Tracking B2B Marketing Goals Across the Funnel: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU

Tips and tricks for monitoring your progress.

Ideas Collide
By Ideas Collide
Text bubbles, targets, and planning for B2B marketing goals.

B2B marketing goals define the outcomes you wish to achieve from marketing efforts. Content marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, and all other forms of marketing should each have metrics, objectives, and goals that all ultimately tie back to the primary purpose of marketing: driving business growth.

Defining clear goals, objectives, milestones, and metrics is essential to decreasing costs, minimizing inefficiencies, and maximizing ROI.

The Importance of B2B Content Marketing

The term “content marketing” is relatively new.

It arose thanks to the internet, which drove an explosion of new marketing channels such as the web, email, and social media. Mobile technology added fuel to that fire through smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other devices that enable anyone to communicate and work anytime, from anywhere.

These shifts have not changed the fundamental principles of marketing, but they have altered the way we communicate and “consume” content.

Today, most people, including B2B buyers, research products and services online. Much, if not all, of the pathway to purchase takes place before customers ever connect with a human.

Throughout this journey, content marketing offers an opportunity for brands to achieve marketing goals that include:

  • Building awareness, interest, and desire
  • Boosting engagement, sales, and loyalty
  • Creating trust
  • Demonstrating expertise
  • Building authority and mindshare
  • Increasing revenue

Incidentally, the terms “marketing funnel,” “pathway to purchase,” and “buyer journey” all have different nuances, but they all cover the same leg of the customer’s journey: the initial stage where brands build awareness, trust, authority, and lay the foundation for a successful relationship with the customer.

Timeline of the buyer's journey.

In this article, we will be using these terms interchangeably in order to highlight the similarity between these different models.

Regardless of which term or model you use, setting the right goals and metrics is vital to ensuring that your marketing efforts make tangible progress.

The Most Important Content Marketing Goals for B2B

One simple model to use when setting goals is the widely popular Content Marketing Funnel developed at

Customer journey maps based on this model can be used to plot out the pathway to purchase. Each stage will have its own content types, goals, objectives, and metrics, all of which can be combined into a single, referenceable plan of action.

Having a central model such as this will help ensure that you can track the milestones that lead you towards desired business outcomes (e.g., sales quotas, top/bottom-line growth, capturing a certain market segment in a specific location, etc.).

Now, let’s dive into the goals, content types, and tactics you can use for each stage:

TOFU Goals and Metrics

During the first stage of the marketing funnel, customers are in the exploration stage of the buyer journey.

It is best to think of them as “unaware” of their problem, its causes, what solutions are available, what types of solutions are available, or even if there is a solution at all.

At this early stage of the buyer journey, they will begin researching these types of issues, which presents an opportunity to expand your potential audience and begin building brand awareness, authority, and trust.

Typical TOFU content types include:

Top-of-the-funnel content types for B2B marketing goals.
Top-of-the-funnel content types for B2B marketing goals.

Goals and metrics for the TOFU stage should revolve around areas such as:

  • Reaching more potential customers. How many customers are you reaching with your content? Example metrics include ad impressions, social media impressions, website visits, and email list size.
  • Improving engagement with content. How are people engaging with your content? Example metrics include click-throughs, web page views, email open rates, and video views.
  • Improving content consumption and retention. How much of your content is consumed and how long do they engage with your content? Example metrics include website dwell time and video view time.

Educating customers about their problem will position you and your brand as an authority and, ideally, as a potential advisor.

Customer searches the web multiple times, sees same brand multiple times, sees informative and useful content.

MOFU Goals and Metrics

During the next stage of the pathway to purchase, customers will have a much better grasp of their problem and they will shift their focus to the solution: exploring the general types of solutions, the benefits and drawbacks of those solutions, which solutions would or could work, and which solutions are available in the marketplace.

The goal here is to generate interest in and a desire for a specific type of solution – that is, your brand’s product or service. Content should inform, educate, influence, and engage. It is at this stage that you can begin differentiating your brand from the competition.

Content types for this stage include:

  • Educational resources, such as downloadable PDFs, video content, and webinars
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Events
  • Email
  • Retargeting ads

Goals and metrics to consider:

  • Improving engagement. How many visitors engage with your MOFU content? Example metrics include returning website visitors, social media engagement metrics, and referral traffic.
  • Improving consumption. Where do visitors drop off and where do they stay? Example metrics include website bounce rate, click-through rates on CTAs, and video retention rates.
  • Generating and nurturing more leads. How many of these potential buyers are converted into leads? Example metrics include email sign-ups, website form fills, PDF downloads, and webinar registrations.

