Flip the Funnel

Flip the Funnel – Book Review

By: Joseph Jaffe


This article challenges the conventional wisdom of the “marketing funnel” and proposes a paradigm shift called “Flip the Funnel” by Joseph Jaffe. Instead of the traditional AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), Jaffe suggests a reverse approach with ADIA (Acknowledgement, Dialogue, Incentivization, Activation). The article questions the outdated focus on acquiring new customers and advocates for concentrating on retaining existing ones through meaningful engagement and personalized experiences.

Part I – The Traditional Funnel:

The article begins by critiquing the traditional marketing funnel (AIDA) and its emphasis on lead generation at the expense of long-term customer relationships. It highlights the outdated nature of this approach, which often neglects the post-sale experience and fails to deliver as promised, using Alec Baldwin’s famous speech in “Glengarry Glen Ross” as a metaphor for the funnel’s shortcomings.

Part II – A New Way Forward:

The article explores three potential approaches for moving forward. It dismisses the extension of the funnel through loyalty programs or CRM as short-term fixes that might even harm loyalty. Instead, it recommends turning the funnel on its side to embrace the amplified voice of the customer. However, the most sensible option, according to Jaffe, is to completely flip the funnel, focusing more on post-sale activities for increased success.

Part III – How to Flip the Funnel:

Breaking down the flipped funnel (ADIA), the article explains each step. “Acknowledge” involves expressing gratitude, providing progress reports, and performing courtesy check-ins. “Dialogue” encourages meaningful conversations, suggesting tactics like establishing customer forums and active listening. “Incentivization” stresses the importance of rewarding customers for repeat business and referrals. “Activation” involves harnessing the power of the crowd by creating communities and networks around the brand.

Part IV – Tying it all Together with Customer Experience:

The article ties the flipped funnel concept to the emerging buzzword, “customer experience.” It emphasizes the need for the entire team to commit to delivering excellent customer service, as the front-line employees play a crucial role in shaping the customer’s perception. The focus is on making customer experience a core commitment rather than a mere statement, recognizing the visibility of frontline employees in the era of social networks and smartphone videos.


In conclusion, the article advocates for a fundamental shift in marketing strategies by adopting the “Flip the Funnel” approach. It stresses the importance of acknowledging customers, engaging in meaningful dialogue, incentivizing loyalty, and activating the power of customer communities. The flipped funnel, coupled with a strong commitment to customer experience, is positioned as a winning strategy in the evolving landscape where customer retention surpasses acquisition in significance.

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