I read a statistic awhile ago that said companies spend, on average, over 50% of their marketing budgets on Top of Funnel awareness.
As marketers, we traditionally drive a ton of traffic to our websites through multiple channels, such as organic search, social, communities and forums, press, blogs, referrers, email, direct marketing, and content publishers. Many of us also use agencies for our digital needs.
We spend a lot of time and energy (and money!) managing these separate channels and tools, but measuring attribution is difficult because each one is managed and evaluated separately and we can’t compare apples to apples. We often cannot zero in on what’s working, what isn’t, and why, yet we continue to invest in this area, leaving money on the table.
In many of the client reviews I’ve done recently, I still see the most opportunity for improvement in Top of Funnel, or TOFU, marketing. Coincidentally, TOFU technology continues to be a strong growth market for MarTech, and many companies are just beginning to figure out how to use it to their advantage.
So what are some of the things that successful TOFU marketers are doing that make a difference?
- They’ve developed target personas and profiles, and they review and revise them on a regular basis.
Developing a persona is not a one-and-done activity. Business needs change and evolve, as do markets, and our personas need to evolve as well.
How you can tell these marketers from others: Their website traffic is high and the leads generated are very closely aligned with their target personas.
- They have mature content strategies that are theme-based and create a story for each persona and stage of the buyers journey — from the top of the funnel all the way through the bottom of the funnel.
After bringing in Top of Funnel leads, we as marketers must move them through the funnel by communicating the right message, to the right people, at the right time. While lead nurturing takes place lower in the funnel, marketers can evaluate how successful their TOFU efforts are based on how well the leads are engaging and moving through the funnel and which sources they originated from.
How you can tell these marketers from others: They’ve mapped their content to each persona and stage of the buyers journey and periodically measure its effectiveness, refreshing their content based on what they learn. As a result, they show high landing page and website conversion rates, and a large amount of their content is performing well.
- They’ve centralized their media partners, inbound data sources, and channel sources and they are using some sort of demand orchestration software to coordinate their top-of-funnel marketing activities.
They use their developed personas and profiles to create target parameters and data point values, specific to each source, in the system. Demand orchestration software allows them to control and monitor the cadence and budget allocation at the source level, and compare results across all channels.
How you can tell these marketers from others: They continue to measure success and optimize performance across their channels and sources.
- They have a lead nurturing strategy that is integrated and works in concert with their content management strategy.
They define exit criteria out of the centralized media campaigns and entrance criteria for the nurtures. In simpler terms, they define when a suspect becomes a prospect, when a prospect becomes a lead, and when a lead becomes an MQL. They ensure each persona is getting the right message and offer at the right time based on their interest level, which they base on activities such as web page visits, content downloads, and webinar attendance.
How you can tell these marketers from others: They know what content to serve up when, and move people through the funnel based on predefined actions.
- They use or are beginning to use Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and have integrated ABM with their current strategy.
ABM on its own may not move the needle much, especially if you are just moving your batch-and-blast practice from an individual to an account. Successful ABM requires close alignment between your marketing and sales teams in order to identify and define which accounts to target in the first place, and determine when you move from marketing to a persona to marketing to individuals united by a single organization.
How you can tell these marketers from others: They have created profiles for target accounts and defined that criteria within their demand orchestration software tool to enable targeting of the correct accounts. They recognize the importance of communicating their value proposition and personalizing messaging to all the individuals aligned with that target account. They look at results, incorporating revenue and other defined criteria to determine the success of these campaign efforts.
Adopting some of these better practices (optimizing TOFU marketing is still fairly new, so best practices haven’t been fully defined yet), along with investing in demand orchestration software and ABM, will allow you to gain efficiencies in Top of Funnel Marketing. You will begin to see a greater volume of the right types of leads entering your funnel and you won’t be leaving money on the table.
We’re helping our clients do just that. If you’re ready to optimize your Top of Funnel marketing efforts, drop us a line!
Shauna Wager As Senior Client Engagement Manager, I work directly with DemandGen’s clients to understand their objectives, needs and challenges, and build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders across the organization. I help guide clients’ projects to successful completion, build client satisfaction and advocacy, identify opportunities among accounts and develop comprehensive account plans.