Flipping the Funnel: The 95/5 Rule

The natural approach to marketing a product or service is to push the potential buyer through a funnel of decision-making: they have a problem and we arrive on scene with the right solution.

Sales Funnel Image

According to research by LinkedIn and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, this approach isn’t worth the time, money, and effort for the B2B and manufacturing sectors.

The 95-5 Rule states that 95% of your B2B audience is not in an active buying stage–they’re “out-market.” Only 5% of your potential buyers at any given time are “in-market,” readily searching for your products or services.

95-5 Rule in Out-Market Strategy Infographic

This rule suggests turning the traditional funnel on its side, recognizing the future potential of the “out-market.” 

Think about it: You offer a large purchase or niche service that most businesses are just not buying on a consistent basis. They are items that need replaced infrequently, or solutions to less common problems. 

With consideration of our discussion on the buyer’s journey, your online presence matters greatly to the majority group, the “out-market.”

The 95-5 Rule Informs Your Marketing Strategy

If most of your audience isn’t ready to purchase, making your brand known as a valuable option even before the buyer is in the market is crucial. Establishing your solution in their mind creates a steady, reliable brand image that is recalled when they are in need in the future. 

Familiarity is key to making purchases: “people largely use their memories when buying, rather than searching. And when they do search they strongly prefer brands they’re familiar with,” states John Dawes of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. 

In light of the 95-5 rule, your marketing strategy needs:  

  1. Consistent messaging and engagement: To build familiarity, your brand needs to be present in the market, engaging with potential buyers and other industry leaders. Demonstrate who you are and what you do, so you’re a key memory when they’re searching later on. 

  2. Valuable and useful content: Producing usable pieces such as informative documents, how-to blog posts, webinars, etc. shows that you understand what your audience needs, and positions yourself as a helpful source. 

  3. Targeted lead campaigns: Keep yourself at the top of the buyer’s mind by including both markets in your campaigns–promote sales, new offerings, and company news regularly.

It’s simply unrealistic for B2B companies to expect continuous growth once the ceiling of buyers has been reached. To stay steady and profitable, that 95% truly needs your focus. 

At 50 Marketing, we understand what it takes to create a lasting impression on the 95%, so when they’re ready to search, your company is an obvious solution. Digital presence transformation is what we’re passionate about–through website builds, video campaigns, social media engagement, and more. Learn more about us here and get in touch today.


95-5 rule | LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. (n.d.). 95-5 Rule | LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/b2b-institute/b2b-research/trends/95-5-rule

Dawes, J. (n.d.). Advertising effectiveness and the 95-5 rule: most B2B buyers are not in the market right now. LinkedIn. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/marketing-solutions/resources/pdfs/advertising-effectiveness-and-the-95-5-rule.pdf

Hurley, K. (2023, March 30). LinkedIn’s 95-5 rule and what it means for B2B marketing — open industry. Open Industry. https://openindustry.io/blog/linkedin-95-5-rule-b2b-marketing-gtm

Share with friends and colleagues:
50 Marketing Logo
Copyright © 2003-2024, All Rights Reserved