The Most Important Ingredient in Marketing Automation? Killer TOFU

The Most Important Ingredient in Marketing Automation? Killer TOFU

By Dan StasiewskiAug 6 /2012

killer tofuEnterprise marketing departments spend a large amount of time and money developing  bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) brochures, product demos and consultation offers. If there’s time left, chances are it’s being used to create middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) case studies and articles that explain how a product or service helped someone who bought it. These product-oriented pieces may have worked on their own a decade ago, but not anymore. Most of that time should instead be spent creating top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) offers—content that powers online marketing automation.

What does a TOFU offer look like?

A top-of-the-funnel offer isn’t a brochure. It isn’t a case study. It’s not about you. It’s a problem-solving download or video that appeals to as many people within your targeted buyer persona as possible.

Individuals who go to a search engine care about solutions to a problem they are having. But nobody goes to Google hoping to find your product brochure. All you have to do is think about how you use a search engine, and you will know it’s true. To take advantage of this, simply create content that solves a problem for your targeted buyer persona.

For example, if you’re selling cyber security software to CTOs, then you should create content explaining how to solve a common cyber security issue they face—without mentioning your brand.

Do this correctly the people who find your content online, and find it valuable, will share it. The convergence of search and social makes that just as important as creating content just for search.

Why TOFU? Why Now?

So you invest in marketing automation for lead nurturing. You get the software set up. You create events that track behavior patterns. You write the emails and set up campaigns. You’re all set... except no one is entering your sales funnel.

You can’t nurture leads that don’t exist, even with the most advanced marketing automation software. By creating top-of-the-funnel offers, you will increase the number of website visitors who become leads. That means:

  1. More people have the chance to be nurtured down to the brochures and demos
  2. More people become familiar with your brand, even if they stay at the top-of-the-funnel
  3. More people who you never thought would become customers now have the chance to do so

When it comes to web leads, more is better and top-of-the-funnel offers are the only way to capture those leads. 

Make Your Marketing Automation Work

A marketing department that isn’t generating leads isn’t doing its job. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that old brochure style website that you think people are using to research your product isn’t worth its hosting fee if it isn’t generating leads.

The obvious solution for many enterprises is to simply invest in a marketing automation software. It’s a start, but if a web visitor doesn’t convert, then you won’t be able to use the software.

The only surefire way to ensure that web visitors convert is to create valuable, shareable TOFU content. That conversion is key to really taking advantage of your marketing automation software. Once those conversions happen, you can nurture leads, segment them, qualify them and hopefully deliver sales-ready prospects to your sales team.


Image source: ShirtSays

Spending Too Much Per Lead?

The Author

Dan Stasiewski

When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song.