Why Marketing Quits Working: Optimizing Your Marketing Funnel for Ecommerce Success

July 19, 2023
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As Marketing Leaders, it's a reality we've had to grapple with more times than we'd like to admit—the moment when marketing strategies stop producing results. And many ecommerce leaders are finding that their most reliable go-to strategy–the marketing funnel–has stopped working. The traditional marketing funnel, once a reliable tool, is becoming an antique in the face of rapidly evolving consumer behaviors.

In this piece, we dive into why the overreliance on this age-old funnel might be the weak link in your marketing strategy. We'll underscore how a comprehensive, full-funnel approach can revitalize your marketing efforts, potentially unlocking significant value for your enterprise.

Additionally, we'll explore the crucial role of a well-structured content strategy in navigating these complex customer paths. From igniting interest in your target demographic and nurturing leads, to driving conversions with engaging bottom-of-the-funnel content like crisp product overviews and persuasive success stories - content reigns supreme in this redefined landscape of marketing.

The Old Way: The Linear Funnel

Before we get to solutions, let’s talk about the problem at the heart of ecommerce marketing:

The traditional marketing funnel

The traditional marketing funnel is what many of us were taught to grow an ecommerce store. This funnel starts with a direct ad to “buy now”, pulls the lead onto a product page, and ends when they complete their checkout.

As we’ve explored in previous blog posts about content’s impact on ad results, it’s no longer enough to run ads to the 1-3% who are ready to buy now. The internet has fundamentally changed in the last 20+ years, and with it, the funnel strategies that work. Engaging your audience and growing your customer base requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses all stages of the marketing funnel and, more importantly, the entire customer journey.

Which is why we suggest a new strategy: full-funnel marketing.

A Better Approach: Full-Funnel Marketing

It makes sense that if you’re losing customers along the way, it's time for a strategic rethink.

Full-funnel marketing isn't just another buzzword in digital marketing; it’s a formidable strategy that focuses on every stage of the marketing funnel, shepherding potential customers from initial awareness to final purchase decision. It doesn't matter if you're an ecommerce store, lead generation, or service based business... going full-funnel is table stakes for marketers.

Unlike traditional brand trackers or isolated social media ad campaigns, full-funnel marketing delivers a seamless customer experience. It combines content marketing strategies with machine learning-driven ad markets to effectively reach your ideal customer at each stage of their journey.

Whereas the traditional funnel only addresses conversions, full-funnel marketing’s power lies in addressing the three key phases of the buying journey: attracting attention to your brand, nurturing leads, and driving conversions that generate revenue.

Full-Funnel  Marketing

A formidable strategy that focuses on every stage of the marketing funnel, shepherding potential customers from initial awareness to final purchase decision.

Attracting Attention: Top-of-the-Funnel

The top of the marketing funnel is where the magic of discovery happens. It's where potential customers first meet your brand. An effective content strategy at this stage is more than important; it's vital.

Navigating the Top Funnel

Your primary goal at this stage should be increasing visibility among your targeted audience. This means getting your brand noticed by people who are likely to become loyal customers down the line. You're not trying to make immediate sales here; instead, you're laying the groundwork for future purchase decisions by being entertaining and tapping into common audience desires and aspirations

Benefits of Effective Top Funnel Strategies

An effective top-of-funnel strategy not only helps broaden your customer base but also bolsters existing relationships. Forget traditional brand trackers; with digital ‘brand lift’ surveys, you get real-time feedback, pinpointing what's working and what needs improvement.

Action Steps: Content Creation & Ad Buying

  • Develop a Content Plan: Develop a detailed content plan based on key themes that resonate with your target audience. Talk to your current customers, not just a survey. They will tell you what's important, what doesn't matter, and how it has made their life better... all in their own words.
  • Publish Engaging Content: Create engaging blog posts or videos that encourage users to make branded searches about these topics and relate directly back to your products/services.
  • Be Where your Customers Are: Create platform specific videos and social posts based on the awareness content. You can use a tool like Opus.Pro to slice long-form content into highly engaging Tiktoks.
  • Maintain Brand Consistency: Ensure consistency in messaging across all channels – whether it's email marketing, social media ads or website copy – that way consumers have a seamless experience no matter where they encounter you online.

If executed correctly, top funnel strategies offer tremendous opportunities for growth. They allow businesses not only to capture attention but also to build lasting relationships with potential customers long before they’re ready to buy anything - setting up strong foundations further down the sales process when conversion becomes the end goal.

Nurturing Leads: Middle-of-the-Funnel

Understanding the middle of the marketing funnel is crucial for improving customer acquisition and retention. This stage, often referred to as MOFU (Middle Of Funnel), involves nurturing potential customers who've shown interest in your brand or products.

The Goals and Benefits of a Mid-Funnel Strategy

A well-executed mid-funnel strategy aims at building trust with potential customers by providing valuable content that answers their questions, solves their problems, and ultimately moves them closer to making a purchase decision. The benefits are twofold; not only does this help you convert leads into sales, but it also helps build long-term relationships with your customer base.

