Funnel vs. Flywheel: Everything Modern Bank Marketers Need to Know

Today’s customer cannot simply be passed from inquiry to transaction using the same generic messaging time and time again, only to fall through the funnel – and out of communication with your bank – once they transact. As technology and digital tools inundate consumers with options and the ability to self-navigate, the traditional sales funnel no longer fits the diverse needs and heightened expectations of modern consumers.  

Consumers cannot be led through your pipeline on your terms. Some need you to reach out with personalized content earlier, while others prefer to get further along in the process before engaging with the organization.  

As competition increases and the cost to acquire new customers skyrockets, you also can’t afford to letexisting customer relationships fall through the cracks.  

Either way, the funnel is dead – with many experts sounding the alarm a decade ago.   

In order to thrive, you need to “bury” the funnel and live by the flywheel as the new marketing model for attracting, engaging and retaining customers and prospects. 

The Birth of Your Flywheel 

The flywheel is a modern approach to sales and marketing that recognizes the power today’s consumers wield in a company’s long-term success. Unlike the funnel, where there is no place for the customer to goafter they transact, the flywheel places the customer at its center and builds speed as you exert energy on it. It shifts the focus from new leads and single transactions to customer retention and brand loyalty.

To compete with digital disruptors and build lifetime relationships with modern customers, banks must leverage cyclical, “one-to-one” messaging that attracts, engages and amazes. 


The attraction stage of the flywheel is when customers first interact with your brand or are reestablishing a connection to explore new products or services.  

With evolving technology and evolving consumer buying patterns, banks now have more opportunities to capture customer attention. From digital, email, social, SMS and more, banking customers are “always on”and available for outreach across their preferred channels. 

But banks must overcome the 10,000+ messages the average customer is exposed to each day and connect with the personal financial challenges of their customers.  

It’s not enough for banks to get their message in front of the customer – your message must say something meaningful if you want customers to stay in the flywheel. 


The ability to not only attract but engage customers with hyper-relevant messaging across the customer journey is critical to keeping them in the flywheel – and increasing the lifetime value of your customers. 

Bank customers who are not engaged with relevant messaging are at risk of falling out of the flywheel: they may lose trust or they may opt for a competitor that better understands their needs.  

Banks must continually empower customers with seamless experiences that maximize efficiency, add value and eliminate barriers, as 80 percent of consumers admit they would switch financial institutions for a better experience.  


To bring customers full circle in the flywheel, banks must make deep personal connections, anticipate future needs and focus on being a financial partner to your customers. 

Consider the impact of helping a family reduce their interest rate or advising on a home equity line of credit. Banks that go above and beyond will earn the two most valuable customer commodities: trust and loyalty.  

Loyal customers are proven to spend more, spend more often and are easier to sell to. 

Customers that trust your brand (the result of consistently amazing customer experiences) are more likely to partner with you for a lifetime of transactions.   


The sales and marketing flywheel is a modern approach to winning savvy consumers with deeply relevant outreach that elevates your brand and builds seamless customer experiences. 

Fueled by the hard-won trust and loyalty of customers, the flywheel challenges banks to go above and beyond with “one-to-one” messaging that attracts, engages and amazes. If you successfully set it in motion, each piece of the flywheel builds and sends customers flying from one stage to the next in a never-ending cycle. And, if everyone in the company focuses their energy on the flywheel’s lynchpin, your customers, it will gain momentum – creating customers for life and increasing your bottom line.