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Customer Journey: What Do TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU Mean?

Resources / July 7, 2021
Customer Journey

We know what you’re thinking. These words sound like some cheeky acronyms, don’t they? Well, at first glance, they do! But what do they really mean?  We explore the customer journey.

Every buyer/consumer (which means everybody) has gone through these concepts knowingly or unknowingly. TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU are simply phases or stages in the customer journey of every buyer.

TOFU denotes Top of the funnel, MOFU denotes the Middle of the funnel, and BOFU denotes the Bottom of the funnel. Basically, these concepts describe everything that happens from being aware of a brand and what they offer to make a purchase decision in favor of that brand.

TOFU is all about brand awareness. In this phase, the prospective consumer begins to identify the brands they need to consider. MOFU is all about the consideration of what you want to purchase. This is where the prospective buyer selects certain brands’ products or services most suitable to his taste and even budget. BOFU is all about the final purchase decision (to buy or not to buy).

For transactions between business and consumers and also between businesses, these concepts play a critical role. A great company also needs to keep learning to grow as an organization. It’s most essential for firms that depend on capturing and developing leads. This encompasses B2B and B2C marketing that involves lengthy sales cycles. These three stages of the sales conversion funnel have everything to do with search engine optimization and the customer journey.

TOFU (The brand awareness phase)

You ought to know how John, a prospective buyer arrived at the start of the funnel.

John goes online. He may or may not be aware of certain brands selling what he wants to purchase. Heck! John may not even be aware of what he wants to purchase yet. It’s a stage that welcomes indecision, and this is where he begins to navigate his way.

He delves into some research on what he wants. What’s the best brand for what he wants? Which of these brands can solve his problem? At this point, John is on the hunt for information and answers.

There is a myriad of reasons for researching online. That’s always the starting point of the sales funnel. Just as different people have different search intent, so does John. Is he researching a particular idea, product, or service?

John is likely to select the brands that give him the content he’s seeking for. This is where he gets propositioned by what they offer and how they can solve his problem, satisfy or retain his interest, and hopefully, patronage.

TOFU has the widest range of visitors and also records the lowest conversion rate among the three stages. This is because most visitors, such as John, are not yet interested in the product or service marketed. They are browsing through for the moment!

Brands should get acquainted with the most searched keywords through answer the public and tailor the results to their product or service searches to rank favorably on search engine results pages.

MOFU (Demand Consideration phase)

So what’s next for John?

At this point, John has reached a moderate level of decisiveness. His research has yielded fruits, and his demand is clear. John has also managed to select certain brands whose product or service information interests him more than others.

This is where he considers all the selected brands and tries to compare and contrast their offers. The MOFU stage is the consideration stage, which can also be called the analysis stage. Here, John tries to narrow his choices to the best one.

At this stage, the broad audience that made it to the TOFU has thinned to a more concentrated audience. This audience is more familiar with the proffered solutions to their demands, and they have shown interest in learning more. They seek to know the benefits and drawbacks of the products or services that have arrested and sustained their intention.

They also get to consider other brands and alternatives they haven’t considered compared to their current choices. The qualities of the brands selected are also put under the spotlight of the audience’s consideration and analysis.

This is where John becomes more specific with his search engine queries by utilizing long-tail keywords.

He will require sufficient information on the brands he has selected to arrive at a purchase decision at this stage. This is where the brands strive to secure the confidence of a potential customer and stand out from the competition.

BOFU (Purchase decision phase)

You’re here! That means John’s mind is made up. What’s left to happen?

The BOFU stage is the decision stage, but we’ll also like to call it the commitment stage. It contains the thinnest and the most qualified circle of prospects.

So John has arrived at the BOFU stage, but still, a little push, call-to-action, and an attractive incentive wouldn’t hurt. They’ll help you clinch the deal with that prospective customer/buyer.

John is no longer doing heavy research and mentally weighing up the comparisons among the various brands. John is more concerned with the reviews, ratings, or recommendations/testimonials of a particular brand’s product or service. John got drawn to this specific brand at the MOFU stage, and now at this present stage, he’ll decide if this is the real deal or a fluke.

The big, inevitable question on John’s mind is, “will they deliver?”

At this stage, the brand should utilize a powerful and reassuring marketing technique to convert John from a prospective buyer to an actual buyer. They shouldn’t be trying to persuade John again but assume he’s buying already. Therefore, the brand should focus on outlining the purchase process and reminding him what he stands to gain from patronizing them.


Acquiring knowledge of these three phases can be vital to improving the conversion rate for B2B and B2C firms.


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