Jigsaw LLC


Joseph Jaffe: Flip the marketing funnel

— Branding & Marketing —

Here is what I learned yesterday at SXSW: Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice on Twitter) is waaaaaaaaaaaaay smarter than I am. Everyone who knows Joseph well surely already knows that, but I am relatively new to his work, so I didn’t fully realize the extent of it until I heard him speak and had the chance to chat with him a bit afterwards (he’s also a really nice guy).

Funny thing is, a couple of years ago when everyone started talking about how the traditional marketing funnel is broken, I spent a little time beating my forehead against figuring out what it is now. A tornado, perhaps? A Google search on the topic of “new marketing funnel” yields humorous results suggesting that it now looks like anything from a centrifuge to…a martini glass. Forrester Research created a new funnel that looks more like intestines. As for me, with brick marks on my forehead, I gave up and went with the intestine model. Until now.

Joseph did not give up; Joseph had an epiphany. A brilliantly simple, mad genius epiphany. Inspired by Seth Godin’s early 2006 e-book about how Web 2.0 tools were flipping the funnel into a megaphone for consumers, Joseph realized that, in actuality, the marketing funnel has been INVERTED. *smacks forehead* (And yes, in case anyone gets hung up on it, Joseph did talk to Seth about continuing to develop the idea, which he did in his 2010 book, Flip the Funnel.)

The first three words in my moleskine notebook from the talk sum it up: WHY CHASE STRANGERS? Most marketers are still spending the vast majority of their time and money throwing advertising at people who don’t know who they are, while not allocating significant resources to 1. provide an exceptional customer experience and 2. empower their most loyal customers to spread the word and grow their business on their behalf.

“We try to steal attention with advertising and PR, instead of just paying attention”, says Jaffe. So true. Advertising plays a role in building a brand. (I need to say that, because, um, Jigsaw sometimes makes advertising, and because it’s truth.) But advertising without exceptional customer experience and loyalist activation is just advertising. It’s not even a funnel, it’s just…part of a funnel. Nothing is going to get through. More and more marketers, in our experience, realize the conceptual importance of these new focal points; but how many marketers are truly investing and executing accordingly?

Coke Zero, as Jaffe points out, gets about 80% of its sales from three percent of its customers. So much for the 80/20 rule, right? As Joseph asked the group: do you know who your three-percenters are (even if they are 20 percent)? How much of your marketing budget are you allocating to communicate with and through them? Probably not enough. Joseph essentially called BS (my word, not his) on marketers who claim they don’t have the manpower to market this way. Marketers need to invest in human budgets increasingly, not just production budgets. (Production budgets are nice too, of course *hat tip to Jigsaw creative team*.)

Recognizing and rewarding these loyalists needs to be a priority; those rewards don’t have to be monetary to be effective. Joseph used Dunkin Donuts’ Fan of the Week program as a great example of a brand involving its best customers, allowing them to participate in ways that they would want to share.

So do you know who your “three-percenters” are? Are you providing an exceptional customer experience? Are you dedicating enough resources to your best customers? What are your strategies for empowering, recognizing, rewarding, activating them? Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe can inspire new thinking, new strategies, new ideas for doing just that. I look forward to digesting it (back to intestines again) and sharing more of its insights here and with our clients.

Do you agree with Joseph? Is the funnel flipped? Or does it really look like…a martini glass?

Posted by Jigsaw