Are Marketing Funnels Dead?

Are Marketing Funnels Dead?

I’ve been thinking a lot of funnels lately. Are they dead? Are they not dead?

In this post, I do a deep dive on the different marketing funnels and what brands need to do to adapt to the evolving customer journey.

While the traditional marketing funnel may not be completely dead, it’s clear that it’s no longer sufficient on its own. Brands need to embrace a more holistic approach to customer journey mapping, one that takes into account the complexity and non-linearity of today’s consumer behaviour. 

The Traditional Marketing Funnel

The traditional marketing funnel is often depicted as a linear progression, with customers moving seamlessly from one stage to the next. The stages typically include:

  1. Awareness: The customer becomes aware of a product or service.
  2. Interest: The customer expresses interest in the product or service.
  3. Desire: The customer develops a desire or need for the product or service.
  4. Action: The customer takes action and makes a purchase.
  5. Retention: The customer becomes a repeat customer and advocates for the brand.

Criticisms of the Marketing Funnel

While the marketing funnel has been a valuable tool for marketers for many years, it has its limitations. One of the main criticisms is that it oversimplifies the customer journey. In reality, the customer journey is often non-linear, with customers jumping between stages and engaging with multiple touchpoints along the way.

The Evolution of Customer Journey Mapping

In response to these criticisms, many marketers are shifting towards a more holistic approach to customer journey mapping. This approach takes into account the various touchpoints and interactions that customers have with a brand, both online and offline. It recognizes that customers may enter the journey at any stage and that their path to purchase may be influenced by a variety of factors.

The Importance of Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is a key component of this new approach to customer journey mapping. It involves creating a seamless experience for customers across all channels, including social media, email, websites, and physical stores. By providing a consistent and personalized experience, brands can better engage with customers and guide them through the journey.

A New Funnel: Embracing Omnichannel Marketing

James Watt came out with the Flywheel – attract, engage, delight. There’s also Pirate metrics, bowtie, hourglass, and some others.

But let’s look at the buyer journey for some luxury brands.

Porsche AG


Louis Vuitton


I like these brands, but don’t own any of them.

If I were to win the lottery, I would surely buy stuff from all of them. So what stage of the funnel am I in?

👉 I’m not in the awareness stage. I’ve known about these brands for decades.

👉I’m not in the consideration stage. This stage implies I have yet to make up my mind. I likely won’t be purchasing them anytime soon, but I would if I had the money.

👉I’m not in the conversion or retention stages.

So where am I? I seem to be floating somewhere else.

The traditional marketing funnel is intended to map out the different stages of a buyer’s journey.

But I’m not in a buyer’s journey.

Nevertheless, activities these companies have done have made a positive impact on me as a consumer.

The traditional funnel, therefore, seems to be missing the mark when talking about consumers who are loyal to a brand, a part of the community, even advocates, but not yet customers.

So perhaps we need to add a few more stages to the funnel.

👉 Inspiration / aspiration – I admire their legacy, craftsmanship, attention to detail…

👉 Exploration – I’m curious about learning as much as I can. I watch videos, read blogs, listen to podcasts…

👉 Community – I become a fan and consider myself a part of these communities. I am loyal brand advocate without actually being a customer.

I don’t think this just applies to luxury brands where price is a barrier to entry. I may want to buy some B2B software the second I have a need for it. This, of course, a result of their exceptional presence, trust, and quality.

Again, they’ve convinced me to buy when the need arises, but I don’t seem to fit neatly into any of the stages.

Source: Business 2 Community


By focusing on omnichannel marketing and providing a seamless experience across all touchpoints, brands can better engage with their audience and drive meaningful interactions that lead to long-term relationships. So, are marketing funnels dead? Perhaps not entirely, but it’s clear that they’re undergoing a transformation, and brands that fail to adapt risk being left behind.

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