The marketing funnel is a method used in marketing and sales to visualize the process of turning prospects into customers. The basic notion is that it’s too costly to cater to each lead individually. So there must be a copy and paste approach that maximizes the number of converted leads yet minimizes the time spent on each lead.

The idea of the marketing funnel originated from Elias St. Elmo Lewis on the late 1800’s with something called the AIDA model:

Attention – The prospect becomes aware of a category, product or brand (usually through advertising).

Interest – The prospect becomes interested by learning about brand benefits & how the brand fits with lifestyle.

Desire – The prospect develops a favorable disposition towards the brand.

Action – The prospect forms a purchase intention, shops around, engages in trial or makes a purchase therefore becomes a customer.

Since then the model evolved and is different depending on the industry. It’s important to note that there is not a single agreed upon version of the funnel. Some have many “stages” while others have few, with different names and actions taken by the business and consumer for each.



Awareness is the first stage of the marketing funnel. You can draw the leads into the funnel through marketing campaigns and sales outreach. You must establish two key things – trust and thought leadership. If the prospects don’t trust you or think of you as a thought leader you’ve already lost. You can establishes both with events, advertising, trade shows, content, webinars, direct mail, viral campaigns, social media, search, media mentions, etc. Leads are poured into the awareness stage and are typically managed with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System).

The best way to increase awareness is to get news coverage. The most effective way to get news coverage is to write a press release that targets newspaper editors and media people. A great press release can be the difference between getting published or not. Check out our guide on writing the perfect press release by clicking here.


Once you generate the leads, move the to the interest stage, where you teach them more about your company and products. Here is an opportunity for you to develop a relationship you are trying to sell. You can nurture leads through emails, industry specific content, classes, newsletters, and more.


In the consideration stage, leads have been changed into marketing qualified leads and are seen as prospects. You can send prospects more information about your products and offers through automated email campaigns, while continuing to nurture them with targeted content, case studies, free trials, and more. The best way to become part of your prospects’ consideration set is to create a promotion. Check out our guide on creating promotions by clicking here.


To get to the intent stage, the prospect must demonstrate their interested in buying your product. If the prospect did not demonstrate an interest then either keep them in the consideration stage or get rid of them. This is the a mistake every single marketer makes! Don’t be too eager to sell by moving too quickly. So what is a demonstration of intent? A prospect can demonstrate intent by engaging a survey, place a product in the shopping cart, view a video, etc. This is an opportunity for you to make a strong case for why you product is the best choice for the prospect.


In the evaluation stage, prospects are making a final decision about whether or not to buy your product or services. Typically, marketing and sales work together closely to nurture the decision-making process and convince the prospect that their brand’s product is the best choice.


You’re here! This is the last stage in the marketing funnel, where a prospect has made the decision to buy and turns into a customer. This is where sales takes care of the purchase transaction. A positive experience on the part of the buyer can lead to referrals that fuel the top of the marketing funnel, and the process begins again.