In this recent blog, What is a marketing funnel and why don't they work, I railed against the marketing and sales funnel.
It's antiquated, it's old, it doesn't work, and a bunch of you, my loyal fans and followers and friends, asked me a ton of questions.
But the most-asked question about that video was hey, Drew, if the funnel is broken and it doesn't work anymore, what is the new model?
I've spent three years trying to answer this question, and I’ve finally got an answer for you.
It's a series of interlocking loops. Whereas the marketing funnel is one way and doesn't rely wholly on you raising awareness for your brand to fill the funnel or generate leads or get more sales, what we have here is a series of interlocking loops that reflects today's consumer journey.
You can start anywhere on this Loyalty Loop but right now, we're going to start at ‘the moment of inspiration’.
A moment of inspiration is an instant in time that sends you on a journey you never expected.
Let's say you're standing in line at a convenience store, and you're thinking, “I just had a tuna salad sandwich for lunch, and I have really bad tuna salad salad breath.” This is a moment of inspiration.
Or, let's say you’re sitting in a meeting, and you've missed the third deadline on the third client project in three weeks. And you think to yourself, “There must be a better way to manage projects for this company!”
These are moments of inspiration. They’re instants in time that send you on a journey you never expected.
There are multiple types of moments of inspiration, but the second thing that happens unintentionally and subconsciously in the mind of your consumer is a trigger question pops into their mind.
Every time there’s a moment of inspiration, a trigger question pops into your mind.
Taking one of our scenarios above, you're standing in line at the convenience store and you realize you have bad breath and that you need some gum.
The first question you ask yourself is, “What gum am I going to buy?” That is a trigger question.
Or you're sitting in that meeting, and you're wondering to yourself, “How are we continually missing these deadlines? What software or technology could help me manage projects better?” That is your trigger question for the moment of inspiration that just occurred.
So a trigger question is the first question that pops into your mind anytime a moment of inspiration occurs.
And then, subconsciously and unintentionally, the third thing happens very, very quickly.
The third thing that happens is a prime brand pops into your head.
The prime brand is the first brand that pops into your head when that trigger question occurs for that moment of inspiration.
So you're standing in line at the convenience store. You realize you've got bad breath. You ask yourself, “What kind of gum should I buy?” The first brand that pops into your mind is the prime brand… Trident (that's the prime brand that pops into my head as soon as that question is answered, yours could be different).
There are no wrong answers for your prime brand, but if you understand your moments of inspiration for the customers and clients you serve, the trigger questions that pop into their mind the instant that question is asked and the prime brand, you're on your way to building a better, more understandable consumer journey.
Now let's take that other example.
You're sitting in the conference room, you realize you missed three deadlines in three weeks for three projects, and you wonder to yourself, “There must be a better way to manage our projects. What software or technology could I use to manage that project better?”
Immediately, the first brand that pops into your head, it's the prime brand. Now for me, I don't know any of those software projects. So the first brand that pops into my head is Google. And you should know right now that Google is the center of the online marketing universe. It’s the first place that people go when they can't think of a prime brand.
Maybe you think, “I've heard Trello can manage projects better. Maybe I should check out Trello.” Well, now that's your prime brand.
Now the fourth thing that happens is right here. It is called active evaluation.
Active evaluation is the process of adding and subtracting brands as you move towards a moment of commitment.
As you're moving along this journey, moving closer and closer to the moment of commitment, you're adding and subtracting brands as you interact with blog posts and friends and family.
You're doing Google searches, you're hitting the back button and, at any moment, you might decide to add or subtract a brand given what you've read or consumed or watched in the digital universe.
I want be really clear here. Sometimes, you're not even online. In fact, in active evaluation, we know that 72% of all consumers know what brand they want to work with before they've ever interacted with the brand, which means they're not even on your website. They're somewhere on active evaluation, and they've spent a huge amount of time and energy, mental energy, even, thinking about what brand they want to work with.
For B2B customers, it's about 50%.
50% of B2B consumers know who they want to work with before they've ever interacted with the brand, which means you’ve never heard of them. You don't know them because they're in active evaluation.
It’s important to note that it’s right here where, at any moment, active evaluation can be interrupted with a new moment of inspiration.
Remember, a moment of inspiration is an instant in time that sends you on a journey you never expected. Maybe you read a blog post, or maybe you notice at the convenience store that some kind of brand of gum that you've never heard of before is on sale. That’s a new moment of inspiration.
It leads you back down to a moment of inspiration where you ask yourself a new question, and you now have a new prime brand in that specific instance.
Let's assume that no interruption occurs and you make it through active evaluation, all the way over here to the moment of commitment.
The moment of commitment is unbelievably important. It’is an instant in time in which you trade money, data, or time for information, a product, or a service or to support a cause.
We need to remember that, in a digital age, data and time are just as valuable as cash.
Maybe in the bad breath example, you’ve decided that you’re going to purchase some gum. You’re committing by buying a product in that instance.
However, in the B2B example, if you’re thinking, “I still don't know which product solution I want, you might be willing to sign up with an email address to download a white paper or get on a six-week email program that will help you make a better choice.” That’s the same kind of commitment as buying a product. You’re committing by trading your data, your email address, for some valuable information, and we need to take that very seriously. That is a moment of commitment.
At the moment of commitment, we're moving into the new next phase.
The next step in the consumer journey is called the Loyalty Loop.
The Loyalty Loop is the experience you deliver after a moment of commitment. It's designed to create new moments of inspiration that trigger new questions in the mind of the consumer where you're the prime brand – and you move very quickly back to a new moment of commitment.
You see, what it does is it eliminates the noise of active evaluation.
So the goal for acquiring new leads and customers and clients isn't just raising awareness and getting them to buy and getting them to show some interest. It's actually focused on all the right things. Can you use a moment of inspiration to answer a trigger question where you're the prime brand where they commit with information or data or time to actually make a commitment to your brand before they end up going through the loop a few times to buy your product to make a new moment of commitment?
Now this is the new model. This is the model for a new age. This is the equivalent of what Saint Elmo Lewis developed in 1898 back in Detroit.
I hope this helps you rethink the consumer journey, re-understand where you can make an impact, even how to measure it.
What do you think of this new world? What do you think of this new model? What questions do you have, and how can I help you understand the value of thinking this way in a modern marketing world?