The new marketing cylinder (not cone) has holes in it, but that’s OK

The new marketing cylinder (not cone) has holes in it, but that’s OK

By Brian McAllister

Vice president of media operations; Netseer

Have you been pouring your ad campaigns into the hackneyed “marketing funnel“?  You know, hitting contextual content at the wide upper funnel, lookalike marketing in the broad funnel middle, and then persistent retargeting over and over again until conversions somehow squeeze out through the small lower funnel?

If so, perhaps you should try using what might be called the “marketing cylinder.”  This holistic model actually uses the long-hyped promise of integrated digital marketing – where all the content and data amassed by all your marketing is continually poured back into the mix.  Conversions can come at any level of the process. So, instead of a small hole at the bottom of the funnel, picture a bunch of much smaller holes all along the sides of the cylinder.

The marketing “funnel” long ago stopped being a linear process.  But too many marketers still see it that way – and run their campaigns accordingly.

What steps can you take to move from the linear funnel to the holistic cylinder?  Here are five to get you going:

  1. Use dynamic creative: Use previous results to continuously change the creative as well as the mix of where ads are running.
  2. Use your offline data (most marketers have tons of it) online. For example, an airline whose prices to Paris are too high could try to convert Paris-seeking travelers to vacation in Rome instead.
  3. Use the data you collect to stop serving ads to people who will never convert.
  4. Use conversion metrics to inform and improve your prospecting tactics.  Take the audience profile of successful convertors to go and find similar users, and drive them to your site.
  5. Use your various tactics in a synergistic way that makes each better informed and more efficient as opposed to pitting them against each other.

Digital marketing no longer needs to be a staid recipe where you first put in your contextual marketing, then add your lookalike marketing and finally your retargeting.  Semantics aside, whether you call it a funnel, a cylinder or just your marketing plan, you should be shaking those ingredients together, mixing them into a coherent whole where building brand awareness and conversions are no longer treated separately.

By connecting all the dots, you’ll get more people converting at all stages of the marketing process. Bring on the cylinder!


BrianMcAllisterBrian McAllister, VP, Media Operations, NetSeer

Brian is a proven expert and leader in revenue optimization and business analytics. On behalf of search, media and startup companies, he has achieved substantial success in growth and led transformative analytics, revenue, and new business teams that frequently bested company goals. A driven and strategic leader well known for his sophisticated analyses, Brian most recently spent three years with Twelvefold Media where he served as VP of Revenue Optimization. Prior to Twelvefold, he advised tech start-ups, including Media River, Tapatap, Clickfacts and KPG Ventures, on revenue strategies, team development processes, and sales operations. Earlier in his career, he served seven years in various positions at search media company LookSmart, including the most recent title Vice President of Business Analytics, where his critical analysis and team building were instrumental in driving the financial performance of the company and besting aggressive margin goals.

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