works in real life. Not everyone will enter the funnel at the same point or move through at the same pace. Every individual consumer navigates content and purchasing decisions uniquely. As an inbound marketer, your job is to establish trust by being helpful, and only then should you initiate any pitching or selling.

A traditional funnel represents a forceful approach to campaign planning. By operating under the mindset that you should push your leads down a funnel, you’re not doing a great job of empowering them to choose your final conversion action on their own time. 

Introducing (Drumroll Please) The “Campfire” Model

Picture your favorite camping spot. Maybe you’re in the mountains or by the lake. If you’re from Southern California like our Beacons Points family, perhaps you’re by the beach! Either way, any camping trip is made complete with a campfire. 

A campfire builds community. It’s a place of comfort to share knowledge, stories, and value. People of all different backgrounds and experiences gather around with a similar goal, to connect. That’s the mindset an inbound marketer should have when planning content and campaigns. 

Beacons Point's Campfire Model

At Beacons Point, we build each campaign using a bottom-up “Campfire” approach. Awareness content represents the kindling at the base of the fire. Consideration-stage content rises from that, and the tip of the fire represents your conversion and retention actions. 

No, this approach is not revolutionary. We still subscribe to the idea that you won’t convert every visitor to a customer. There will be embers and sparks that inevitably flare off of the fire. However, the “Campfire” approach’s magic lies in the mentality it fosters amongst your team members. When you build campaigns bottom-up, you empower visitors to enter a campaign at whatever stage they desire. You free them to navigate the buyer’s journey at their own pace. 

We believe in providing as much value as possible to a community we’ve committed to serving. The more value we can provide, the more likely we are to convert customers. At its core, the “Campfire” model reminds your team each day that the content they create should be customer-centric, not company-centric. To provide another physics analogy (we know you love them), an object at a higher position possesses greater potential energy. It could be said that elevating a lead through a “Campfire” provides greater potential energy for conversion, retention, and upsell. 

Humankind’s Greatest Invention

Even the most experienced survivalists and mountaineers struggle to make fire at times. Arguably humankind’s greatest invention, building a sustainable fire takes skill, effort, and preparation. Without the right kindling, fuel, positioning, and maintenance, your fire will quickly burn out. 

Think about your marketing strategy like a campfire. What awareness content topics will attract people to your website? What automation or promotion strategies will fuel the campfire’s growth? How will you position your content and evaluate its performance? 

You’d be surprised how this small shift in mentality can reframe your approach away from your business to your customer’s needs. 

Listen. Empathize. Be helpful. By following these tenants, your team can fully embrace the inbound methodology. Establish a relationship, just like you would with new friends around a campfire.

Published by Brian Serocke September 4, 2020
Brian Serocke