Posted by Marc Williams

REQUIEM FOR A FUNNEL

Consumer behavior, no matter what we wish, is seldom tidy, logical, or linear and the considered purchase cycle, now more than ever, has no clear beginning nor even a clear end.
Consumer behavior, no matter what we wish, is seldom tidy, logical, or linear and the considered purchase cycle, now more than ever, has no clear beginning nor even a clear end.

For years, marketers have used the funnel model to explain considered purchase behavior and the flow of product information. This model worked fairly well during the days of mass advertising and media-centric agencies. It has its strong points as an explanation: it’s tidy, logical, and linear. The cycle it describes has a clear, defined beginning and a clear, defined end. It also has its weak points as an explanation: it’s tidy, logical, and linear. The cycle it describes has a clear, defined beginning and a clear, defined end. Consumer behavior, no matter what we wish, is seldom tidy, logical, or linear and the considered purchase cycle, now more than ever, has no clear beginning nor even a clear end.

The funnel also requires mass advertising to top-load a huge number of leads, most of which go nowhere. It assumes mass media in a multi-media world.

Here at Williams Helde Marketing Communications , we loved the funnel. We used the funnel. The funnel, like eight-track tapes, rotary dial land line telephones, and those old cameras that required flash powder and a photographer hunched under a black wool blanket, was great in its day. It was state-of-the-art. We have fond memories of it. So it pains us to say it, but its time has passed.

The funnel is dead. Long live the Mobius Cycle

Marc Williams
About the Author

Marc Williams

Amongst many other things in life Marc is an avid skier and sailor. As a former ski racer he likes to go fast and make big turns on hard snow. He is also the captain of Greystar, and one of the authors of his family's Northwest cruising adventures at sailingthepacificnw.com. When not on the water or in the mountains Marc owns and operates Hayter Communications and Williams Helde Marketing Communications. As a second generation owner, Marc has maintained the focus of the firm on Active, Healthy Lifestyles. Marc graduated from Western Washington University with degrees in Design and Illustration. He lives in Seattle, with two well above average kids, an amazing wife and two brother Whippets.