Marketing Purchase Funnel

The Purchase Funnel Process

One useful marketing exercise that we always invite our clients to engage in (when setting the objectives for any promotional / marketing video) is to identify at what stage in the purchasing process is the prospective viewer (ie the target market) of the video is currently at - in terms of the process of potentially making a purchase (from their company). There are some useful marketing models that identify the various stages that a buyer goes through before eventually making a purchase.  We have provided some detail on such a model below.

The Purchase Funnel

The purchase (or ‘purchasing’) funnel is a conceptual model that describes a theoretical series of steps (or ‘stages’) that every purchaser will go through - from the moment of first contact with your company’s products or services to finally making a purchase. Any business person that has products or services that they would like to promote and sell to their target market will benefit from an understanding of this model.

At each stage in the prospect/client purchasing funnel journey, marketeers can take advantage of various Video Marketing options. These videos can facilitate the process of encouraging the prospect to progress through the stages to eventually making a purchase. Once the initial purchase has been made, relevant video content ideally lead to making further purchases and becoming an advocate for the company’s brand. These options can then be incorporated into the planning of Marketing Campaigns and the implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Strategies.

The exact number of stages and the duration of the process can vary depending on the customer and the nature of the product or service on offer. The ‘funnel’ shape is used to reduce the number of potential prospects at each stage – and the objective of marketing efforts is to encourage as many prospects as possible to go through every stage in the process.

Decisions made at each stage affect their likelihood of proceeding to the next step in the process of making a purchase (or paying for a service).

The Stages in the Purchasing Funnel are as follows …

  • Pre-Awareness
  • Awareness
  • Research & Familiarity
  • Opinion formation (& Shortlisting of available options)
  • Consideration
  • Decision to Purchase (the actual ‘transaction’)
  • Becoming an Advocate
  • Repurchase Intent

At Imagelink Film & Media, we work with our clients to create relevant Video Marketing content that caters for prospects at various stages in the purchasing process.  While some videos can cover a number of stages in one go, others can be specifically targeted to prospects at a particular stage in the process (for example a video aimed purely at creating awareness of the company – without going into detail of individual products in their range).

  1. Pre-awareness

This before the prospect/customer becomes aware of your brand. If the potential customer has a requirement for a particular product or service – it is important to develop a strategy to  make them aware that your company exists and is a potential provider of the product or service that they require.

  1. Awareness

Individuals are made aware of your Company and the Products and Services you offer. Their intent to purchase will be affected by their circumstances, their financial situation and any ‘need’ they have or problem that needs solving.

Once your company (or ‘brand’) has received some attention – then it is important to provide more information on the specific product or service that they require.

  1. Research & familiarity

At this stage the potential customer has decided that they require, want or need a particular product or service (of the type that your company offers). They actively start to explore the available options and make comparisons between the various potential supplies of the product or service required. They actively engage in researching the product (or service) offerings and might ask others opinions on what is the best choice. The amount of time spent at this stage will vary depending on the value of the product or service that they require – the greater the financial value of the purchase the longer most customers will spend assessing the options.

You should provide details on the features of the product but also on how these will benefit the prospect if they make a purchase from your company. Any positive feedback from your existing customers can prove very valuable at this stage.

  1. Opinion formation & Shortlisting of the options

Decisions are made on the most favourable looking sources for what the customer requires. As shortlist is formed.

It is important to differentiate your offering (and your company) from any potential competitors.  For example if your company offers a 2 year warranty, it is important that this is communicated to the prospects.

  1. Consideration

Contact is made with the various (shortlisted) potential providers. Phone calls, Email requests for further information, visits to the premises/show-rooms, attending product demonstrations, taking test-drives, seeking the opinions of people who have already purchased.

This stage may involve dealing with your sales representative(s).  All the options should be clear to the prospect. All features should be demonstrated or explained – all their questions should be answered.

  1. Decision to purchase

The final decision is made on the provider (the brand) of the product or service and whether the customer can afford it. Then the payment is made (either online or in person).

This is where the transaction takes place (it needs to be a ‘smooth’ process). Any ‘deals’ on offer are availed of by the customer at this stage.  Make sure that the ‘product’ hand over (delivery etc) is also a smooth process.

  1. Becoming a Brand Advocate

Once the consumer has made a purchase they will soon form an opinion on the product (or service) that they have acquired. Was it good value for money?  Did it meet their requirements?  Did it solve the problem it was designed to be a solution to? Did it retain its value (prove durable over time).  Once this opinion is formed, they will communicate their experience with others – either positively or negatively depending on their experience with the product of service.  They will ideally positively endorse your company’s offering through word of mouth or online.

Is the warranty recognised if something goes wrong? What is the follow up service like? Is the customer a happy customer?  Do they stay a happy customer?  Will they try to convince others to make a similar purchase from your company.

  1. Repurchase intent

An existing customer is much easier to convert (to a future sales prospect) than a totally new prospect. This is important to bear in mind as part of your marketing strategy. They will either require more of the same product or service or will need to replace or upgrade the product initially purchased.  It is important that their initial purchasing experience and their experience of the product or service in question was positive. If it was then they are very likely to choose the same supplier for their subsequent purchase(s).

This process takes them back to stage 3 above – where they will again want to re-familiarise themselves with the offerings of your company – with regard to the range of products or services you now offer, current prices etc – they may again compare the options available with those of the competition.  They then go through all of the subsequent steps again in the process of making the next purchase from your company.

