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What is a Customer Marketing Funnel?

A customer marketing funnel refers to the multiple stages a customer goes through in their buying journey—from awareness of your brand all the way through to when they actually make a purchase, and beyond.

The customer marketing funnel is important to recognize, because it’s not always a clear-cut process of going straight from learning about a brand to making a purchase. Google found that the average customer has 2.8 brand touchpoints between learning about a product and making a purchase, including a combination of digital and offline channels. Depending on the type of product, it may be days, weeks, or even months from when a customer first learns about your brand to when they decide to purchase.

What are the stages of the customer marketing funnel, and what can you do to nurture leads at each stage to help them gain trust in your brand more quickly?

Stages of the Marketing Funnel

A typical marketing funnel has five stages:


In this stage, customers first become aware of your brand or product. There are many ways this can happen, whether online or offline. It may come from an ad campaign, an event, signage, social media content, organic search, etc. Whatever the case, this stage is purely about the customer discovering your brand.


In the consideration stage, they’re closer to being ready to make a purchase, and are ready to start considering their options. At this point, they’re comparing you to other players in your space, by reading online reviews and asking for recommendations. Customer testimonials can be helpful here, as can competitive scorecards that demonstrate how your brand is different from your competitors.


In the final stage before purchase, customers are thinking more about how your specific situation fits their needs and workflow. At this point, you can include personalized marketing based on each customer’s unique interests and preferences. Your marketing should include clear CTAs, encouraging them to make a purchase. If your product is more complex, you might also route them to a sales team member so they can provide a demo and talk through any questions the customer has about specific use cases.


This is the stage at which they finally convert by making a purchase, either in an online shopping cart or in-store.


The final stage, loyalty, refers to the customer’s continued desire to engage with your brand. Ongoing, highly relevant messages and offers will support customer retention and loyalty.

Your marketing funnel doesn’t stop once the customer has converted—in fact, it’s more of a circle. To retain loyal customers, it’s important to put a re-engagement or winback sequence in place that keeps your customers coming back with relevant content and offers that speak to their needs at every point in time.

Tips for Nurturing Customers Through the Funnel

It’s common for customers to drop out of the funnel during the process—they may lose interest, or decide that a competitor’s product is a better fit for their needs. But, if you put in place a comprehensive, cross-channel marketing strategy to nurture your leads through every phase, you’ll be more likely to see customers ultimately convert and remain loyal to your brand.

Here’s how:

Leverage Behavioral Data to Personalize your Content

By using an integrated data solution that pulls together data from your CRM, analytics tools, e-commerce solution, and other tools, you’ll be able to use real-time behavioral data paired with demographic data to develop customized offers for customers that are highly relevant to them. For example, if one customer in the consideration stage visited a product page for a tennis racket, you can follow up with a marketing campaign that showcases other recommended tennis rackets and accessories, such as tennis balls and apparel.

Reach Your Customers on Their Preferred Channels

To drive engagement and nurture your leads down the customer marketing funnel, incorporate all of the marketing channels your customers use. This might include email, SMS, social, push notifications, in-app messaging, and direct mail. It’s important to provide a unified customer experience across all of these channels, with cohesive messaging that aligns with the customer journey.

Time Your Messages Based on Customer Actions

To create brand touchpoints at the points in the marketing funnel when your customers are most likely to engage, set up triggered marketing campaigns that send real-time messages based on your customers’ actions. This way, they’ll receive the messages immediately at the point when they have the highest likelihood to engage. For example, if a customer adds an item to their shopping cart, but doesn’t check out, they should receive an abandoned cart message shortly after, reminding them to return to your site or app to complete the purchase. If they don’t respond to the initial message, use cross-channel marketing to re-engage them on the other channels they use.


By developing a strong cross-channel marketing strategy that maximizes engagement at each touchpoint throughout the customer marketing funnel, you can use technology to help you nurture your customers more efficiently, leading to increased rates and faster timelines for converting them. And by creating relevant, personalized experiences for your customers at every stage, you’ll be able to build trust in your brand, boost engagement rates, and increase customer loyalty rates.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.