Book Review: Flip the Funnel: How to use existing customers to gain new ones.

Noted blogger and marketing consultant Joseph Jaffe’s new book, Flip the Funnel is an interesting and yet incomplete read for the small business owner.

Jaffe’s main argument is that businesses have it all wrong when it comes to attracting new customers and growing sales. His argument is founded in the idea that the traditional marketing funnel (awareness, interest, desire, action) is “inherently out of whack”. He argues most companies spend too many resources trying to get new customers because the current ones have “churned” out (gone elsewhere).

Therefore, to eliminate the idea of churn and to “flip the funnel”, Jaffe introduces the new flipped funnel as “Acknowledgement, Dialogue, Incentivization, and Activation.”

All of this is relevant, Jaffe argues, because of the growth and significance of social media in our culture today. Social media has made it so much easier to tell your friends if you had a good experience or a bad one with any particular company. In addition, you can tell all your friends if you had a good experience and therefore gain more new customers from your current ones.

To support his theory, Jaffe spends a great deal of time with three case studies of how a funnel can be flipped to create success. Those case studies are the Obama Presidential campaign, Zappos and USAA.

All in all, I think Jaffe makes some very good points. Businesses, including mine, spend too many resources trying to get new customers and not enough on the loyalty of our current customers.

I walked away from the book with some good ideas. Notice I didn’t say, “New ideas.” I think what Jaffe does is support some of things we all know already but maybe have not implemented or recognized the opportunity they may have on our bottom line.

Some of the “how to’s” Jaffe describes, I felt, were geared more toward bigger organizations with more resources (sponsored reviews, paid bloggers, upgrading call centers, etc). Those are not things small business owners like me will have to consider anytime soon.

Without question, social media has given customers more power to communicate their experiences with companies to their friends and family members. It is the new “word of mouth” advertising that we all know is very influential when it comes to buying decisions.

No question, there is some pretty sophisticated dialogue and ideas here. It has to be difficult to write a book to cover such a large potential audience. When I bought it, I expected more “how to” ideas that a small business could implement.

We are in the process of considering how we might benefit from some of the ideas in the book. Are Jaffe’s ideas a “game changer” for my company? I don’t think so, but I certainly believe we can do more to “flip the funnel” in our favor.

I would recommend it. Jaffe makes some good arguments that, at minimum, should make every business owner reconsider their marketing goals and tactics.

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