Why not everyone progresses down the marketing funnel

The crux of it is this: people only buy when they're ready to, i.e. when they have an established want or need they're seeking to fulfill.

However, you still need to make them aware of you with your top-of-funnel promotional marketing efforts in the meantime, because if you don't invest in this, they may never know about you when the time is ripe.

For a lot of people, this'll be as far as they get to begin with; they're just not motivated to learn more about you at this stage, and so they remain in the Awareness stage of the funnel.

Others will though, even if there's no immediate prospect of them coming to you for your products or services right now. These are people whose initial interest has been piqued enough that they'll want to do some initial background research in you because they have an established near-term want or need to satisfy, or it could simply be that because they're more aware of you, they pay more attention to you and engage with your mid-funnel content, gradually getting more and more drawn in.

💡On this point, here's an interesting experiment for you to try when you're next on a car journey: look out for yellow cars and count how many you see. Compared to all the black, silver, grey, white, blue and red cars (the most common colours) it won't be many, but it will likely be more than you expect. Once you've spotted one, your brain will start to look for more of them and so you'll see more because you're now paying active attention to them. The same happens with brand ads, once we've noticed them, they begin to stand-out to us more and more.

Some people will exit the 'Consideration' stage of the funnel having decided you're not for them. Others will remain stuck in it for quite a while - whether because it's high value purchase they're considering of, or they have a complex decision-making and procurement process, or just because the want or need isn't a short-term demand. And a few will progress down to the final 'Conversion' stage of the funnel.

As you can see, there's an attrition rate between each stage. For every 1,000 people that enter the Awareness stage of your marketing funnel, only around 2% might progress down to the Consideration stage, and maybe only 1% of these people might progress down to the Conversion stage at the bottom.

These low percentages are why it's so vital to keep getting in front of as many people as possible with your brand awareness efforts especially considering that at any given time, only 5% of people are ever 'in market' meaning 95% are 'out of market' (i.e. not specifically looking for the products you sell or services you supply) according to research by Peter Weinberg and Jon Lombardo from the B2B Institute who argue that "the biggest growth opportunity in B2B (but also B2C) is to influence the 95% of ‘out-of-market’ buyers who are not even in the funnel yet".

It's also why components of lead generation like SEO and content marketing, a consistent social media presence, and brand ads are so essential, alongside website remarketing and email nurturing.