The Marketing Flywheel Vs. The Conversion Funnel

#Search & Strategy Blue Laser Digital on June 6, 2019

As marketers, our job is to capture visitors, convert them to customers and continue to deliver a product that keeps them coming back. It seems simple, right? Well, in the ever-changing world of digital marketing, that requires keeping up with market demands and always staying relevant with consumers – all while upholding brand identity.

So, how do you do that?

The Conversion Funnel

Until recently, most marketers used what’s called the Conversion Funnel. The Funnel has five stages, from widest to most narrow: awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty, advocacy.

The idea revolves around moving potential customers through the Funnel, from awareness to advocacy. The largest portion is awareness – you ensure your product is seen by as many people as possible – then the Funnel gets more and more narrow until it reaches the final stage, advocacy. It’s common sense, though plenty of people may be aware of your product, fewer and fewer potential customers are going to get to the bottom of the funnel until they convert and even advocate for your product.

Got it? OK, now throw it away.

The Marketing Flywheel

HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan announced the retirement of the Conversion Funnel in favor of a new, more intuitive marketing model: the Marketing Flywheel. The Marketing Flywheel addresses a hallmark of marketing that the Funnel does not: momentum.

During the Industrial Revolution, James Watt helped develop the flywheel for steam engines. It’s a mechanical device that rotates rapidly, storing energy and releasing it when there’s a need. However, the flywheel can lose energy and momentum with friction – just like your marketing model.

According to Halligan, force and friction are the two most important influences on the flywheel, just as they are for digital marketers. The more force you exert on your marketing plan, the quicker – and more efficiently – your plan is executed. The more friction exerted on your plan, the slower it goes, before eventually stopping.

HubSpot’s flywheel features four sections: Attract, Engage and Delight as arrows – the potential sources of force or friction – encircling the middle section, Customers. The more you focus on attracting, engaging and delighting in your marketing plan, the faster the Flywheel spins and the greater rate at which customers convert and advocate for you.

Why the Flywheel is King

The Marketing Flywheel is a better model and a better foundation upon which to form your marketing plan for more reasons than just momentum, however.

It’s an unfortunate truth: trust between customers and marketers is low, which means word of mouth is more important now more than ever. Shady practices like paid reviews hurt all marketers. That friction can slow and, in extreme cases, stop plans based on the Conversion Funnel. The Marketing Flywheel, however, keeps on spinning, propelled forward by time, energy and force spent in development.

Though you don’t have to disregard the Conversion Funnel altogether, it’s clear that the Marketing Flywheel is a better foundation for digital marketing plans, and can help your model become more successful, reach a wider audience and convert more customers.

attract engage delight

Let Your Wheel Fly

So, you understand the difference between the Conversion Funnel and the Marketing Flywheel, and you get why the Flywheel can lead to better conversion rates and a greater awareness of your product. Now, how do you transform your model, which is based on the Funnel, to a Flywheel? Let’s break it down by the key components of the Flywheel.

1. Attract.

What’s your hook? Determine what makes your company stand out from the competition. Maybe your product offers a more competitive price, an environmentally friendly alternative or a locally sourced material.

2. Engage.

This is where the Flywheel excels and the Funnel fails: engagement. Building a rapport with your client base is just as important as attracting a wider client base. If your customers keep coming back, you don’t have to keep widening the mouth of your Funnel. It just builds more and more momentum for that inner Customers circle.

3. Delight.

Finally, your product should bring joy to your clients. If you continue to delight customers both new and old, you create a self-propelling Flywheel. Your clients will spread your product through word of mouth, an invaluable asset in today’s changing digital world.


We Can Help Inform Your Flywheel

If your company is ready to put the Marketing Flywheel into action, Blue Laser Digital can help. Our experts can transform your Conversion Funnel into a Marketing Flywheel, or create a brand new, completely customized plan to position you for success. Call us today at (614) 453-5702, or send us an email to get started today.