Like muddy water through a market funnel

by Anna Ørberg


Like sand through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

According to the American soap opera Days of our Lives at least.

According to general marketing strategies it would be more appropriate to talk about sand

through a market funnel as a measurement of the days of our lives. The market funnel is a

tool for luring in potential customers through a process of initially awareness, secondly interest,

then desire and finally action which implies the action of buying a product. If you add loyalty to

the model it would result in the customer repeating the process all over and this repetition shows

the image of a funnel upon a funnel upon a funnel - and not an hourglass.


The sand of this metaphor might need a substitute as well. The dry and arid associations

of sand seem obsolete; from a time of distress and shortage. A suitable alternative could be

water as a symbol of abundance and superfluity. Imagine a stream or even a flood of people,

consumers and money flowing through the market funnel. This is a day in our life.

 

Water as a symbol of life is further highlighted by its presence in a city. When aqueducts

where finished it would be marked and celebrated by raising a fountain that would stand

as a cornucopia, a horn of plenty, on the main square of a town. As long as water is running

from the fountains, a city is thriving.

Controlling water is one of humanity’s (and beavers) many trials of strength.


One could wonder if the fountain is just a European phenomena. But a simple online search

shows it to be popular on a global level and throughout history too. An example of an

equivalence to the fountain could be the ‘Sōzu’ - a Japanese scarecrow of some sort.

This is a tool rather than decoration and uses the flow of water through a hollow

bamboo stick to scare off birds in a garden. The function is the exact opposite of that

of the market funnel that seeks to seduce people into its funnel-shaped web

of desirable objects and products.


The Sōzu does not escape the capitalist metaphors either.

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and it has an extremely flexible yet strong

structure making it an indispensable asset to an ever growing market. It might stand as the ultimate

symbol of growth in the future, this strong, flexible and fast-growing resource - this brilliant asset!


Oh, the assets, the liquid assets, liquidity in general, is praised and valued. And the channeling of money,

 the free flow of capital, the cash flow. And the revenue streams, dark pools and buoyant growth.

And governments pouring money into the economy. And it seems one can only stop this stream of

 fluid associations by clogging the funnel with sand and hereby halting its infinite flow of water,

exhausting its ambition of endless resources and impeding its promise of eternal growth.


The ideal of a life in constant motion stems from the demand for constant efficiency and high

performance from the employee. In a time of precariousness the employee additionally needs

 to be as flexible as the bamboo stick and as adaptable as bacteria - an organism able to survive

in radioactive waste and that says a whole lot about today’s expectations.

What are possible escape strategies from the continuous motion of profitable flow?


Along with the possibility of clogging the funnel with sand there are chances to deviate

from these expectations by stirring up things. The word motion has its etymological similarities

to emotion that comes from emovere: To stir up. By adding an 'e' to the demand for motion

the result is emotions that cannot and should not be commodified.


So we stirred up the compliant motion with an excess of emotions, we clogged the

amenable market funnel with dirt and sand and we scared off the demand for eternal

 growth with a bamboo fountain. And like mud through an irregular watercourse

 so might be the days of our deviating lives.


ential customers through a process of initially awareness, secondly interest,

then desire and finally action which implies the action of buying a product. If you add loyalty to

the model it would result in the customer repeating the process all over and this repetition shows

the image of a funnel upon a funnel upon a funnel - and not an hourglass.


The sand of this metaphor might need a substitute as well. The dry and arid associations

of sand seem obsolete; from a time of distress and shortage. A suitable alternative could be

water as a symbol of abundance and superfluity. Imagine a stream or even a flood of people,

consumers and money flowing through the market funnel. This is a day in our life.

 

Water as a symbol of life is further highlighted by its presence in a city. When aqueducts

where finished it would be marked and celebrated by raising a fountain that would stand

as a cornucopia, a horn of plenty, on the main square of a town. As long as water is running

from the fountains, a city is thriving.

Controlling water is one of humanity’s (and beavers) many trials of strength.


One could wonder if the fountain is just a European phenomena. But a simple online search

shows it to be popular on a global level and throughout history too. An example of an

equivalence to the fountain could be the ‘Sōzu’ - a Japanese scarecrow of some sort.

This is a tool rather than decoration and uses the flow of water through a hollow

bamboo stick to scare off birds in a garden. The function is the exact opposite of that

of the market funnel that seeks to seduce people into its funnel-shaped web

of desirable objects and products.


The Sōzu does not escape the capitalist metaphors either.

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and it has an extremely flexible yet strong

structure making it an indispensable asset to an ever growing market. It might stand as the ultimate

symbol of growth in the future, this strong, flexible and fast-growing resource - this brilliant asset!


Oh, the assets, the liquid assets, liquidity in general, is praised and valued. And the channeling of money,

 the free flow of capital, the cash flow. And the revenue streams, dark pools and buoyant growth.

And governments pouring money into the economy. And it seems one can only stop this stream of

 fluid associations by clogging the funnel with sand and hereby halting its infinite flow of water,

exhausting its ambition of endless resources and impeding its promise of eternal growth.


The ideal of a life in constant motion stems from the demand for constant efficiency and high

performance from the employee. In a time of precariousness the employee additionally needs

 to be as flexible as the bamboo stick and as adaptable as bacteria - an organism able to survive

in radioactive waste and that says a whole lot about today’s expectations.

What are possible escape strategies from the continuous motion of profitable flow?


Along with the possibility of clogging the funnel with sand there are chances to deviate

from these expectations by stirring up things. The word motion has its etymological similarities

to emotion that comes from emovere: To stir up. By adding an 'e' to the demand for motion

the result is emotions that cannot and should not be commodified.


So we stirred up the compliant motion with an excess of emotions, we clogged the

amenable market funnel with dirt and sand and we scared off the demand for eternal

 growth with a bamboo fountain. And like mud through an irregular watercourse

 so might be the days of our deviating lives.