“Well, we all forget things. That’s what reminding is for.” These words were spoken by the controlling Martin Burney character played by Patrick Bergen in the 1991 drama/thriller Sleeping with the Enemy.

There is no end to the things we “should” be doing whether it’s eating right, exercising more, avoiding the sun or making sure we comply with best practices in our careers. When it comes to marketing, there are a lot of “rules” that should be followed but are often forgotten. Well, we all forget things. That’s what reminding is for. I’m here to remind you about the marketing funnel.

The majority of products and services have some level of a marketing funnel. In other words, there is a path a person will follow to become a customer. Rarely will you see some go from having no understanding of a product or service to becoming a customer in a matter of minutes. The path a person follows to become a customer is called a funnel.

Specifically, the marketing funnel deals with turning nobodies into a sales qualified lead. At that point, the sales funnel takes over and turns the lead into a customer.

A generic marketing funnel looks like this:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Intent

As the name suggests, the process is a funnel. That means only a percentage of people at each stage of the funnel will pass onto the subsequent stage. For example, if you make 100 people aware of your product, maybe only 80 will be interested. Of the 80 people interested, maybe only 40 will consider purchasing your product. Of the 40 people, only 20 will have the intent to make the purchase. These 20 people will then flow into the sales funnel where a percentage of them will become a customer.

How many people convert at the different stages of the funnel is a discussion for another time. However, the goal is to optimize conversions at each stage.

Okay, now that we have refreshed our memory regarding the marketing funnel, I want to introduce the math involved when it comes to the marketing funnel. This is grade 5 math so don’t sweat it…

If the number of people who become a customer is 10% of those that enter the top of the funnel (are aware of your product) then if you have 100 people aware of your product, you can expect 10 of them to become a customer.

So, based on this mathematical premise, if you put energy and resources into a marketing campaign and make 20 people aware of your product, you’ll theoretically acquire two customers.

Alternatively, if your marketing initiative makes 600 people aware of your product, you’ll theoretically close 60 customers.

If you’re still with me – thank you, because I have not gotten to the moral of this article. Here it is…

Assuming you buy into the premise that a funnel exists, then you’ll want to make every marketing dollar count and generate as many contacts as possible to fill the top of the funnel. You’ll also want to figure out how to move people through the funnel to mitigate losses at each stage.

This means marketers need to cast a very broad net to capture as many people as possible and make them aware of your product. To be clear, I’m not suggesting ripping off the list of your community league members and marketing to them. You need to target your particular persona.

A mistake I often see marketers make is ignoring people because their belief is they will never become a customer. While this is often the case, you may be surprised at just how many of these “never-to-be-a customer” know someone who will become a customer.

You don’t know everyone’s personal situation. You don’t know who knows who and what projects are being launched. You don’t know the pains and problems people have. So don’t assume. Define your personas and cast the net. I guarantee if done right, that you will be introduced to people who will buy from you.

If you are solely focused on talking to only people you’re convinced will become a customer, then you have no need to network, market, execute branding campaigns and lead generation initiatives because you do not believe a funnel exists. If you have marketing and salespeople, I suggest you get rid of them to reduce your expenses and increase your bottom line.

Marketing is about communicating the right message to the right person. So, communicate to as many people as possible and you’ll be off to a great start.