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Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones by Joseph Jaffe

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ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL

But what if the real optimization that needs to take place is from acquisition-led efforts (all of the preceding) to retention-led ones? What if this entire game of musical chairs and budget shifts is taking place on the deck of the Titanic? Put differently: Achieving the double-barreled goal of effectiveness and efficiency (the contraction of chairs as a metaphor for shrinking budgets, especially during tough economic times and/or more demanding levels of accountability) is meaningless if the ship goes down.
Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed more shipwrecks than we’d ever thought were possible. There are many reasons why a company fails, but doesn’t it all just come down to an inability to sustain the business based on actual sales from actual customers? The entire acquisition process is a tenuous one at best; significant dollars are allocated without any guarantee of generating sales or the ability to sustain those sales over time. Sticking with a seafarer’s theme, it’s like fishing with a net full of gaping holes. As quickly as you catch the fish, you lose ‘em. Or—taking the metaphor one step further—when, on rare occasions, we do hit the mother lode and rake in a boatload of fresh fish, we’ll end up abandoning them by either leaving them out too long or improperly freezing them. You get the drift: We continue to focus our efforts on landing the big one but ignore, forget, or neglect what happens after the sale. Or we don’t allocate enough ...

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