For more than a century, marketers assumed that the response to marketing messages or sales pitches is linear, one-directional, and sequential. The assumptions are that consumers advance through stages (e.g., awareness, knowledge, consideration, preference, purchase, and loyalty). Response hierarchy models have been created to codify these assumptions. Marketers’ jobs are to push consumers through the steps while they narrow down brands to a final choice. Recently, the basic assumptions of these models and the logic of the funnel have been challenged numerous times. The arguments against the funnel are: consumers today are in charge and information no longer just flows from brands to consumers. Consumers are not just consumers of information, but also creators, and the stages are nonlinear, unpredictable, and complex.
We believe that businesses and brands can prosper greatly in this new social and connected world. It will require a major change toward the new Social Currency Paradigm: a new mindset and perspective to the business, its functions, and its relationships with others.