The customers can be invited back – hold a special event – demonstrate your new product range.  You want to be on the short list for their ‘new’ car or replacement of the ‘product’ if it expires, wears out etc

By understanding where any potential customers are in their decision making process you can adapt the communications / messages to personalise them and make them more relevant and appropriate for each stage.  

The marketing mix should include strategies to make customers into ‘advocates’ for your company, and its products and services.

Note: The Forrester Report (2007) makes some adjustments to what is known as the ‘Traditional Purchase Funnel’ (outlined above). The state that the traditional model may be a little too ‘linear’ for the modern purchasing environment – where many complex factors are involved (including the influence of social media).  They propose a five stage purchase funnel process which includes …

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Preference
  • Action
  • Loyalty (with ‘Advocates’ being ranked on different Loyalty levels)

The Forrester model does not differ too much from the Traditional model.  What is important is that when you are developing a Marketing Strategy, that you are always mindful to create marketing content than can target prospects that are different stages in the process of making the decision to purchase from your company.

At Imagelink Film & Media, we can assist with this process by creating Marketing Video Content that is appropriate for each stage of the process. Naturally, some videos can cover a number of different stages at once. When creating a business video it is always useful to be  mindful of exactly how far along in the purchasing funnel process that the potential viewer of the video currently is. This can be of great assistance when setting the objectives of the video,  as well as being useful when creating the ‘concept’ for the video.

For example, a video that is aimed at new prospects (that may not yet even be aware of your company) will be different (in content and focus) to a video aimed at assisting (or retaining) existing customers.  Both videos contain information targeted at customers (or prospects) at different stages of the purchasing funnel model.

Marketing Videos for different stages of the ‘Purchasing Funnel’ process

All marketing videos are ultimately aimed at maximising sales and growing your business. Depending on the relevant ‘purchasing funnel’ stage of the viewer being targeted, this overall objective can be achieved in different ways. At ImageLink Film & Media, we are available to assist your company with all of your Video Content requirements.  We can create a range of videos that can facilitate the Sales of your Products and Services in the most efficient manner.  Some examples of the types of video that we can create for your company are detailed below.

Pre-awareness / Awareness

An ‘Awareness Video’ will be focused on introducing your company (and what it offers) to new prospects. This is the first step in the process, and is aimed at enticing them to take the first steps towards interacting with your company - and eventually making their first purchase (or availing of the services that your company offers).

Brand Awareness Videos are examples of promotional videos that are appropriate at this stage. This type of video should be an integral part of any overall marketing strategy of making new prospects aware of your Brand.

Short Video Adverts of Video Commercials can be a very effective style of video to achieve the objective of making new clients aware of your company’s offering  – when you don’t have a lot of time to grab the interest of a viewer, it is important to get your key marketing message across – in the most time efficient way.

Once prospects are aware of your company (and you have their interest) we at ImageLink Film & Media can create further relevant video content that focuses on the specific products or services that your company offers. We can create videos that actively demonstrate (to these prospects) how a ‘need’ that they have will be resolved by acquiring the products (or services on offer) as well as how your specific products (or services) can solve a specific problem they might have.

Research & familiarity / Opinion formation & Shortlisting of the options

During the Research & Familiarity and the Opinion Formation stages in the purchasing process, the potential customer has already decided that they require, want or need a particular product or service (of the type that your company offers).  While they are exploring the available options, it is important to promote video content to these prospects that will encourage them to actively engage further with your company.

Any competitive advantages that your company can offer over your competitors should be highlighted in these videos. Value for money is one possible competitive advantage.  If you don’t compete on price then your video should emphasise the Quality of your products and the service they will receive from your company staff. The features of the individual products should be clearly demonstrated, but these videos should also demonstrate how these features will be of direct benefit to the viewer if they make a purchase (or acquire the services of your company). Product Demonstration Videos, Sales Presentations backed up with Video Content, Client Testimonial Videos can all be useful for this part of the process.

Consideration / Decision to purchase

These stages in the process will usually involve direct contact with your company  - in various ways depending on the nature of your business. Interaction can be through phone calls, emails requesting further information, visits to the premises/show-rooms, attending product demonstrations and so on.  By including ‘Clickable Links’ in your video content as well as ending videos with a strategic ‘Call to Action’ we can encourage the necessary company interaction at this stage in the process - which is where all the clients questions are answered and they hopefully decide to become a customer of your company.

Becoming a Brand Advocate

Once the consumer has made a purchase they will soon form an opinion on the product (or service) that they have acquired. This is where you can invite satisfied customers to partake in creating Client Testimonial Videos for your company.  These videos can then be used to reassure future clients of the quality and reliability of your products (and services).  This creates Trust and increases the likelihood that they will make a purchase from your company as opposed to from your competitor.

Repurchase intent

An existing customer is much easier to convert (to a future sales prospect) than a totally new prospect. Email marketing campaigns containing video content specifically created for existing customers can be quiet effective.  Special Offers (aimed solely at existing customers), Training Videos, Product Update Videos and promotional videos focused on upselling related products or Upgrading their existing products – can also be very affective at this stage. Posting such videos on appropriate industry blogs and forums can be a another promotional tactic to implement as part of your comprehensive Video Marketing Strategy.


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