Why sales and communication should speak the same language? Discover what a communication funnel is and start building the Tower of Babel.

Is there a communication funnel or a communication tower?

There is a critical term all professionals who help businesses to sell more are familiar with: sales funnel

However, marketing professionals also use another term, just as essential, but far less known: communication funnel.

Since I would like to make this second term better known, in this post, I’ll write about the communication funnel. Concretely, I’ll focus on the following three questions:

  • What are the similarities and differences between a sales funnel and a communication funnel?
  • When does a communication funnel become a communication tower?
  • How a sales funnel and a communication tower build the iceberg of marketing?

Would you like to know more about these topics? Let’s start with the definition part!

Content writing as the Scarecrow | The Marketing of Oz

As you read this post, you might start looking for the Marketing of Oz. If so, Scarecrow from the film “The Wizard of Oz” will be accompanying you during the search to help you find it. Discover what the Marketing of Oz is and read all the posts that belong to the category “Content writing”.

What is a sales funnel?

At the very start, I’ll provide you with the definition of a sales funnel:

“The Sales Funnel or Conversion Funnel is the process that allows you to define the journey a Buyer Persona must travel from the first visit to your website until completing the sales process and becoming your customer.”

Sales Funnel: Everything You Need to Know, Genwords.com

Although there are many definitions, I chose this one since it contains the three essential elements that help us understand the nature of a sales funnel:

  • Process – It’s a living organism, which changes and evolves. As a company’s goals change, the sales funnel changes, too.
  • Journey – The journey from the first to the last phase of a sales funnel involves a particular transformation. For example, a visitor may start the process looking for information and finish it buying the product.
  • Sale – Finally, the sales funnel ends when it meets its purpose. In most cases, the goal is selling.

A sales funnel turns a VISITOR into a CUSTOMER.

What is a communication funnel?

When it comes to communication, we’re used to speaking about a communication strategy rather than a communication funnel.

One of the reasons for this situation is that it’s incomparably less challenging to define the first term than the second one.

But despite lacking a precise definition, the three elements mentioned above characterise the communication funnel:

  • Process – Just like a sales funnel, a communication funnel is a living organism, too. When a brand decides to modify its voice, vary the tone or remake the style guide, communication changes.
  • Journey – The journey from the first to the last phase of a communication funnel also involves a particular transformation. For instance, a reader may enter the funnel looking for a piece of information and exit it feeling identified with the brand values.
  • Sale – Finally, a communication funnel doesn’t end when the sale closes. On the contrary, it continues through the user experience.

A communication funnel turns a READER into a brand FOLLOWER.

(From this moment on, I’ll focus on written communication since that’s my field of expertise.)

What do these two funnels have in common?

A sales funnel and a communication funnel have more aspects in common, apart from the above-mentioned elements.

Both funnels are composed of a number of stages

The stages of a sales funnel are the following five:

  • Attraction;
  • Interaction;
  • Decision;
  • Conversion;
  • Loyalty.

On the other hand, there are three stages of a communication funnel:

Both funnels start with the same stage

Furthermore, both the sales funnel as the communication funnel begin with the attraction stage:

  • SEO – One way to attract potential customers is to invest in web content that is optimised for search engines (content writing, organic traffic).
  • SEM – Another way is to invest in search engine advertising and social media ads (PPC copywriting, paid traffic).

Additionally, in most of the cases, both funnels start simultaneously, at the same time.

The number of people decreases with each new stage

As the process continues, the number of people in the funnel begin to reduce.

  • TOFU (Top of the Funnel) – The majority of them remain at the top of the funnel.
  • MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) – In the middle part, they are considerably less.
  • BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) – Only a few people reach the funnel bottom to end up being converted into customers.

What are the differences between a sales funnel and a communication funnel?

So far, we’ve seen:

  • On the one hand, what a sales funnel is;
  • On the other hand, what a communication funnel means;
  • In the end, what these two funnels have in common.

Now, it’s time to answer the question about the differences between a sales funnel and a communication funnel.

However, before doing that, let’s not forget that the both funnels start with the same phase (attaction).

When the attraction phase ends, the situation changes.

  • Speaking of the sales funnel, with each next phase, the visitors “go down”, towards the bottom. Eventually, they end up being turned into customers.
  • On the contrary, with each next phase of the communication funnel, the readers “rise”. They go to a higher level.

In other words, when the attraction phase ends, the communication funnel rotates at an angle of 180 degrees. It stops being a funnel and starts resembling a tower.

From the funnel to the tower: communication like the Babel

Speaking of the tower, Im not referring to just any tower. 

I’m speaking of the Tower of Babel (and marketing).

The myth of Babel relates that the people who survived the Great Flood inhabited the ancient city of Babylon and began to build the Tower of Babel. Their intention was to provide shelter in case of another flood. · According to the myth, all people on the Earth spoke the same language back then. · Since people were building a tower so high it could reach heaven, God made them speak different languages. Thus, they abandoned construction. · The myth aims to explain the origin of different languages, whereas the Tower of Babel stands as a symbol of human rebellion against God.

Knowing the audience means adapting the messages

The first reason why communication resembles more a tower than a funnel is contained in the fact that, as the communication process progresses, we start getting to know our audience.

This knowledge allows us to personalise the messages, increase their relevance, and adapt them to the audience’s needs.

  • Content writing – The content focuses on informing and explaining terms and concepts that are of interest to a relatively broad audience.
  • Copywriting – The compelling copy speaks to a small audience, that needs a solution to a specific problem (the goal is to highlight the benefits provided by the solution).
  • UX writing – The UX copy converses with an even smaller audience, the one that decided to use a product or service to solve their problem (the goal is to enhance user experience).

Speaking the same language means understanding the essential goals

The first reason why communication resembles more a tower than a funnel is contained in the fact that we must speak the same language to continue building a project. 

When I say we, I refer to:

  • Professionals who communicate messages;
  • Persons whose job consists of sales activities.

Needless to say, I don’t mean literary same language. What I understand by “speaking the same language” is seeing the bigger picture and understanding:

Building the tower means fighting to fulfil our goal

In the end, the Tower of Babel doesn’t have to denote (only) rebellion against God or someone else. The Tower of Babel also represents the aspiration, struggle, and energy we invest in the fulfilment of our goal.

Therein lies the third reason why communication resembles the Tower of Babel rather than a sales funnel. 

The ultimate goal of communication is to assure the audience gets the right messages and understands the brand’s values, regardless of whether we clinch the deal.

The funnel and the tower make the iceberg of marketing

To conclude the post, let’s see which are the main ideas related to the communication funnel:

  • There are (at least) three similarities and three differences between a sales funnel and a communication tower.
  • These two are not separate processes. Instead, they are connected and dependent on each other.

Therefore, we could conclude that both a sales funnel and a communication tower make a particular iceberg, the iceberg of marketing.

The sales funnel is its invisible part, while the communication tower is a visible one.

In other words, there is no communication without the sale, just as there is no sale without communication.

And without sale and communication, there is no marketing.

A Writing-Friendly Question: How do you perceive communication, like a funnel or a tower?

My name is Stasa Durdic, and I’m a content writer. In other words, I work both on the visible and the invisible side of the iceberg of marketing. If you’re keen to know more about me, please read my story or visit my LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, in case you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to offer you my help with content writing.

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