At the recent HubSpot EMEA Partner Summit, HubSpot debuted a new take to the traditional funnel approach to Inbound Marketing. They’re calling it the flywheel. Not only is it a more connected model for marketers, taking into account all aspects and levels of marketing from the start, it also addresses and overcomes a critical flaw in the funnel approach.
Why the funnel approach falls short in today’s digital market
Traditionally, the funnel approach seemed the best analogy and fit for inbound and digital marketing. It took a broad top-of-funnel number of individuals made aware of your brand through online search, accounted for middle-of-funnel activities that led them down into a smaller group as they converted to leads and finally, at the point a percentage of those leads become customers, they left the bottom of the funnel at the point of purchase.
Wash, rinse repeat.
But here’s where the flaw comes in – what happens to that last group of individuals who have become your customers? We know that the inbound methodology says we should be delighting them. But are we? When the funnel places high-level priority on marketing and sales activities, it doesn’t leave much room for delighting your customers once they’ve moved through the funnel.
Want to know why delighting your customers is so crucial?
The report also shows that customer experience is a key differentiator, highlighting the need for businesses to deliver personalised, contextual interactions through the customer journey and as part of after-sales customer service.
Delighted customers are absolutely critical to your ongoing business success because of the increasing power of the positive, independent review. Your future customers will look to past customers for honest opinion of their experience in dealing with your company.
Good reviews build credibility and trust in your target audience. The only way to get good reviews is to ensure you are providing great customer service: online reviews are the digital version of word of mouth. And word of mouth has never been more important.
As Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO recently explained in a LinkedIn article: “word of mouth is becoming a significant growth driver … The funnel was a great way to think about our business 10 years ago, when our sales and marketing was the loudest voice in the market. But in today’s market, our customers’ voices, they’re the loudest.”
Always remember that word of mouth can be as harmful as it can be helpful. Delight your customers, and they’ll draw in new clients for your business by promoting your brand through their positive reviews. Disappoint them, and you could do irreparable damage to your brand and business.
Moving from the funnel to the flywheel
Thinking about making significant changes to your marketing strategy can be daunting, but don’t worry; the changes are really about perception and approach. The flywheel is really just the funnel after a much-needed makeover, one that places the emphasis on the importance of customer service in the generating of interest and new business for your brand.
It’s not just about marketing and sales generating business now.
It’s about marketing, sales and customer service working together as equals to drive a continuous stream of prospects and business for your brand. Essentially, it’s closing the loop of the buyer’s journey to help you offer a great customer experience, from first click to latest purchase, that will inspire your customers to recommend your business to others.
Whereas the funnel placed the emphasis on marketing, with the customer at the bottom, the flywheel literally places your customers at the centre of all your marketing, sales and service activities:
With the flywheel approach, you’re thinking from the start about your customers, and the data you generate through your interactions with them, to develop your marketing strategy and improve your sales. You’re using this data to influence your marketing and sales while continuing to delight your current customers into spreading the word about your brand.
The flywheel brings balance to how we approach marketing and helps us meet the changing behavioural patterns of the modern consumer and their demands. To reflect this new approach, HubSpot has also released their new Service Hub, geared specifically towards engineering the best possible customer service with a range of tools tailored to help you delight your customers.
Want to know more? Get in touch, we're happy to chat about how the flywheel, Service Hub and the right approach to marketing can transform your business.