Jammin’ with Joseph Jaffe: Flipping the Funnel on Customer Experience

Funnels are being flipped all over the business world.

Joseph Jaffe is the brilliant author of Flip The Funnel and four other books, and he’s currently working on his fifth. He’s also the CEO and co-founder of Evol8tion, a new company that helps connect innovative startups with top brands.

For example, Kodak might be interested in connecting with a photo app to stay relevant to millennials, deepen relationships with existing customers, and develop a competitive advantage. Joseph Jaffe’s company would help bridge that connection.

You may have heard of the #FlipMyFunnel movement in the B2B marketing space. To summarize, it involves flipping the traditional sales and marketing funnel on its head using account-based marketing strategies to target best-fit accounts rather than generating as many leads as humanly possible. Part of my inspiration for this movement was, of course, Joseph Jaffe’s book. I recently had the chance to sit down with Joseph to learn more about how flipping the funnel is challenging the status quo in customer experience.

Watch my entire entire chat with Joseph Jaffe in this video:

Now, here are my top four takeaways from my discussion with Joseph:

1. ZERO equals a lot

Joseph Jaffe’s 2013 book Z.E.R.O.: Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model was launched with Maarten Albarda, one of his Atlanta-based clients who was working with Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch at the time. The idea of the book is that, in a perfect world, the optimal paid media budget would be zero. Z.E.R.O. stands for:

  • Zealots
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Retention
  • Owned Assets

So in this ideal scenario, you would have enough customer advocacy, innovation, customer centricity, and direct-to-customer channels to spread your message and drive business through the funnel at no cost. As you can see, this relies on companies being completely customer-focused.

The silver bullet of marketing is flipping the funnel. At the end of the day, without your customers, you are nothing and you have nothing.

In our discussion, Joseph shines light on the fact that marketers are spending their marketing dollars on the wrong area things. “If 80% of your revenue comes from repeat business, then why are you spending less than 20% on the 80% revenue contribution?” he asks. “What we see in the marketing world is this constant obsession with acquisition.”

And that’s not sustainable. Joseph challenges marketers to view retention as the new acquisition by focusing on customer advocacy programs to get new customers by way of existing ones.

[Tweet “Customer advocacy is the new source of customer acquisition. – @JaffeJuice #FlipMyFunnel”]

Why is Focusing on Customer Retention so Damn Hard?

“It seems like such a no-brainer,” says Joseph. But one of the reasons a lot of companies struggle with customer retention, he half-jokes, is that “most senior marketers are drinking rose on a yacht in Cannes right now.”

In a way, this is marketing and advertising at its worst. You have companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft just schmoozing at all of these marketing events. They are so far away from what really counts, which is employee engagement, customer success, and the cash register.

You have all this decadence and debauchery happening halfway around the world about awards. It’s great that there is an innovation category in marketing, but where is the customer service category or the retention category? We’re simply not rewarding innovation in those areas of the business.

[Tweet “We have awards for creative marketing — why not for #CustomerExperience? – @JaffeJuice”]

Part of the challenge is the lack of sexiness in the category. Another part is, quite frankly, marketers’ laziness. And yet another part lies within the silos and bureaucracy that plague different departments and divisions of even the smallest company.

“It’s really B.S. at the end of the day when you think about how the real magic is the magic between a company and its customer base,” said Joseph. “It’s not your grandfather’s customer service. It’s about customer service 2.0 where we are super-consumers, promoters, and influencers.”

[Tweet “#CustServ 2.0 means we’re all super-consumers, promoters, & influencers. – @Joseph_Jaffe”]

There’s So Much More To Do In Customer Advocacy

Joseph says there’s so much more marketers should be doing to activate our customer advocates. It’s crucial to pay attention to our customers’ voices because their ideas and suggestions drive inspiration, innovation, research, and development within every successful company.

Marketers also need to make a business case for prioritizing retention for customer acquisition. We already know that it costs,on average, seven to ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. But what we haven’t yet figured out is the difference between the cost to acquire a new customer via an existing one versus acquiring a new customer through other acquisition programs. Joseph estimates that the cost of acquiring a new customer via an existing one is about one-third of the cost of other acquisition methods.

If this is accurate, the next step is to prove that the new customer drives more lifetime value in terms of recency, frequency, basket size, or loyalty because they came in the door via a credible source to begin with. This conclusion, Joseph says, could be a one-two punch and be the tipping point for customer-focused marketers to commit more time and money to retention and customer advocacy.

B2C is Crushing B2B in Customer Experience

Joseph points out that B2C brands are clear winners when it comes to customer experience. Think Amazon, Zappos, Starbucks, Nike, and Apple. People often roll their eyes and make comments like, “Oh, not them again” whenever Joseph brings them up. His response is always, “Why don’t you go emulate them and come back and tell me about it?”

[Tweet “The reality is that B2C is crushing #B2B in #CustomerExperience. – @JaffeJuice #B2Bmarketing”]

But there are some positive examples in the B2B world as well. Joseph highlights customer-focused companies like Salesforce that use thought leadership, events, and excellent content as a trojan horse to spread their message.

For both B2C and B2B brands, it’s all about providing value to your customers. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” says Joseph. “A brand at the end of the day is a reflection or mirror of not just values, but the people behind the products and the services. To me, those things never change. They are universal and timeless.”

[Tweet “”People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – @JaffeJuice”]

Precedence is the Hallmark of Mediocrity

If you are looking to be truly exceptional, says Joseph, “there is no precedent, and you have to set the precedent.”

[Tweet “”Precedence is the hallmark of mediocrity.” – @JaffeJuice via @Terminus #business”]

Joseph tells a story about the Biltmore, a Waldorf-Astoria property in Arizona, where he was giving a keynote speech. He shared a photo collage of the experience on Instagram and tagged the hotel’s Instagram account. They commented back, “So glad you are enjoying it. Let us know if there is anything we can do.” Joseph responded by requesting a late checkout, which was immediately honored by the hotel via the social media channel.

The moral of the story is “don’t buy attention, pay attention.” The hotel was not only out there on the platform, but they were also paying attention to what people were saying. By having a presence on this particular social channel, they were able to capitalize on an opportunity to connect with a customer, which resulted in a ton of goodwill and buzz from Joseph. “You never know where that next word-of-mouth” — positive or negative — “can come from,” he adds.

[Tweet “Marketers shouldn’t buy attention. They need to pay attention to their customers. – @JaffeJuice”]

Learn More About Flipping the Funnel

Joseph Jaffe is an expert at flipping the funnel on customer experience, and it was a delight to speak with him. To learn more about flipping the funnel in the world of B2B marketing, click here to download the #FlipMyFunnel e-bookIt explains how to identify your best-fit customers, expand your reach within target accounts, engage with decision-makers, and grow customer advocacy.