Bob Garfield

Why the purchase funnel no longer exists

It used to be fairly easy to follow a consumer down the path to purchase, but now it's getting more complicated. Here's what the new shape looks like.

The purchase pretzel: Following the consumer's bobbing and weaving among multiple screens and devices

The classic purchase funnel is looking less and less relevant today. Consumers just don't follow the same path they did 10 or 20 years ago. Until recently, the confident and proven marketing mindset is that if you can focus on awareness first, you can more or less easily guide a consumer through opinion, consideration, preference, and finally a purchase. This pathway made marketing strategies fairly straightforward and easily categorized. Your efforts used to fit in at least one of these five touchstones.

Smartphones, tablets, phablets, and the multitude of other devices that have exploded into the market have changed all this. The path to purchase is no longer straightforward. Consumers are all over the place, taking in marketing messages at different times and places, on different screens and devices. There's little cross-screen consistency taking place. First-time consumers are being served ads that are geared toward people in the purchase phase of the funnel, while purchasers are being bombarded with ads geared toward consideration mode. This makes no sense, and it's all thanks to our multi-device reality. This reality has made finding an accurately targeted cross-screen ad delivery strategy a priority for the industry.

Marco Muzzi, marketing director at AcuityAds, speaks with Jacqueline Hoyos, group media director at The Richards Group, about this changing landscape and other hot topics.

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Article written by Senior Media Producer David Zaleski.

Video edited by Associate Media Producer Brian Waters.

"pretzel isolated on white background. salt and soft" image via Shutterstock.