Throughout the marketing funnel, education is one of the primary ways to build trust, establish authority, and foster a productive, profitable relationship. At this point, however, it is time to shift the focus towards conversion – i.e., turning potential buyers into paying customers.

BOFU Goals and Metrics

By the time potential customers reach the bottom of the funnel, they have completed the evaluation stage, are solution and product aware, and have narrowed their choices down to a shortlist of solutions. If your marketing has done its job, you will have positioned your brand as a leading contender or, ideally, as a “no-brainer.”

The primary goals for this stage revolve around conversion, sales, and loyalty:

  • Generating more leads. How many leads are you generating? Example metrics include those used in the MOFU stage, such as lead generation forms, PDF downloads, demo requests, and webinar registrations.
  • Improving lead quality. How many of your leads are a good match for your business? Example metrics include lead score metrics, such as lead response time rate, lead conversion rate, and lead retention rate.
  • Increasing sales. How many leads become customers? Example metrics include total number of sales, transactions, and transaction value.

Content types include:

  • Product demos
  • Case studies
  • Datasheets
  • Webinars
  • Events

Sales is the ultimate goal of marketing, so the bottom-line goal for all marketing efforts should focus on increasing sales, customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction, and other metrics.

While ongoing customer engagement is often considered beyond the scope of marketing, it is important to understand that, from the customer’s perspective, their journey is all part of the same brand experience.

Marketers should therefore ensure their experience remains consistent with the subsequent stages of that journey: sales, onboarding, adoption and engagement, and even departure.

A 3-Step Process for Setting and Tracking B2B Marketing Goals

Using the framework above, setting and tracking B2B marketing goals should be fairly straightforward. Here is a simple process for doing just that:

1. Develop a strategy and a plan of action

A strategy defines an overall approach to solving a specific problem or achieving a certain goal. A plan defines the specific actions or tactics that will be used to achieve the overarching goal(s) laid out in that strategy, as well as the SMART goals your marketing plan is designed to achieve.

Since marketing is an investment, it is important to stay within budget, allocate funds appropriately, and create a marketing plan that will help maximize ROI.

For more information on these topics, see our articles on marketing strategies and marketing budgets.

2. Define SMART goals that are tied to business objectives

SMART goals are:

  • Specific. “Get more leads is not specific. “Increase net new leads by 15% this quarter with our new B2B video marketing campaign” is specific.
  • Measurable. In the same vein, “increase sales” is not measurable, whereas “increase sales $50,000 next month” is measurable.
  • Achievable.There is nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals, but they need to be within the realm of possibility. If goals are too ambitious or unrealistic, they should be dialed down.
  • Relevant. As mentioned, marketing goals should be tied to sales and desired business outcomes. If a goal is not relevant to these aims, it should be cut.
  • Time-bound. Providing time frames helps keep everyone on the same page and ensures that marketing programs stays in sync with the business objectives it is supporting.

Marketing and sales are aimed at driving business growth, which is why it is important to create marketing goals that support business objectives.

For instance, if a business intends to expand to a certain size within a certain market and time frame, business objectives may include hiring a certain number of employees and increasing revenue by a certain amount. In this scenario, marketing would need to set and meet certain goals to support that business agenda.

3. Execute, measure, optimize

Once the marketing strategy, goals, metrics, and plan have all been laid out, it is time to execute and measure.

As the metrics come in, you will receive valuable data that can be used to improve goal-setting, the performance of future campaigns, and marketing ROI.

However, as the saying goes, “no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy” – and marketing can be the same.

Occasionally, you will discover that certain goals are too easy, too difficult, or irrelevant.

Data gleaned from your efforts may also reveal better methods, more appropriate goals, or new insights that alter your perspective.

Regardless of what happens during the actual campaign, the best response is usually the same: pivot, update your plans, learn, and continue improving.

Final Thoughts on B2B Marketing Goals

Setting marketing goals is only one piece of the marketing puzzle, but it is a critical one.

It is through goals that you can make progress towards a specific end, develop better customer relationships, and help your business grow.

The better you can set and achieve your goals, the more value you can add to your company and your customers.

If you would like to learn more about our B2B marketing process – or if you would like help setting and meeting your own B2B marketing goals – please get in touch.

Ideas Collide has 17+ years of experience helping clients design, implement, and optimize marketing campaigns in a wide range of industries. We would be more than happy to help you create and implement a custom B2B marketing plan that meets your unique business needs. Schedule a free executive briefing today.


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