The funnel does not shrink as you traverse it as future advocates (formerly called prospects) and advocates can enter the funnel at any of the four stages. The different stages of the thought leadership funnel are:
1. Awareness: a one-to-many relationship; you reach your audience through social and traditional media.
2. Engagement: a one-to-many relationship in which you engage with your audience. At this stage, people attend physical and virtual events (e.g. webinars), read your physical and online content, etc. Good compelling, “engaging” content is more important than name recognition.
3. Future Advocate: a one-to-one relationship where you interact directly with individuals (in person, by phone, by e-mail, with direct messages on twitter, etc.) for them to learn how your solutions address their problems.
4. Advocate: a many-to-many relationship. You’ve executed so well with your products and services or in your interaction in the future advocate stage, that you have advocates. Please note that advocates are not necessarily customers and that every employee needs to be an advocate! Advocates look at your brand/organization positively, give you good reviews/endorsements and provide referrals to others.