Business Resource Center

A Wealth of Knowledge at Your Fingertips

Home > Weekly Columns > Sales and Marketing

Font Adjust: A | A | A

Your Small Business Needs A Marketing Hourglass, Not A Sales Funnel

Jen Jordan brings a wealth of life and leadership experiences to her writing. After 10 years creating a variety of content for a nonprofit, Jen decided to establish her own writing business. She specializes in creating high quality blog and website content for small businesses. When she's not writing, Jen is a competitive triathlete with a goal of completing a triathlon in all 50 states.
Do you know the difference between a Marketing Hourglass and a Sales Funnel? Learn what a Marketing Hourglass is and how it can drive customers to purchase your services. Your Small Business Needs A Marketing Hourglass, Not A Sales Funnel

Most businesses have heard of (and probably use) some version of a sales funnel. It’s a marketing strategy that starts with a lot of potential customers at the top of the "funnel." Somehow, through various advertising and marketing efforts, a few people squeeze through the small end of the funnel to become customers.

The internet changed how people shop, interact with businesses, and make purchases. Today, much of the buyer’s journey toward becoming your customer happens long before they’re even on your radar! They can browse your website, stalk you on social media platforms, and get all the juicy details from online reviews and feedback.

A marketing hourglass uses all that pre-purchasing activity to your advantage! It also grows revenue and increases the lifetime value of a customer.

The Stages of a Marketing Hourglass

Just like with a sales funnel, a marketing hourglass has a large top to attract many potential clients. But, instead of making sales pitches, businesses with a marketing hourglass focus on learning as much as they can about these prospective customers—their likes, dislikes, challenges, and pain points.

Businesses with excellent marketing hourglasses listen more than they talk to the people at the top of their hourglasses. Their goal is to learn how to help customers address specific needs and solve their "pain points" or problems.

In the next "stage" of the marketing hourglass, businesses engage directly with potential customers. It’s essential to ensure a product or service will solve the potential customers’ specific problem, meet their needs, and fit into their budget and timeline. Instead of trying to close every sale, these businesses focus on finding the right customers.

At this point, the customer will either make a purchase and continue through the hourglass or determine that your business is not the right fit for them and move on. Either way, the experience was probably informative, helpful, and positive. Although they didn’t become your customer, they will likely speak highly of your business (which helps keep the top of your marketing hourglass full). Everyone still wins!

Once the customer decides to purchase your product or service, they move to the bottom of the marketing hourglass. It’s time to add value to the sale. Businesses with great marketing hourglasses focus on ensuring customer success and satisfaction. There are opportunities to learn more about the customer and potentially address other needs and wants, thus increasing the lifetime value of each customer!

By taking the time to listen and learn, businesses build trust and deliver customer-centered service from the moment a customer enters their marketing hourglass.

A sales funnel typically focuses on raising awareness of the product and moving people toward making a purchase. A marketing hourglass focuses on helping people know, like, and trust your business so that they will make a purchase, then become a repeat customer.

Sales funnels are easy to build but don’t often deliver the results businesses are looking for—especially small businesses with tighter marketing budgets. Companies that invest valuable time, energy, and resources into developing a full marketing hourglass are sure to see their businesses grow. It won’t produce results overnight, but it will help you attract and identify ideal clients, increase the lifetime value of a customer, and strengthen your relationship with each customer. In turn, each customer has an excellent experience, trusts your product or service, and broadcasts their great experience to the world.


This website and the articles contained within are provided as a free service to you and for general informational purposes only. Information on this website is not intended to provide legal, accounting, tax or other advice. Please consult your attorney, accountant, or financial or other advisor with regard to your individual situation. We also make no warranty or representation regarding, and do not endorse, any linked websites or the information appearing there.
© 2020 Small Business Resources.