Flywheel marketing was first introduced in 2001 by Good to Great author Jim Collins, who likened the strategy to a flywheel. For those unaware, a flywheel is a mechanical device designed to store rotational energy in an efficient way. It can be difficult to spin at first, but once momentum is built, the flywheel can perpetuate its own motion and spin by itself. Flywheel marketing has become a critical component of growth for platform business models.
Understanding flywheel marketing
Flywheel marketing is a model that helps explain the momentum that results when an organization unites around delivering a superior customer experience.
In the context of business, Collins noted there was “no single killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment; rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough and beyond.”
Unlike the traditional marketing funnel, flywheel marketing suggests the sales process is never truly complete. The wheel will slow down to reflect a disconnect between sales and customer success and speed up to reflect improvements in customer experience and conversion rate.
When the flywheel is in motion, so to speak, clients are retained and will recommend a product or service to others via word-of-mouth marketing. Since the focus is on customer retention, flywheel marketing is relevant to any business regardless of industry, size, or type.
The four stages of flywheel marketing
Like the traditional marketing funnel, flywheel marketing comprises several stages:
1 – Activation
In the first stage of flywheel marketing, the business endeavors to attract new customers in several ways.
Typically, this encompasses a high-converting website showcasing the relevant expertise and case studies. Some businesses will also choose to entice leads with coupons, discounts, or free trials and track the results of their efforts.
2 – Adoption
Once a customer has been acquired, the business must determine how to keep them coming back. In the second stage, newly acquired customers start using the product or service and are constantly searching for more value.
Product tutorials and walkthroughs can be used to foster a sense of realization among consumers that the product they are using is precisely what they need.
3 – Adoration
The adoration stage focuses on creating users who love products and services and look forward to using them regularly. For the business, the best possible outcome is a cohort of customers who act as brand ambassadors and set the stage for brand advocacy.
Customer adoration can be facilitated by:
- Sharing resources via social media or a newsletter, such as a free webinar.
- Conducting surveys to determine which product features fans would love to see incorporated.
- Compelling customers to upgrade to premium plans and reap the hidden benefits.
4 – Advocacy
During the advocacy stage, happy and satisfied customers become brand advocates via user testimonials, reviews, referrals, and user-generated content. Each is a potential source of new leads, with brand advocates essentially acting as a marketing team for the business itself.
While many brand advocates will need no motivation to speak well of a product or service, affiliate programs and other rewards can help incentivize some users to help keep the flywheel spinning.
- Flywheel marketing is a cyclical and self-sustaining marketing model that generates a steady stream of qualified leads
- The flywheel marketing sales process is never truly complete. The wheel slows down to reflect a disconnect between sales and customer success and speeds up as a result of improvements in customer experience and conversion rate.
- Flywheel marketing consists of four stages: activation, adoption, adoration, and advocacy. Each stage helps the business attract qualified leads and turn them into brand advocates that will promote its products and services.
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