The Nine Steps You Need for Your Marketing Funnels

With over 7.4 billion people on the planet today, it can be easy to become overwhelmed when contemplating any Marketing endeavor, especially when you start considering such questions as

  1. Who should I target?
  2. And how?
  3. And who should I ignore?
  4. And why?

And that’s before you start the process of trying to understand whether or not prospective clients even know that you or your company or products or services even exist, let alone if they already know something about you and whether that knowledge is accurate.

This is where the concept of a Marketing Funnel comes into play.

The Marketing Funnel Purpose

I believe that the purpose of a Marketing Funnel is to help winnow one’s actual Prospective Clients out from the billions of people alive today and to move them through a process beginning with

  • People who know nothing about you, to
  • People who not only become Customers, but also

individuals who become

  • Repeat Customers who also
  • Help you market and sell your goods and services (aka, Evangelizers).

After years of fits and starts and several adjustments, I have now settled on a Nine-Step Marketing Funnel, which I outline below.

Step Number 1 in the Marketing Funnel: AWARENESS

Step № 1 in our definition of a Marketing Funnel is AWARENESS, and in one regard it’s the most basic level.

Specifically, if someone doesn’t even know you exist, then forget it, because you might as well not exist.

Step Number 2 in the Marketing Funnel: UNDERSTANDING

Step № 2 in our Marketing Funnel process occurs when a a prospective customer gains basic UNDERSTANDING about you, your product(s), service(s) and/or any other information that brings them one step closer to becoming your client.

And to be clear, you may not be selling anything, per se. It may be that you’re just advocating a particular philosophy or viewpoint, and you’re trying to get people to believe or follow you.

Fair enough. A Marketing Funnel can help you do this too.

Step Number 3 in the Marketing Funnel: COMPREHENSION

COMPREHENSION is Step № 3 in the Marketing Funnel process.

And the difference between Understanding and Comprehension is that Comprehension means that a prospective client can also explain the context of a thing or service and why that context is important.

Said another way, Comprehension not only requires an Understanding of what something is, but also “Why” that is important. Typically, that’s the difference between defining features versus benefits.

And a Comprehension of Benefits vs. Features is where value is delivered.

Value is delivered when one Comprehends the difference between Benefits and Features

Step Number 4 in the Marketing Funnel: ACCEPTANCE

ACCEPTANCE is when a prospective client “accepts” (or agrees with) the Brand Promise / Messaging surrounding a person, company, product or service.

In other words, it is what they say it is. Or … they are who they say they are. (Said another way, they deliver what they promise.)

This is why Acceptance is Step №4 in the Marketing Funnel.

Step Number 5 in the Marketing Funnel: TRIAL/DEMO

Once someone “accepts” that you know what you’re actually talking about, they’re then ready for their first Trial or Demonstration.

That’s Step №5 in the Marketing Funnel process.

Step Number 6 in the Marketing Funnel: QUOTE

Step №6 in the Marketing Funnel is the price QUOTE. And there are three versions of price “Quotes” in the world today.

Version A of a Price Quote System is one where the price is set and not flexible. For example, when you walk into a restaurant and look at a menu you will find the set prices for the various dishes.

Version B of a Price Quote System is one where there is no displayed price point (such as at a Bazaar or a Flea Market). And in these venues it is understood that the Vendor and the prospective Buyer will haggle back and forth before coming to an agreement as to how much the Buyer will pay.

Version C of a Price Quote System occurs when a “Formal Bid” system is in place, such as when a government agency publishes an

  • RFI (Request For Information),
  • RFP (Request For Proposal), or an
  • RFQ (Request For Quote).

In the three versions of Price Quote Systems, the prospective Buyer essentially says, “I want to buy something” and the Seller says “I will sell you that thing for X.”

So there you have it: The 3 versions of Price Quote Systems that make up Step № 6 of a Marketing Funnel.

Step Number 7 in the Marketing Funnel: SALE

Hoorah! You got a SALE!

That is reason to celebrate, especially as you’ve now moved a Prospective Client into the Client category by reaching Step №7 in the Marketing Funnel.

So go ahead and celebrate. You deserve it, as Marketing and Selling are not easy.

Step Number 8 in the Marketing Funnel: REPEAT CUSTOMER

Although landing a Client is cool, as is making that first Sale, it’s not time to get really excited until that Client becomes a REPEAT CUSTOMER … Step № 8 in the Marketing Funnel.

This is when Brands start to make serious money.

Why? Because it ALWAYS costs less to Market and Sell to an existing Client.

Step Number 9 in the Marketing Funnel: EVANGELIZERS

So … what’s the ultimate goal for any Marketing and Sales effort? {HINT: It’s not a Sale, although that’s important.}

And it’s also not just creating Repeat Customers.

No, the actual end goal of ALL marketing and sales programs should be to create Repeat Customers, clients who are so in love with you and your products/services that they help market and sell for you.

In the sports world we call these people Fans, which is a shortened version of the word Fanatics.

However, in my world, I call ’em EVANGELIZERS. And creating Evangelizers is the 9th and final Step in my Marketing Funnel.

The Marketing Funnel Summarized

So there you have it — the nine steps of the Marketing Funnel (as defined by The David Politis Company):

  1. Awareness
  2. Understanding
  3. Comprehension
  4. Acceptance
  5. Trial/Demo
  6. Quote
  7. Sale
  8. Repeat Customer
  9. Evangelizer

Clearly, all I’ve done here is to outline the What of a Marketing Funnel and not the How. And the reality is that the How of Marketing Funnels is where marketing gets both tricky and fun at the same time as the How of moving prospects into and through a Marketing Funnel is rarely the same from program to program.

And obviously nothing in this article addresses such undertakings as Branding or Messaging or Positioning, each of which are absolutely critical to success in any marketing endeavor.

So feel free to leave questions about Marketing Funnels in the comment field below. Or reach me directly via the form, email or phone number found on my Contact Page. Thanks.

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What do you think? Am I off-base or on point here? Please share your thoughts / comments below.

A marketing and communications expert, David L. Politis recently published his first book — 66 RULES for Publicity Success: Boost Your Company’s Value for Pennies on the Dollar. David currently helps clients address their crises, publicity and marketing challenges through The David Politis Company.