Actionable Steps for Nurturing Leads

  • Create Integrated Ad Buys:  Integrate your media spend across various platforms for effective reach. This includes Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and other social and PPC platforms. Ensure that you maintain brand consistency across them for a smooth customer journey.
  • Offer Value through Content Marketing: Providing value through informative content fosters trust. A solid content strategy, including blogs, social videos, and webinars addressing common questions or issues faced by your ideal customer, can go a long way in nurturing leads.
  • Leverage Success Stories: Sharing success stories from satisfied customers provides social proof that influences buying behavior positively. These testimonials should be strategically placed at different stages of the sales funnel where they will drive the customer to take the next action.

If you're losing customers midway through the funnel, then there's room for improvement in nurturing these leads towards conversion. The bottom line is, driving traffic is crucial, but providing a holistic customer experience to retain it is what truly drives conversions and ROI. So, ask yourself, are you merely driving traffic, or are you making the journey worthwhile for your potential customers?

Driving Conversions: Bottom-of-the-Funnel

The bottom of the marketing funnel is where potential customers are converted into actual buyers. This is a critical part of your marketing funnel and needs to be executed with precision.

Goals for Bottom of Funnel Strategy

Your goal at this stage should be clear: convert potential customers into paying ones. This means creating highly targeted ad creatives that address any objections, developing compelling content strategies that resonate with your audience, and optimizing your social media ad spend to reach people where they are most likely to make a purchase decision.

Actionable Steps for Effective Conversion

  • Create Targeted Ad Creatives: Make ad content that is tailored to address any objections your potential customers might have. Use your customer's words to your advantage. Use their language and success stories to alleviate any fears.
  • Develop Engaging Content: A solid content plan focused on the needs and interests of your target audience can significantly increase conversions. Remember, content marketing isn't just about selling—it's about providing value that makes branded search queries irresistible.
  • Leverage Social Media Ads: If done right, Instagram and Facebook ads can drive significant conversions by reaching out directly to interested audiences—those already familiar with your brand or products/services. Fine-tune your ad spend to reach your audience at their most receptive points in the customer journey.

How will you know if your marketing funnels are working? You'll need to make sure that each step in the customer journey—from awareness through consideration—is tracked meticulously using advanced analytics tools. This data-driven approach will allow you to tweak tactics as needed based on real-time feedback. It'll show you where you’re losing customers and help you achieve your end goal.

Overcoming Brand Building's Measurement Problem

Unlike with traditional TV ads, digital 'brand lift' surveys provide an innovative solution to measuring brand-building efforts within full-funnel approaches. They provide real-time insights into how ad spend influences consumer perceptions throughout their purchasing process – ultimately helping brands optimize where they allocate resources for maximum ROI.

Personalizing Interactions for Better Engagement

In a Semrush study, 71% of consumers said they expect personalized interactions. That's huge.

To meet this demand, it is essential to devise strategies for creating personalized content at each funnel stage. Personalized experiences distinguish your brand in the crowded digital landscape, so tailor your messages to align with individual preferences and behaviors throughout the sales cycle.

Now that we've explored why full-funnel marketing matters so much, let's delve into how you navigate these changing dynamics next.

Embracing the Changing Landscape of Marketing

Much like a rollercoaster, the field of marketing is perpetually in flux. The majority of consumers have embraced new shopping behaviors—online and in-person. To stay relevant, businesses must adapt swiftly and effectively to these shifting dynamics.

How to Leverage Social Media and Search Advertising to Fill Gaps in Your Marketing Funnels

Digital marketing demands that businesses adapt their strategies continuously. With the rise of machine learning and targeting on ad platforms, marketers have a unique opportunity to reach potential customers at various stages of the customer journey.

Facebook Ads and Google Ads play pivotal roles in funnel marketing, helping move people down your sales funnel swiftly. However, they are not always the most cost-effective methods. Understanding how these platforms can be optimized for your end goal is key.

Filling The Funnel with Facebook Ads

A well-crafted Facebook ad campaign can help attract new prospects into your marketing funnels while nurturing existing leads towards conversion. By sharing success stories or showcasing products/services uniquely tailored for specific audience segments, you’re creating a complete customer experience that should influence purchase decisions positively.

Leveraging Google Ads For Targeted Reach

Google Ads provide an unparalleled ability to create integrated ads across multiple channels (especially, through Performance Max) - from search results pages to partner websites and even YouTube videos. This allows brands not only to increase visibility but also enhance their content strategy by reaching audiences actively seeking related information or solutions.

Bridging The Gap with Content Marketing

An effective content plan is crucial within any successful marketing strategy because it helps guide potential customers through different stages of their journey – from awareness right through consideration and decision-making phases. High-quality content not only enhances SEO efforts but also facilitates branded search queries. This approach helps improve customer retention and attracts new clients by offering value beyond mere transactions.

Each stage of the funnel has a purpose, like grabbing attention, generating leads, or closing conversions. But, the customer journey doesn't end after they make a purchase.

