30 years ago we called it “Links in a Chain” in which you move people from “don’t know you” into a relationship (customer) and ultimately an evangelist for your brand. The funnel is the latest variation.
I have seen, however, an abuse of the Funnel concept. When marketers spend lots of dough on marketing tactics that generate no sales or limited engagement, they can justify the expenses (to their bosses) by explaining, “Well, that was a Top of Funnel spend and you don’t expect sales results from that.”
Direct Marketing pros know that the spend has to cover the expenses of the campaign or its discarded.
This is not an attempt to dismiss the model, but it’s a warning to be wary. At some point, you need to be generating ROI or its EOS. (End Of Story)