The Transformation of the Marketing Funnel

As consumers evolve, so must our marketing efforts. Social media, website user experience, ads, and email campaigns are all changing the way we interact with not just potential customers but those we’ve already worked with. 

These individual components come together as a whole to improve the way consumers experience a company. The traditional marketing funnel with its simple path is no longer working for these types of experiences consumers are craving. Instead, there’s a new funnel in town — and it’s in the form of a flywheel! 

Learn more about the transformation of the marketing funnel into the flywheel, and what this means for you as a marketer.

The Traditional Marketing Funnel

The funnel is a one-way transaction process where consumers take one path through the entire funnel. These are the individual stages of the funnel:

  1. Awareness

Starting from the top down, the marketing funnel shows the linear path all leads must take to purchase. At the very top, it starts out with the widest section where a majority of the potential consumers are. This is often referred to as TOFU — short for “top of funnel”. 

At this stage, potential customers are drawn into your brand thanks to various marketing campaigns. These could be anything from blogs, events, webinars, social media, cold calling, mailers, and organic search. In this initial stage, you’re just trying to get the customer’s attention in any way possible. 

  1. Consideration

The next piece is MOFU, which is the middle of the funnel. From here, the second section gets smaller and is a visual representation of there being less people in the funnel at this stage. These are the remaining people who have shown interest during your initial brand awareness stage and are now considering making a purchase. By this point, they’ve given you their info via some sort of submission form and will begin engaging with your brand. These leads will be nurtured with automated emails, free trials, case studies, and other targeted content.

  1. Decision

Finally, the smallest section is BOFU, located at the very bottom and with the smallest number of people who make a purchase. The prospect is now a customer and you have made a sale! With the traditional marketing funnel, this is where the buyer’s journey ends and then starts over again for each new purchase. 

The Pros and Cons of the Marketing Funnel

Funnel Pros

The marketing funnel works as a whole, and gives us marketers an idea of what needs to be done to captivate our customers and when. The journey is mapped out from the first moment a potential customer engages with your brand to the moment they make a purchase. 

Funnel Cons

The most obvious con is the fact that the journey abruptly ends after the purchase. Now that we know consumers are highly likely to share their own opinions and experience with your product, their needs to be a way in which they positively interact with brands even after they purchase. 

The Marketing Flywheel Model

With the flywheel model, consumers can enter (or reenter) this alternative to the funnel at any point. The customer-centric model shows us that the marketing, sales, and service teams must perfectly align to move customers through the cycle and create a positive experience for them. Notice that the flywheel continues even after a purchase has been made, using its continuous momentum to foster positive interactions with your consumers for a lifetime! 

Somewhat similar to the marketing funnel, take a look at the three stages of the flywheel:

  1. Attract

Useful content is what attracts consumers to your brand. During this stage you earn people’s interest, rather than pushing for it with obnoxious marketing tactics like cold calls. People come to you because they want to, whether it’s because they have heard good things about your company, or they saw a funny meme you posted and started following you on Instagram.

  1. Engage 

Here is where you really gain their trust and begin engaging with them on a personal level. Personalized emails, database segmentation, marketing automation and so on are excellent strategies and provide your customers with what they need and want at the right time. This shows customers you are humans who care, and not just some brand out for their money.

  1. Delight

In this phase, consumers become loyal customers. Again, this is because they want to! Loyal customers can sell your brand better than any sales person can, and that’s because they are unbiased people who have worked with you and are willing to share that with the world. Word of mouth marketing and user generated content are extremely valuable to you. Chatbots, proactive customer service, loyalty programs, and customer feedback surveys are easy ways to manage the delight stage of the flywheel. 

The Pros and Cons of the Flywheel Model

Flywheel Pros

As a repeat customer, the flywheel leads to further nurturing that then leads to frequent or bigger purchases. Your ultimate goal should always be to create loyal fans of your brand. These people will naturally become advocates and influencers for your brand. As mentioned, they will even do some part of the marketing for you as they will share their positive experiences through word of mouth, online, and social media

Flywheel Cons

There aren’t many cons at this point. As marketing evolves and so do our target audiences, we may eventually find an even better way to reach people. But the flywheel model is by far the best way to nurture leads and get repeat customers for a long, long time!

Make the Switch to the Flywheel

Before you make the switch from the marketing funnel to the flywheel, it is important to get to know your audience like the back of your hand! Understanding who your marketing to makes all the difference because your customers will be in different stages of the flywheel at all times. Being on top of who your buyer personas are will give you a leg up against the competition still wasting time with the old marketing funnel. Learn how to create your business’s buyer personas by downloading our Understanding Your Target Audience guide below.