Post Funnel: How to Create Repeat Customers and Brand Advocates

In today's highly competitive digital landscape, creating a loyal customer base is more important than ever. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through funnel marketing. This strategy involves guiding potential customers along their journey from awareness to purchase decision, then beyond towards becoming repeat buyers and brand advocates.

The Role of Content Marketing in Customer Retention

Content marketing plays a pivotal role in maintaining engagement with your audience post-purchase. It’s about providing value beyond the product or service you offer. A robust content plan can help you establish strong relationships with your customers by sharing success stories, offering valuable insights, and fostering an ongoing conversation around your brand.

Educating Customers

Providing customers with useful, relevant content can also help foster loyalty. This could involve how-to guides, tips for getting the most out of your product, or insightful industry news. By positioning your brand as a helpful resource, you can build a stronger relationship with customers and encourage repeat business.

Delighting Customers with Unexpected Extras

Consider surprising your customers with unexpected extras. This could be a personalized note, a free sample, or even early access to new products or sales. These small tokens of appreciation can make a big difference in how customers perceive your brand and whether they choose to make repeat purchases.

Implementing a Strong Customer Service Strategy

Great customer service can turn a one-time buyer into a repeat customer, and eventually, a brand advocate. Quick response times, helpful support, and friendly interactions can all contribute to a positive customer experience. Remember, even negative situations can be turned into positive experiences with effective problem-solving skills.

Encouraging Product Reviews and Testimonials

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products through reviews and testimonials. This not only provides you with valuable feedback but also helps build trust with potential customers. Reviews and testimonials can be shared on your website, social media, and other marketing channels to help attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Listening to Customer Feedback

Listening to and acting on customer feedback is crucial in fostering loyalty. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, taking it into account demonstrates to customers that you value their opinions and are committed to improving their experiences.


In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital marketing, taking a full-funnel approach is no longer optional; it's a necessity. By integrating top-of-the-funnel strategies that attract attention with middle and bottom-of-the-funnel tactics that nurture leads and drive conversions, you can create a holistic customer journey that encourages brand loyalty and repeat business. Listening to your customers, maintaining a strong customer service strategy, and delighting customers with unexpected extras all contribute to creating an experience that transcends mere transactions.

Embrace the full-funnel approach, enrich your content strategy, and leverage cutting-edge tools to stay ahead of the game.

See How Tier 11 Maximizes Your Ad Spend


Many marketing leaders have questions about how to adapt their strategies and leverage new trends. Here are some frequently asked questions we've received from dozens of top marketing executives:

What is Full-Funnel Marketing and Why is it Important?

Full-funnel marketing is a comprehensive approach to marketing that addresses the customer journey in its entirety - from the initial awareness stage to the final purchase, and beyond. It is important as it allows businesses to guide potential customers through the buying process, effectively converting leads into customers and promoting customer loyalty.

How Can I Implement Full-Funnel Marketing in My Business?

Implementing full-funnel marketing involves creating tailored strategies for each stage of the customer journey. This includes raising brand awareness, nurturing leads through valuable content, driving conversions through targeted ad creatives and personalized content, and maintaining customer engagement post-purchase.

What Role Does Content Marketing Play in a Full-Funnel Approach?

Content marketing is crucial at every stage of the full-funnel approach. It is used to generate interest at the top of the funnel, nurture leads in the middle of the funnel, and encourage conversions at the bottom. Post-purchase, content marketing is key to maintaining customer engagement, building strong relationships, and fostering loyalty through the delivery of valuable and relevant content.

How Does the Full-Funnel Approach Improve Customer Acquisition and Retention?

A full-funnel approach provides a comprehensive customer journey, from the initial stages of awareness to the final purchase decision, and beyond. By addressing customer needs and interests at each stage, and providing a seamless, personalized experience, this approach improves both the acquisition of new customers and retention of existing ones.

How Can I Use Social Media Ads to Boost Full-Funnel Marketing?

Social media ads, particularly those on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, can play a pivotal role in full-funnel marketing. They can attract new prospects at the top of the funnel, nurture existing leads in the middle, and drive conversions at the bottom. These ads can reach audiences already familiar with your brand, product, or service, and can be fine-tuned to reach potential customers at their most receptive stages.

Why is Customer Feedback Important in a Full-Funnel Strategy?

Customer feedback is crucial in shaping and refining your full-funnel strategy. It provides valuable insights into what your customers value, where their interests lie, and how their experience with your brand could be improved. Acting on this feedback shows your commitment to improving customer experiences and fosters loyalty.

How Can a Full-Funnel Approach Maximize My ROI in Digital Marketing?

A full-funnel approach, by engaging customers at all stages of their journey, maximizes opportunities for conversion and repeat business. By tailoring strategies to each stage of the funnel - from raising awareness, nurturing leads, driving conversions to fostering loyalty - businesses can ensure that their marketing efforts are efficient and effective, leading to higher return on investment (ROI).

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