The Death of the Sales Funnel

sales funnel

Do you remember the days of the old pre-internet sales funnel? If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably recall something like this:

sales funnel
graphic courtesy of

It was a simpler time, with strategies like getting your business in the yellow pages or placing a newspaper ad to reach as many people as possible. But fast forward to today, where everyone has the internet in their pocket and we’re constantly connected through things like social media.

Consumers have more tools than ever to make their purchasing decisions, so it makes sense that our process for doing so has evolved. The new customer journey looks a little something like this:

customer sales journey
graphic courtesy of

The New Customer Journey: An Example

Let’s use an example to illustrate how the customer journey has changed.

Meet Joe Schmo, who’s struggling to cool his house despite setting his AC to a chilly 72 degrees. Joe finds himself in the AWARENESS phase of the purchase journey. He turns to Google for help, searching “HVAC not cooling house,” entering the CONSIDERATION phase.

Joe clicks on several top search results, including paid and organic links, diving into the RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY LOOP. Not stopping there, he seeks advice on Facebook, sparking more CONSIDERATION – even sparking AWARENESS for others following his online journey.

With friend recommendations in hand, Joe Googles each recommended HVAC company, visiting their websites for more RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY LOOP action. He meticulously reads online reviews, further solidifying his path in the loop.

As Joe surfs the web, he’s retargeted by one of the HVAC companies, rekindling AWARENESS/CONSIDERATION. When Joe finally contacts and schedules with a company, he enters the CONVERSION phase. The same-day service exceeds his expectations, leading him to write a glowing review, entering the LOYALTY LOOP.

Joe saves the company’s contact for future needs, continuing to circle the LOYALTY LOOP. He becomes an advocate, recommending the company on Facebook, influencing others in their CONSIDERATION phase.

Marketing to the Modern-Day Customer

This process is familiar to all of us as consumers, so why is all the talk in marketing still about funnels? The modern customer journey is more complex, which requires brands to have a different strategy than they did 20+ years ago.

The Foundation

To start, business have to have a solid organic foundation:

  • A great website
  • Robust Google Business listing(s)
  • Reviews
  • Regular social media updates
  • Customer engagement (e.g. newsletters, mailers)

Staying Top-of-Mind Through the Customer Journey

Sometimes that foundational online presence is enough for businesses to find success. But in many industries, competition is high and sometimes you need to pay to play. And remember, the length of the customer journey varies from industry to industry, so ads help make sure they don’t forget about you.

Here are three main ways we help brands stay top-of-mind throughout the customer journey via ads:

  • Google Search Ads: With 68% of online experiences starting with a search engine, owning this real estate is crucial. Google ads are valuable because they capture users at the start of their journey, driving quick ROI.
  • Facebook Ads: Facebook ads are great for building brand awareness and engagement. They’re a useful tool in the research and discovery loop, ensuring your brand stays top-of-mind as customers are making their decisions.
  • Targeted Digital Ads: These ads are highly targeted and passively delivered, appearing in sidebars, news articles, apps, and streamed videos. They’re an effective brand awareness tool at any stage of the customer journey.

Is Your Marketing Strategy Up to Today’s Standards?

The modern customer journey is far from linear, and brands must leverage a mix of organic and paid strategies to be competitive throughout the entire process.

If your marketing strategy needs an update, let’s talk!

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