The B2B marketing community was rocked by yet another MOFU scandal today as 246 unwitting enterprise software prospects were left stranded in the middle of a lead nurturing funnel.
The funnel, operated by CloudWareCloud, a leading provider of cloud-based cloud solutions in the cloud, was meant to nurture prospects throughout the entire purchase journey. A series of editorial calendar malfunctions and broken links, however, left the prospects unable to progress from the mid-funnel (MOFU) stage to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) where CloudWareCloud salespeople could pester them into conversion and, ultimately, freedom.
The prospects were attracted into the CloudWareCloud funnel through a range of attractive, entertaining and, above all, useful content about issues such as ’10 Cloud Recipes for Time-Poor Personas’ and ‘What the Heck is a Cloud and Why Personas Should Give 2 Hoots’.
The hapless prospects then stumbled into their MOFU prison through cross-promoted links to more specific ‘how-to’ content including ‘Cloud Stories’, the 3-part PBS native advertising mini-series presented by Ben Affleck and Danny DeVito.
“I was tricked,” said a survivor who managed to leak out of the malfunctioning funnel through a nurturing glitch, “One minute, I’m learning about the cloud-based cloud, the next I’m watching this PBS thing that I thought was a real documentary. Then everything starts shaking and — boom — I’m in the bathroom of a Starbucks at the Vince Lombardi Service Area off the New Jersey Turnpike, clutching a Frappuccino. Now I know I was one of the lucky ones.”
Families of the stranded prospects have been gathered at the CloudWareCloud campus in one of those leafy, Tesla-choked suburbs of San Francisco where they are receiving backrubs, free juice and unlimited foosball.
“It’s very nice here,” said the son of one victim, “My company doesn’t even give you water unless you ask.”
Others were not so easily placated. “My mother is not even an enterprise software prospect,” said one, “She’s a retired piano teacher with a SllideShare habit. She’ll read anything with ‘cats’ or ‘cloud’ in the title. Except for the foosball, this stinks.”
Company executives have assembled a crisis team of four top executives and fourteen social media thought leaders to manage the rescue and brand defense initiative.
“Our thoughts are with the prospects and families at this time,” said CEO Ben Markioff, “And our marketing teams are, as we speak, creating new BOFU content to bring the personas out as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality.”
“Curated pieces such as, ‘CloudWareCloud In Action’ are being re-purposed from earlier webinars to form a bridge to our waiting sales teams where prospects will be converted through discounts and free Microsoft Zunes. For a chance to win similar prizes, members of the public can simply use the hashtag #CloudWareCloudCares on their chosen social media platform or send us a selfie on Snapchat.”
Calls for increased MOFU controls
Self-proclaimed marketing gurus and keynote speakers are speculating that regulators will be forced to act on this, the latest in a string of high-profile marketing automation incidents.
“No company – cloud-based or otherwise – should be allowed to initiate a nurture flow without having all steps in the purchase journey clearly mapped out and covered by compelling and, above all, useful content,” said pretty much all of them.
Others are calling for so-called Upworthy Tunnels to allow any prospect at any time to exit a funnel to read about An Amazing 9-Year Old Who Stunned The Haters in One Bold Action You Have To See To Believe.