Which Tactics Do Marketers Consider Effective At Different Stages of the Funnel?

August 14, 2019

Many marketers could be suffering from leaky funnels, as the majority (82%) of businesses have zero to moderate integration of funnel sections, while only 2% say they have complete integration of their funnel sections. To make matters worse, according to a report [download page] from GetResponse and Demand Metric, 7 in 10 of the more than 250 respondents surveyed report they either don’t know or have an imprecise understanding of funnel ROI.

Despite this, what marketers have been able to figure out is that some tactics work better than others, depending on which part of the funnel buyers are in. That being said, the majority of tactics that marketers employ tend to be most effective in the beginning stages of the funnel. Respondents rated referral marketing (76%), events marketing (73%), content marketing (64%), search marketing (59%), owned and paid media (59% and 57%, respectively) and social media marketing (57%) either better or best when used at the top of the funnel.

The use of events marketing as a top-of-the-funnel tactic is supported by prior research (also by Demand Gen Report), finding that in-person events were the top-rated demand gen tactic used by B2B marketers. More specifically, a recent report from Bizzabo revealed that B2B tech marketers found in-person events to be the most effective channel overall.

Video marketing is the one stand-out tactics that appears to have increased effectiveness towards the bottom-of-the-funnel. Indeed, 61% of respondents say that video marketing is most effective at that section of the funnel, compared to 51% of respondents who feel it is best for top-of-the-funnel activities. A survey of B2B marketers earlier this year found that video was one of the top trends to look out for.

Best-Performing Does Not Equal Most-Used

Marketers may have an idea of the effectiveness of certain tactics at various stages of the funnel, but that doesn’t mean they readily use those tactics. In fact, while the best performing tactics for top-of-the-funnel are referral, events and content marketing, the most-used tactics are email marketing, owned media and events marketing, in that order.

Although there is more alignment between the best-performing tactics and the tactics used most often by marketers at the bottom-of-the-funnel, they don’t quite line up either. The best performing tactics for this section of the funnel were referral, events and video marketing. Yet, respondents use email, events and referral marketing most often.

It’s apparent that email marketing is the most used tactic no matter which section of the funnel marketers are targeting. This is despite email marketing being considered one of the top three performers only middle-of-the-funnel.

What may drive marketers to use email most often, in all stages of the funnel, is its ease of use. That being said, while email marketing was ranked second in all stages of the funnel for its ease to execute, the easiest tactic to use, according to respondents, was social media marketing. Additionally, while a report from earlier this year by Ascend2 agrees that social media marketing was the easiest tactic to use, it differs with the GetResponse data by finding social media marketing is the most effective tactic overall, as well.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results of the study are based on a survey of 264 respondents from B2B (43%), B2C (15%) and mixed B2B/B2C (31%) companies.

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