Every year for Christmas I make a very large trifle.  We tend to have a crowd on Boxing Day and something light and fruity for dessert makes a change from all the more solid food we’ve been eating.

As I think about starting this year’s, the idea that marketing is rather like a trifle won’t get out of my head.  I think perhaps helped by the fact that my wonderful trifle dish is shaped rather like that business theory model, the customer journey map or sales and marketing funnel (as per my illustration above).

This is why I think it’s a useful comparison. Your marketing should cover a range of channels and media so that your potential audience has many different opportunities to experience or engage with your business.  Just like everyone has their favourite layer of a trifle, everyone will engage with the aspect of your marketing that appeals most to them (for me, it’s the layer with jelly and mandarins; for Uncle Terry, it’s the butterscotch whip I use instead of custard).

To extend the analogy further, I think it’s important that you add different layers to your marketing depending on how far down the funnel your potential customers are.  For example, your messages on Twitter (top of the funnel, most likely) might be about raising awareness of something new, with a call to action to visit your website; however, your messages on LinkedIn (an audience of existing connections) might offer discounts, more focussed on a direct sale to an established customer.  But both messages still need to sit together in the same ‘trifle dish’/marketing plan and complement each other’s flavours.

And, before I stretch this analogy too far, just one final thought. Too many people seem to spend too much time focussing on sales – the bottom of the funnel – without considering how much effort they are putting in at the top.  Yes, the effort that goes in at the top might take a while to pay off (we’ve probably all had a lead who took 12 months or more to convert into a customer) but it’s a funnel-shape for a reason; think about your marketing efforts to your sales efforts in that sort of proportion.  After all, if the top of your trifle doesn’t look appetising enough, no one is going to want to dig in their spoon.

Merry Christmas!

Thanks and credit to Trackmaven (now part of Skyword) for their customer funnel illustration.