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Why You Need to Ditch the Sales Funnel and Start Using the Marketing Flywheel

We all know about our best friend the sales funnel; and how in every marketing effort it is all about the digital funnel and the customer journey. Unfortunately, our old buddy is slowly losing its relevance; as we say “hello” to marketing strategy’s new Queen Bee: the marketing flywheel.

What is a flywheel?

Literally speaking, flywheels amplify, stabilize, store, and ultimately generate energy. Mostly, they are what run a lot of our modern-day machines like car engines. Additionally, it was business author Jim Collins who first coined this term for marketing strategies in his book Good to Great.

In his book, he describes the flywheel as an extremely heavy wheel; and challenging to push for it to start running. However, after exerting significant amounts of effort that it eventually gains momentum; it starts to keep turning by itself and building its own momentum. 

The flywheel is a self-sustaining barrel of energy. The wheel will keep on spinning if there is no friction. In other words, without any obstacles, the flywheel can keep turning for as long as it possibly can. 

How does the flywheel apply in marketing strategies?

Now we see how the spinning flywheel applies in our marketing; and to give a general idea, here is a diagram from Hubspot:

hubspot digital marketing flywheel sales funnel


To explain further based on the diagram at the center of our flywheel or our axis is, of course, our customers. The elements surrounding our axis will be what will start up its momentum; and in this example, it is our business’ sales, marketing, and customer service.

Additionally, unlike the sales funnel where customers are the endpoint, in the flywheel, the customers are the center of everything. We use the momentum of the customers we acquire, keeping them happy and satisfied, so they drive the sales through referrals and repeat purchases. 

Once that momentum picks up, and your flywheel keeps spinning, you end up with the unstoppable cycle of customer satisfaction. That is, as long as you keep up with keeping your customers happy.

Why is the sales funnel not working anymore for marketing strategies?

It is not exactly a sense in the sales funnel not working anymore; the thing is it is starting to get old; and marketing is all about finding out what is new and building on it. Thus, between the sales funnel and the marketing flywheel; the flywheel trumps the sales funnel in sustainability, and here are a few reasons why:

Sales Funnels End; Flywheels Keep Spinning

Using the sales funnel, we always talk about the end goal or the finishing point of the funnel, who is the customer. Thus, when we attain a customer, it is back to square one. Sales funnels are more focused on customer acquisition or finding new customers to buy the products or avail of the services.

With the flywheel, there is no end in sight as the goal is to keep the wheel spinning for as long as you can manage. Using the flywheel, we emphasize using the assets acquired through our marketing efforts as the energy that keeps the wheel moving, these assets being customer trust and loyalty. 

Sales Funnels Emphasize on Awareness; Flywheels Emphasize on Customer Satisfaction

Quite like the literal shape of a funnel, the top part needs to be as wide as possible to increase the chances of getting leads and sales. All marketing efforts are exerted to making the mouth of the funnel wide, or in other words to raise awareness and introduce the product or service to as many strangers or new customers as possible.

Flywheels have the more modern take of making sure the products and services continue to bring joy to customers. Marketing experts also call this the “delight stage”, which is kept running mainly through personalized ads and quality customer service. Furthermore, keeping existing customers in the delight stage encourages them not just to keep coming back to your product or service, but also to bring up referrals in the form of their connections. 

Sales Funnel Customers are just Customers; Flywheel Customers Become an Important Marketing Catalyst

For many sales funnels, once you get customers, you have accomplished your goal. It is then time to start all over again with a fresh batch of new customers. The marketing team then no longer gets themselves involved with the customers acquired at the end of the sales funnel as they will start busying themselves getting new ones again. They are just that, customers.

On the other hand, when a customer is acquired through the flywheel method, the marketing team is all over them. They treat them as an essential element in bringing in new customers, making them the energy they need to build up to spin the wheel and keep it turning. In a way, marketers become hybrid customer support agents to continue the cycle of customer engagement. 

Choosing Between the Sales Funnel and Marketing Flywheel with the Help of a Digital Marketing Company in the Philippines

While the sales funnel is not entirely obsolete, it is worth the effort for you to start pushing at your own flywheels to get them spinning. Even a combination of these two methods could work out for you, and if you ever need assistance, you can always reach out to an online marketing agency in the Philippines.

Axel May Rivera


Axel is an avid fan of many dramas and songs. She is always eager to explore and discover more when it comes to movies and entertainment, especially in Korean and Filipino culture. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing badminton.

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