The Value of Upper Funnel Lead Marketing

Tech marketers have an exacting remit to deliver high-quality, deep-pocketed marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) into their sales pipelines. The constant pressure to deliver is tied to immediate ROI expectation that equates marketing spend directly to the number of leads brought in and then calculates the monetary value of that lead based on presumed lifetime sales into that company.

This is a valid approach that is not likely to change. However, it should not deny the brand awareness needed to prepare high-quality prospects to be receptive to lead gen marketing and nurture campaigns.

The level of effort needed just to turn the head of a high-quality prospect is boosted by brand marketing to a broad group of potential customers.

Benefits of top-of-funnel brand marketing promotions:

  • Messaging to upper-funnel contacts builds brand and product awareness. It lays the groundwork for lead gen engagement when that person/company is ready to make a purchase decision.
  • Proper brand-focused messaging creates recognition and builds a positive reputation.
  • Companies can try out messaging tactics before committing to lengthy content messaging.
  • Content engagement shows pre-purchase interest or research activity of a company well before they raise their hand with a form submission.
  • A team will likely weigh in on a purchase decision, so content and messaging that influences the broader team can positively influence those who will never become an explicit lead but will impact the company’s decision.
  • Executive-level decision makers rarely download whitepapers or sit through webinars, but they are certainly part of a company’s buying decision. You can continue to reinforce brand identity and reputation up and down your prospect’s buying team through top-of-funnel promotions reaching company contacts that are not in your sales pipelines.

Top-of-funnel does mean scattershot.  Brand messaging still benefits from targeting the right prospective customer base – just as broadly as possible.  Top-of-funnel tactics include web advertising on content sites relevant to your prospect pool.

Audience extension can be used to replay advertising promotions to targeted segments across various news and interest sites across the web. And as any freshman marketing major can tell you – repetition is key!

Account-based marketing (ABM) tactics can be employed to speak to that broader buying team from companies already in your sales pipeline.  When one or two key contacts are being nurtured down the sales and marketing funnel, targeted ABM top-of-funnel marketing bolsters brand identity and reputation to that broader, influencer group within your target company.

Keep in mind that the persons within an organization making the brand or top-of-funnel promotional plan may not be the same persons driving leads into the sales CRM.  You need to determine this and coordinate your sales messaging and comms accordingly.

Tech marketers support their lead gen and lead nurture campaigns through a strong foundation of brand and product awareness among prospective contacts.  Top-of-funnel promotions drive that awareness. They can also deliver access to kay contacts across a prospect company while nurturing efforts driving few key prospects toward a sale.