‘BtoB’ Leading Edge attendees urged to ‘flip the funnel’ toward retention

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New York—Marketers tend to focus on the “wrong end of the funnel,” author and social media thought leader Joseph Jaffe said in his opening video keynote Tuesday during BtoB’s daylong virtual trade show Leading Edge: Demand Generation in the Digital Age.

“Marketers have to flip the funnel,” Jaffe said, and focus on customer retention and satisfaction along with customer acquisition. “All customers aren’t equal. No amount of churn or attrition is acceptable.”

Jaffe introduced his own marketing acronym replacement for AIDA—awareness, interest, desire, action—used by marketers to assess customer acquisition. Instead, he proposed ADIA—acknowledgment, dialogue, incentivizing and activation—as more appropriate to a customer-retention strategy.

“Retention is the new acquisition,” Jaffe said. “It’s something that can be strategic, proactive and a source of company differentiation. Customer service can become the key strategic differentiator.”

Jaffe also proclaimed that the real role of social media is customer retention, not acquisition.

Social media also was the topic of the closing keynote address of the day, presented by Charlene Li, author and founder of the Altimeter Group. Li noted that the vast majority of social media users are passive observers, with just a small number who are actively engaged in content production and promotion.

“It’s tempting for marketers to go for those at the top, the ones who are engaged deeply in social media,” Li said. “But I believe you should look for places to get that first level of engagement. If you engage with the people at the top without building the foundation, you won’t have the support you need.”

Li recommended that companies structure their social media approaches first by committing to corporate openness and to finding leaders within the company with the same philosophy.

“And learn to embrace failure,” Li said. “In social media, you’re engaging in relationships, and nobody is in a relationship that’s perfect. Things will go wrong. You can fail because a foundation of trust and understanding allows for resiliency.”

In addition to the video keynotes and array of virtual booths on the exhibit floor, six Leading Edge webcasts were presented during the day, with topics from best practices in marketing automation and CRM to lead qualification tips and tricks, accelerating revenue, lead nurturing and content marketing.

Leading Edge attracted more than 2,300 registrants.

Virtual events and webcasting company ON24, which provided the platform technology for the event, was one of numerous exhibitors occupying booths on the virtual exhibition floor. Other exhibitors included Aprimo, Bizo, Bulldog Solutions, Business Marketing Association, Eloqua, eMedia, IDG Connect, LeadLife, Marketo, NitroMojo, Oceanos, Silverpop and Sirius Decisions.

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