It’s a formula – not a funnel

The most dangerous thing we do is…

We assume that we’ll convert buyers to customers. 

Because we’ve educated them and they’ve gone through the journey. 

“But isn’t that how it works?”

Well, many of us have wondered if the funnel is dead. But most of us are still stuck in “funnel thinking” – without fully realizing it. 

It’s some sneaky sh!t. 

And here’s the sad reality:

Most ideas in B2B marketing are still either based on or leading to “funnel thinking.”

Whether we’re talking about content marketing, demand generation or some kind of pain point oriented marketing, here’s what we’ve basically convinced ourselves: 

  1. We develop a POV around the problem
  2. We create a bunch of content about it
  3. We build awareness with an ICP
  4. Buyers start getting interested
  5. We have created demand
  6. We drive pipeline
  7. Revenue!

As if that’s the most reliable and efficient way to drive growth. As if that scales and compounds. And as if that isn’t funnel thinking. 

Get the message out there, attract potential buyers and see them move through the whatchamacallit. 

Yeah, basically the funnel. 

Here’s what we need to realize: 

Rather than assuming that the POV and content we develop will lead to a boatload of new customers, we need to figure out a freakin’ formula. 

How do we actually get a large number of potential buyers to turn into paying customers? 

How?! What exactly has to happen? 

There are no easy answers, but there must be a formula.

We see it coming down to the right combination of three key ingredients:

  1. Distribution: What is the main way you consistently get in front of buyers that helps them develop a habit of consuming your stuff?
  2. Aha moments: What shift in your buyers’ world do they need to see and how are you getting that across through a brand narrative?
  3. Your core value: What is the primary way buyers get a taste of the value that your solution delivers – before they commit to buying?

These ingredients make up the formula for how to be successful with customer acquisition in 2023 and beyond. 

Without reliable distribution, we don’t get enough at-bats. 

Without reaching aha moments, we don’t properly connect. 

Without letting buyers taste the value, we can’t convert enough.

Remember our newsletter about The Efficiency Trap? We made the counterintuitive point that efficiency in your marketing is actually not what you want to optimize for.

The above, on the other hand, is the kind of efficiency you want. That’s efficiency from precision, based on a clear understanding of what it takes. 

This is why it’s about understanding your formula for acquiring more customers, not just “how do I spend more efficiently in paid acquisition”.

Let’s let this be the quarter when we stop letting funnel thinking get in our way!

And speaking of the funnel… 

The issue isn’t just that the buyer journey is not linear. The real problem is that funnel thinking leads to linear growth, at best. 

It’s time to stop viewing your marketing as a funnel.