Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Funnel of Uncertainty

As a hurricane barrels up the Eastern seaboard, my local TV weather lady keeps blabbing about the "Funnel of Uncertainty" between Florida and New Jersey, as she gestures at the cartoon conoid on her screen.

Management theorists talk about the "Tunnel of Uncertainty," the corridor on the road to results where "project dampeners" resist "project amplifiers" at every step.

And software developers talk about the "Cone of Uncertainty," the passage of time from when every cost-estimate is a sheer, wild-ass guess to when costs are nailed tighter than a drum.

But I'd never heard anyone talk about the "Funnel of Uncertainty," until my weather lady brought it up.

It's an apt phrase to describe the hell hole prospective customers tumble into, once they surrender their email addresses to marketers.

"Funnel" because that's where marketers shove you as you begin—wittingly or not—your "buyer's journey."

"Uncertainty" because you never know what treatment you might receive along the way. 

In most cases, first you get an email from someone named Kyle, who insists you need a demo. Then you get an email with a link to some goofy infographic. Then, another with a link to an inscrutable slide show. Then, another containing a newsletter you wouldn't read under penalty of death. And then another email with a threat to remove you from the list, should you fail to respond.

There's nothing wrong with funnels; there's nothing wrong with uncertainty.

There's something very wrong with most marketers' graceless treatment of prospects.

Entertaining and educating prospects in the funnel is the corrective to the "buy now or go away forever" vibes you're sending.

Try them out.
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