Most people have heard the term funnel. Funnels in marketing have been big since the inception of digital media. What most people don’t realize is that the funnel model is now antiquated.
The world moves fast, even faster in the world of a digital economy and constantly shrinking attention spans. That can be viewed as a positive or a negative, it just depends. Over the last year, we have seen customers move toward a higher understanding of how they are being manipulated by marketing funnels and they have evolved. Allow me to introduce you to the “flywheel.”
Hubspot, a massive digital marketing company, coined the term when they told the world that their funnel model was now dead. In that post, they talk about the dangers of the funnel in our evolving landscape.
Despite the funnel being my first love, I have to admit that its linear approach to measuring growth is a huge weakness. Funnels produce customers, but don’t consider how those customers can help you grow. And all the momentum you built acquiring that customer? Gone. Each day, each month, and each quarter, we have to start new. This isn’t just inefficient, it’s a major problem. Ignoring how customers can help you grow is perilous in today’s world.
While funnels may have been used by most marketing managers for years, its linear approach to measuring growth was a huge weakness as it invested its energy into attracting and acquiring customers. Funnels produced customers and clients but did not consider how those customers and clients needed to be interacted with along the way so they can help you grow. On the other hand, flywheel creates in a circular process. It fuels itself and is designed for continuous growth.
In using the flywheel model as a tool to scale growth, three levers can dictate the momentum the flywheel moves with: speed, friction, and composition.
Similar to a spinning wheel, the speed of the flywheel increases as you apply more force. Unlike a traditional marketing funnel, the flywheel does not stop and simply applying its force to attract and convert new customers. It allows for a holistic framework to be built and maintained to delight them and turn them into fans and raving fans which makes it far more effective.
For 2019, we are implementing an even more robust model of flywheel with some of our clients which aligns with our value proposition to our clients of providing business growth strategies and consulting beyond just marketing. This flywheel approach uses marketing for a foundation, but hits on the entire customer journey, which relies on every part of a company to execute properly.
Friction is of course a force. Any force can work positively or negatively. There may be times where force is misapplied and causes friction that may slow down the speed of a flywheel from time to time. In the world of marketing, these types of slow downs can occur when there is, for instance, a misalignment between sales and customer satisfaction. It is important to ensure that misalignments are actively being prevented by maintaining a well thought out structure and internal communication plan while delighting customers and improving conversion rates.
When more customers are delighted, the speed of the flywheel increases. As the customers continue to grow and adopt more of your products, the growth will begin to scale sustainably.