Is Marketing Automation Dead? Adapting for the Dark Funnel - Carney
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Is Marketing Automation Dead? Adapting for the Dark Funnel

Marketing has shifted more and more into being people-powered. And since data tracking, attribution models, and MarTech stacks are more complicated than ever, where does automation fit in the grand scheme of people-powered sales funnels?

First, what is the Dark Funnel?

What influences your marketing funnel often happens behind the scenes. Potential buyers will often talk to their peers, meet at events, read blogs, or check out reviews on G2 before making a buying decision. And almost all of that is untrackable — hence why it’s dark.

B2B buyer behavior is changing thanks to the dark funnel. By the time a lead is on your website, they’ve done their research, spoken to peers, and are ready to evaluate a shortlist of options. This makes capturing website visitors’ emails and putting them into a nurture program next to useless, and why SaaS companies are only able to convert around 40% of their inbound leads to sales meetings.

Marketing Automation Today

Time to adapt! Marketing automation is still possible with the dark funnel happening in the background. You just have to adjust your approach.

The previous idea of marketing automation was around capturing leads. Today, because of the speed of buying, it’s more about the “straight-to-meeting” imperative. When a lead has entered your funnel, you have to be ready to move on them in two ways:

  1. They have done enough research in the dark funnel, so book a meeting immediately.
  2. They’re not quite sure…so book a meeting immediately.

Your automation strategy should be centered around immediate action instead of older-school email nurturing.

Check out the full blog post from Chili Piper for more insights on keeping your funnels, leads, and conversions buttoned up.


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