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Funnel or Flywheel it's time to level-up!

  • 1 June 2020
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Funnel or Flywheel it's time to level-up!
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I was introduced to the marketing Flywheel whilst working with a Video Marketing consultant. She explained that the traditional funnel is no longer enough and we must do more to keep winning our customers back and servicing them through the entire experience.

She then showed me a daunting diagram with what looked like a Pokemon ball/gobstopper, I began to look this thing up and saw similar diagrams like this:

Original source

Needless to say this diagram alone illustrates the reality of SaaS business and growth models. We are constantly winning our customers over because switching is relatively easy and the choice in the market is ever-expanding. Our native tongue is retention and churn (now even more than ever).

The flywheel is hailed as a saviour but I think it is an apt illustration of what many of us already knew. Whether you do your research and believe any of the following:

  • The flywheel replaces the funnel
  • A funnel contains multiple flywheels within it
  • The flywheel is the end of the funnel 

It’s all much of a muchness, this Pokemon/gobstopper-art is reflecting life.

The user experience has to become more dynamic, we must leverage various formats of content, we much surface the right insight, to the right person at the right time and we must iterate what works and challenge what doesn’t. We have to use our websites, collateral and social media to engage with prospects and users. 

All of this is pointing to the creation of more content and the creation of more data which in turn feeds product development, operations, marketing strategy, growth hacking and pretty much every function in a business.

Flywheel or Funnel; It’s Time To Level Up

I personally love the flywheel but my own thoughts are neither here nor there; both can be implemented with Mixpanel but there are a few gaps you will need to close to achieve this and I’ve listed some questions to help you do just that:

Are you tracking your website and pre-login events?

You’ve logged in, you’ve registered, you’ve taken the first step to commitment to my platform but where did you come from in the first place? Was it the localised landing page that appealed or the blog? 

Use Identity merge and good implementation of profiles vs users to make this clear so you can learn from the pre-sale behaviour of your users.

For extra points track your website so you can have synergy between the Mixpanel audiences (aka cohorts) alongside your lookalike audiences elsewhere.

Are you reviewing your attribution sources throughout the whole customer life-cyle?

So, we know that our Google ads are proving popular in conversion. The clicks are happening and the sign-ups are taking place. But… beyond that what else? 

Is a particular channel or campaign the source of your most retained users? Is a particular channel or campaign the source of users that are confused on your value proposition and generate the most support tickets? Is a particular campaign the source of users who don’t stay beyond the free trial?

Do you know? Are you connecting attribution to the revenue generating events or tunnel-vision on the vanity metric? Do you have a leaky bucket that correlates to key parts of the funnel/flywheel?

Are you creating sophisticated cohorts?

Yes, you can create a list of all your users in Barcelona. But what about the users who signed up from a the Facebook campaign/ad set in January (the month you doubled ad-spend and experimented with video content), converted through the free trial 3 days into their seven, then upgraded to annual payment after their first 3 months and have triggered your “golden” event 20 times in the past 30 days. Now that… is a user I’d like to meet. That’s a user I’d have some questions for, I’d want to interview and show new features.

You can create cohorts made of cohorts, cohorts can be created on the fly (pun intended) in most reports and can be visualised to display retention.

Scroll back up to the flywheel and create a theory for how each group interacts with your platform, what events are triggered as they activate, adopt, adore, advocate. For extra points, plot these cohorts against each other on an insights report.

Are you leveraging the Google Ad Words and Facebook integrations?

Marketing and content marketing is like going to a party and trying to invite the partygoers to your party next door. 

We must pay to play on social media because that’s where our users are, but we make every effort to invite them to the mailing list or to click content on the website for many reasons, least of all as hub to the spoke of your re-marketing, re-targeting and retention efforts.

So far, you are able to re-market to those who clicked/converted/viewed your content but with these 2 powerful integrations you can create custom audiences of the users who converted and stuck around and became power-users and advocates (as mentioned above).

Explore these integrations to export cohorts of users who have gained value and become fans based on their behaviour, not just their campaign click.

Are all your customer facing teams accessing Mixpanel?

Marketing, Sales, Business development (especially if you have a trial/freemium model), customer success, account management… EVERYBODY in the building needs to have access and a clear understanding of which reports we have created especially for them e.g. Support can leverage Mixpanel data in the Explore report because it means you don’t have to waste engagement asking about device type, OS, screen size etc… It’s all clear and ready to debug and ask the genuine questions.

p.s. It doesn’t cost to add the whole team.

p.s. x2 If you have a professional services package ask your CSM about sensitive data and workspaces and tell them I sent you!

Have you integrated Mixpanel with your help/community pages?

Your support teams have limited capacity and time, you have a help page(s) which you are adding but what if you were tracking this behaviour and able to unlock time in this team by double-down on communicating with users at scale? What if you had a Mixpanel report that showed Help Page engagement trending up and to the right as the ticket volume goes down..? Exciting right? You can manage this if your not measuring it.

Are you using data to iterate what works? 

The data lives a very happy yet lonely life if you don’t invite it to meetings, internal reviews, retrospectives and more. 

If you are not using reports like Signal and Impact to see if a new feature or specific message campaign or experiment worked to increase engagement, or Insights with Formulas to see if the introduction of a new help page topic is resulting in increased engagement with that feature and fewer support tickets around it… The results (pun intended) will be limited. I personally don’t want you to re-invent the wheel and want you to use the data to give your users more of what they want, to do this you need to ask the question in the data

Wait… there’s more...

There are more questions that will naturally lead off these but I’m not trying to overwhelm you.

If you are interested in finding out more, comment below and we’d be happy to support or add this to the agenda with your Mixpanel Customer Success Manager.

Either way, let’s talk, let’s get the flywheel or the funnel optimised so you don’t miss a beat!

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