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Book Review: Flip the Funnel kinda Flops

Published 02/10/2019

Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe suffers from two common pitfalls.

First, it’s too long.

The premise of the book is that companies should be focused on using existing customers to get more business through either backend sales or referrals to others rather than trying to fill a giant funnel and move strangers down that funnel.

It makes sense and could easily be explained in an article or white paper rather than a 200-page book.

The book is long on exposition and short on concrete examples and actionable steps.

Second, it’s not timeless.

This is tough to avoid, especially when you’re writing about a subject like marketing which is changing almost every day, especially in the digital space.

That said, this book was written in 2009 and less than a decade later, most of the few concrete examples and action items are dated if not downright impossible thanks to the rapidly changing landscape of digital marketing.

Still, there were a few take aways worth noting:

Jaffe says there are five things companies can do to activate dialogue with as well as among its customers:

  1. Establish customer clubs forums, communities, groups or hubs where people can connect with each other, ask questions, provide answers and socialize.
  2. Make the first move: Outreach proactively to your customers. It’s a tough sell, but one that can build over time through a combination of permission-based invitations, rewards and most important, demonstration that there is a genuine intent to act.
  3. Implement a robust listening strategy to get a real-time handle on customer conversations where and as they happen.
  4. Design a comprehensive and intense response strategy to provide timely and relevant information to ongoing conversations.
  5. Rind an optimal mix between technology and human resources designed to maximize your ability to participate effectively and efficiently with customers and their communities.

Additionally, Jaffe advocates that companies constantly seek feedback from customers both privately and publicly and commit to implementing one customer-initiated suggestion a month.

He also says that measurement is fundamental, so constantly track, evaluate and tweak a work in progress to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the pathway to your customers. Reconcile medium to long term benefit from the implementation of ideas with the investment that was incurred to produce them.

Finally Jaffe offers a handful of ways companies can jump start the “power of customer referrals”:

  • Create unique customer or ambassador profiles as well as referral codes based on content creation, conversation, referral behavior and activity to match to the profiles.
  • Harness and activate a passionate, distributed sales force by creating a community of like-minded, energized and appreciated customers.
  • Using barometers and other standard sales-tracking tools, introduce tiers of performance and reward accordingly
  • Why not create a customer salesperson of the year?
  • Create widgets, badges, stickers and buttons for web sites that endorse, recommend, or just acknowledge and existing affiliation with a brand.

Applying this to Gunner Technology, I think we could benefit greatly from offering clients and ambassadors a mobile portal complete with profiles, rewards, communication tools and more.

Amazon’s AWS is trying to do this, albeit, clumsily with their APN Portal.

A simplified, “cooler” version of this as a native mobile app or a PWA capable of automation, tracking and reporting would be a huge boon both for us as a company and our network of ambassadors and clients.