Reveal Your "Dark" Marketing Funnel With the Power of a CDP

Effective marketing is an intricate blend of creativity, strategic planning, and the allocation of resources. However, without vital measurement in place, all these efforts could be in vain, resulting in a waste of valuable resources. This is something nearly every modern brand is actively trying to monitor and optimize in order to ensure they’re driving the highest impact for their business. However, the traditional way of measuring marketing effectiveness comes up short when trying to understand how your campaigns are influencing a buyer’s decision-making process from the instant they first come in contact with your brand to the moments they turn into loyal customers. 

The Funnel Approach

Traditionally, marketers have looked to map their campaign measurement and key performance indicators (KPIs) against the different stages of the sales funnel. In a broad sense, that may look something like this: 

Top of the Funnel: Awareness & Research

  • Website traffic (visits): Monitor the number of visitors to your website over a specific period. Analyze average page views per visitor and time spent on the site to understand how well you’re attracting and converting potential customers.
  • Bounce rate: This metric reveals the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing just one page.
  • Unique visitors: Keep track of visitors to your website to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing activities in attracting new audiences.
  • Marketing Reach: This metric aims to illuminate how effective your ads, content, emails, and more are in engaging your target consumer base. 

Middle of the Funnel: Consideration & Vender Discussions

  • Marketing-qualified leads generated: Capture higher-intent prospects by offering valuable resources such as whitepapers, webinars, or email sign-ups.
  • Email open rate: Analyze how many of your audience members are opening your emails to optimize engagement.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): When running campaigns, CTR indicates how engaging your outreach is in driving consumers to take a desired action. 
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): How much you’re spending to acquire new customers at this stage. 
  • Conversion Rate: Monitoring which clicks lead to conversions to assess your campaign’s performance and identify any potential issues.

Bottom of the Funnel: Decision, Purchase, & Up-Sell Opportunities

  • Sales revenue growth: The number of sales directly reflects the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Evaluating the revenue generated by a customer over their entire duration of doing business with you. 
  • Average Revenue Per Customer: Focusing on the value of existing customers & monitoring the how this changes over time to help understand how to better retain and grow their value.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Assess your business’s performance by calculating ROI using the formula: (Sales Growth – Marketing Investment) / Marketing Investment. This helps you plan your budget effectively.

While these metrics may be a great start for marketing campaigns, they lack a significant amount of granularity and measurement orchestration that is necessary to effectively understanding true marketing effectiveness. These metrics do provide a good baseline, but focusing too heavily on them will create what is know as “the dark funnel.”

What is The Dark Funnel?

Just like the traditional marketing funnel laid out above, the dark funnel also describes the actions, research, and engagement that prospects and customers take during their purchasing journey. However, the actions within the dark funnel aren’t illuminated to marketers. Meaning, they can’t attribute these actions to any specific campaign, ad, email, or other marketing outreach, which doesn’t allow them to effectively understand where their budget is best utilized or how to optimize campaigns to create better customer engagement and drive more sales. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. For many marketers, this simply boils down to the inability to access the intelligence necessary to give them the insights they need to bring the dark funnel into the light. Luckily, there’s a solution. 

Driving Better Identity, Insights, & Measurement

Marketers need to step away from the bespoke measurement that looks at each marketing channel as a walled garden with their own unique, separated systems of measurement.  This only serves to bog teams down with mountains of data that don’t speak to each other or add up to a unified whole. Gone are the days of having different measurement platforms for different channels. Instead, modern marketers need to focus on implementing a powerful, intelligent Customer Data Platform (CDP) that can unite the disparate data from each marketing channel under one roof and provide a more holistic view of how customers interact with every marketing touchpoint. 

However, not all CDPs are created equal. And not all will provide brands with the insights they need to reduce or eliminate the dark funnel from their marketing measurement. When approaching a vendor about their CDP capabilities, make sure they can: 

  • Identify past purchasing behaviors of all consumers that have visited your site, or all prospects who would likely be interested in your brand
  • Understand the channel preference of every consumer so you can better serve them marketing messages on the platforms they prefer to use the most
  • The real-time interests of your consumer base–especially as emergent social platforms like TikTok continuously speed up the time it takes for new trends to emerge and take hold
  • Easily identify demographic and geographic data to help you further home in on who your target consumer base actually is 

This is just a small sampling of what a CDP can help marketers do in terms of perfecting their campaign measurement. But this isn’t where the CDP story should end. With the added benefit of this improved measurement, your customer engagement will also reach new heights of personalization and relevance. Whether it’s through targeted ads, personalized emails, or tailored content, an intelligent and powerful CDP will ensure your messages hit home with precision. 

If you’re looking to embrace the future of customer engagement, take a look at Zeta’s data management capabilities and industry leading CDP. Or, speak to an expert who can dive into specific ways the Zeta CDP can provide unparalleled insights and intelligence for your business today.


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