Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
top of page

Marketing in 2021: Marketing Funnel Template vs. The Flywheel Model

The pandemic has re-shaped the way that we approach business.

Just a few years ago, for example, the idea of working from home and conducting business meetings via Zoom seemed impractical and unproductive. Now, we view it as part of a lean and agile methodology that allows organizations to streamline productivity from anywhere.

So this raises the question: if the way we conduct business is changing before our eyes, shouldn’t the way we approach marketing evolve as well?

What are the Long-Term Marketing Trends for 2021?

Before we can fully examine the difference between the traditional marketing funnel template vs. the flywheel model, we must first understand the current landscape.

Foot traffic has dropped in retail stores. It’s no secret that ecommerce has taken off in recent years, but social distancing has dramatically accelerated that trend.

Consumer spending has dropped by up to 25%. The beauty and fragrances industry was the most impacted, but the clothing and travel industries have suffered as well.

Identity and representation are increasingly important to customers. In the past, consumers were satisfied with quality products. Now, they want to support businesses that are taking corporate social responsibility for climate change, fair wages, and racial equity and justice.

These emerging trends have altered the relationship between businesses and consumers. This impacts not only how businesses operate internally, but also how they market themselves to potential customers.

In the past, marketing strategies were focused on funnel optimization.

The traditional funnel is typically broken down like this: Awareness > Consideration > Conversion.

Entire marketing departments prioritized optimizing the funnel itself, embracing the premise that “if you build it, they will come.” The shortfall of this mindset, however, is that it ignores the consumer. The focus is put on optimizing the sales funnel rather than truly improving the customer experience.

This is where flywheel marketing comes in.

What is Flywheel Marketing?

The term “flywheel marketing” is derived from a mechanical flywheel.

These devices are found in machinery such as trains, buses, and cars. The mechanical flywheel is used to store rotational energy, which can be “called up” and used by the machine immediately. In other words, it can effectively build on its own momentum.

Just as mechanical flywheels store energy and use it at the appropriate time, flywheel marketing harnesses the “energy” (or loyalty) of frequent customers.

This means that the customer is at the center of flywheel marketing.

Instead of a business-centric “if you build it, they will come” approach, flywheel marketing relies on the power of happy customers.

  • Happy customers become loyal customers.

  • Loyal customers become brand ambassadors.

  • Brand ambassadors tell their friends.

  • Those referrals become happy customers themselves.

And thus… the cycle (or “wheel”) continues!

The momentum grows as you maintain a loyal customer base — and that base grows as positive word of mouth around your business spreads.

Remember, people ask their networks for advice. They’re more likely to trust the recommendation of someone that they know. Thanks to social media, potential customers can quickly discover the brands that their friends and family recommend. Are you utilizing the flywheel marketing technique?

So How Exactly Does Flywheel Marketing Work?

HubSpot identifies the three stages of the flywheel technique as:

  • Attract

  • Engage

  • Delight

Other verbiage that is commonly used includes:

  • Marketing

  • Sales

  • Service

Regardless of which terminology you use, the idea is that the customer is at the center of everything you do. Instead of being the end “result,” customers help power the wheel through word of mouth, positive reviews, and referrals. They contribute “energy” to feed your company’s growth.

So how do these stages compare and contrast with traditional marketing funnels?

  • Attract / Marketing. This stage of the flywheel is focused on attracting not just new customers, but loyal customers and repeat customers. It’s all about building relationships. How do you do that? Through multiple touch points. In-person events (socially distanced, of course!), exclusive offers, and email newsletters are a few ways to attract the next generation of loyal customers for your business.

  • Engage / Sales. Embrace the mantra “always be helping.” Instead of trying to make money by pushing a sale, aim to truly help your customer. If a client feels like they are being taken care of and that you have their best interest at heart, they will easily convert. Allow your prospects to guide the conversation, then address their concerns and needs.

  • Delight / Service. This is the stage where happy customers turn into loyal customers. Go above and beyond to handle any customer service issues or complaints. Set realistic expectations so that clients aren’t disappointed, but delighted instead! The way you treat customers will determine whether they happily refer you to their network of friends and family!

Is your business using the flywheel marketing method? Or are you still relying on traditional marketing funnels?

As the world changes, don’t forget to change your strategies and processes to take advantage of the shifting landscape.

At Exceptional Services Agency, we’re committed to helping our clients find efficient processes and systems that work for their specific needs. If you’d like to learn more about flywheel marketing and how it can help grow your business, book your free consultation with us today!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page