The primary problem with the funnel is that the buying process is no longer linear.
Prospects don’t just enter at the top of the funnel; instead, they come in at any stage. Furthermore, they often jump stages, stay in a stage indefinitely, or move back and forth between them.
For example, consider items that come recommended on an e-commerce site. With a click you can add them to your cart, moving straight from awareness through consideration to purchase in only a few seconds.
- The same holds true on items discovered in a Tweet, Facebook post or Pinterest board.
- Businesses and customers are doing their own research both online and with their colleagues and friends.
- Prospects are walking themselves through the funnel, then walking in the door ready to buy.
One popular alternative to the funnel is the Customer Decision Journey. A key advantage of this model is that it’s circular, rather than linear.
Prospects don’t come in the top and out the bottom, but move through an ongoing set of touchpoints before, during, and after a purchase.
- The Customer Decision Journey is an improvement over the traditional funnel, but some marketers see it as incomplete.
- The problem is in the name itself.
- Brands may put the decision at the center of the journey, but customers don’t.
The Customer Decision Journey might be circular, but if the focus is still on the transaction, it is just a funnel eating its own tail.