Across boardrooms and Slack channels everywhere, marketing departments are constantly talking about funnels, funnels, funnels. But the funnel is failing you. What’s starting to replace the tried-and-true funnel? It’s marketing flywheels. If you feel like getting your funnel to produce a healthy ROI has become a Sisyphean task, keep reading. We’ll show you how to stop pushing boulders, and start building a marketing flywheel instead. 

 

What’s a marketing flywheel?

A flywheel is a mechanism designed to store rotational energy. When it comes to advertising, a marketing flywheel includes the following components:

  1. Possesses a repeatable tactic or group of tactics
  2. Offers a system for reaching a broad audience while reducing customer acquisition costs (COC)
  3. Is scalable

The image below should help you visualize what a marketing flywheel looks like in action. This is a basic SEO and content flywheel that any business can use. 

marketing flywheel graphic

Why are marketing flywheels replacing funnels?

For years, optimizing the funnel has been the marketer’s north star. It’s the blueprint from which millions of successful business strategies have been constructed. But the traditional funnel has started to fail marketers. Why? 

Behind the marketing flywheel philosophy is the belief that customer referrals and word-of-mouth advertising are the driving force behind purchase decisions in today’s business environment. The rise of social media and smartphone usage had had a significant impact on this shift in marketing away from the funnel and to the flywheel. 

Marketing Flywheel vs. sales funnel

With a funnel, customers are the outcome. Any energy spent on gaining that customer comes and goes and is largely wasted. Marketing flywheels, in contrast, store energy in the form of happy, engaged customers, allowing you to release it when needed. Bottom line, funnels give you customers. But flywheels give you a repeatable, scalable opportunity to use your customers to drive repeat business and increase profits. 

 

How a marketing flywheel works

Flywheels store energy. But three factors influence how much momentum a specific marketing flywheel will have: 

  1. How much friction the flywheel is working against
  2. How big the marketing flywheel is
  3. How quickly you get the flywheel spinning

Adjusting your strategies to address all three facets will help achieve a healthy flywheel ROI. Remember, a flywheel gains strength from the energy stored within.  A marketing flywheel will pick up speed when you emphasize strategies that typically add the most energy, like superior customer service

 

How marketing flywheels achieve maximum ROI

a marketing flywheel can boost your ROI

Remember, customers are at the heart of the flywheel philosophy, the fuel. So, employing strategies that make your customers successful will give your flywheel ROI. Happy customers are likely to tell other people about the great experience they’ve had with your company. 

Your business and the customers it serves are unique. So the way you ultimately design your flywheel will depend on your business model. A few strategies you can use to increase your marketing flywheels success include:

 

  • Determine which areas of your business have the most impact on growth
  • Leverage those insights to optimize your flywheel 
  • Apply force to the areas determined to have the most impact

 

Marketing flywheels are so successful because they offer a two-pronged approach to customer acquisition. With a standard funnel, your internal marketing and sales teams are often siloed. They’re working to increase your brand awareness and find new customers for your business. But friction is often part and parcel to this model, and it’s not always efficient. Often, there’s a misalignment between marketers and the sales team.  

With a marketing flywheel, your internal team and your audience work together to grow your business. The internal team is aligned on attracting, engaging, and pleasing customers. As a result, those same customers become walking advocates and advertisers for your brand. 

 

Eliminating friction

Friction will slow your flywheel and negatively impact its ROI. When designing and optimizing a marketing flywheel, pay close attention to areas where friction is likely to occur. Be proactive and work to eliminate those areas of resistance. 

  • Are your teams aligned or operating in silos?
  • Do you experience a lot of customer churn?
  • Are people getting stuck at specific points in the customer journey?
  • Do you have complicated, cluttered pricing structures?
  • Are clients forced to connect with you on your terms, or are you easy to reach?

At the heart of the marketing flywheel are your customers, and they’re driving its momentum. Aligning teams, simplifying processes, and making the buyer’s journey a rewarding one will reduce instances of friction. The less friction your flywheel encounters, the faster and more efficiently it can work. 

 

Why you need a marketing flywheel

digital marketing is changing.

Word-of-mouth marketing plays a significant role in building consumer trust and cementing customer loyalty. And trust in businesses has plummeted in recent years. Today, the vast majority of buyers trust family and friend recommendations over advertisements. 

The old school funnel is built for the way people used to interact with brands — namely through advertisements. First, potential clients were sent marketing materials or top-of-funnel assets. Next, they’d speak to a salesperson and eventually purchase. That’s not how most people today interact with brands and ultimately come to trust them. 

More than half of B2B purchases are completed before buyers contact vendors. In the age of social media and Google My Business, a brand’s marketing materials aren’t the primary determinant behind the average customer’s purchasing decision. Instead, reviews and peer recommendations are critical influencers in the purchasing process. The marketing flywheel is designed to capitalize on 21st-century purchasing behaviors, making your business more competitive. 

 

Marketing Flywheels: A Takeaway Message

Relying on the old school funnel in your marketing is an inefficient use of your budget. A funnel is a linear model that doesn’t let you build momentum. Flywheels are dynamic, enabling you to refine your internal processes for maximum efficiency and ROI. Marketing flywheels also give your business a competitive advantage by aligning your strategies with the way consumers interact with brands. 

Better content will result in returning visitors to your blog. They’ll subscribe to your newsletter. What starts as a trickle, with time and effort, becomes a flood. A handful of visitors becomes thousands a month, then thousands a week. They start sharing your content on their social posts, who share it with their network, who then visit your site, buy your product, and so on. Each piece of content you produce becomes less work while yielding greater results as you continually optimize your marketing flywheel. 

At InThink, we specialize in helping businesses like yours optimize their marketing efforts for maximum ROI. We’ll look at your current strategies and design an effective marketing flywheel that will produce the results you are aiming for. Contact us today to speak with one of our marketing experts.