I had the pleasure to attend a really insightful digital workshop, hosted by Prolific North and led by Simon Bollon, Founder and Director of Boutique Agency in Leeds, focussing on the ‘Marketing Funnel’ – a tool used by marketeers for decades. Based on the AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action), it suggests that consumers move through those stages when making a purchase decision, and that the number of customers reduces at each stage. For example, lots of people may see an advert for a new car, but not everyone will be interested in buying it, even fewer will desire that exact model, and only a small number will actually make the purchase. Throughout my time at University studying marketing, we referred to this model frequently, using it to understand consumer behaviour and marketing strategy. However, Simon argues that the model needs some vital updates in order for it to remain relevant in today’s landscape.


Time for a Change

Now we come to the updated model:



Customers assimilate all brand activity when it comes to their awareness of a product or brand. This is the stage where brand awareness, associations, and perceptions are important. Simon explained how customers often interpret that a brand that is widely available is more popular, showing the importance of investing in channels such as TV and digital.


Most of the time, our purchase decisions are driven by needs or influence. Advertising efforts can either trigger needs (e.g a McDonalds advert making your hungry) or build assimilations (e.g. a McDonalds ad making you think of the brand as family friendly). It is important from brands to choose the right time and place for their advertising to optimise these triggers, which can be done through data insights and research.


This is when emotion comes into play. When customers are exploring the marketplace and encounter a brand, they are also exposed to its affiliations and associations. Tools such as PR and Social Media are key at this stage, as they can help shape these perceptions. Earned media such as reviews are also relevant here, showing the importance of considering the funnel as a reflexive and cyclical model when action (advocacy) influences exploration.


Evaluation is the more rational side to the purchase – when customers consider the price, features etc., and compare to other brands. This is when owned media such as websites and advertising can help influence consumers decisions. Price point, reviews, and market positioning are all key factors at this stage.

Purchase (Experience)

Finally, the customer is ready to purchase the brand’s offering. Keeping the reflexive nature of the model in mind, it is important for brands to re-engage with customers here, whether that’s through CRO, CRM, SEO, or any initiatives to encourage loyalty, advocacy, or referrals.


By considering this updated marketing funnel model when envisioning customer journey, it may help marketeers create a more relevant and effective marketing strategy for their brand. Thank you Simon and Boutique Agency, as well as Prolific North and David Prior for hosting this great event.

Written by Natalie Metcalf


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