Joseph Jaffe's "Flip the Funnel" and Seth Godin's "Flipping the Funnel" both make sound arguments for working from the customer outwards - reversing the traditional sales funnel by focusing on customers as fans first. No argument there.
But I for one have never thought about being in a funnel or at some stage of the buying process. I am just where I am, doing what I'm doing without concern for gates or acronyms; I don't think in terms of....
- AIDA (awareness, interest, decision and action)
- BANT (budget, authority, need and timing).
- Get in the Consideration Set - this is the ultimate gating factor. If a product isn't in this select group, then there will be no decision or sale.
- Engagement - this is where the rubber hits the road. If a brand, company, or product doesn't get to an emotional connection there will also be no decision or sale.
In short, I'm beginning to believe that the proverbial funnel exists solely in the minds of sale and marketing as a means of measuring progress against their objectives not mine.