The flywheel: the future of DTC and e-commerce marketing

In this week's blog post, we are thrilled to have collaborated with our advertising agency and digital growth experts, SOUP,  to bring you expert insight into the 'flywheel' approach and how to elevate your brand's e-commerce marketing. SOUP "build brilliant consumer brands, by shrinking the gap between acquisition costs and lifetime value".



Things have changed in the world of DTC and e-commerce over the last two years. There’s been the P word. Rising costs. Platform changes. But how does the landscape look now, and what opportunities are there for brands to get themselves out there and in front of new eyes? 


We believe that the way forward is to position customers right at the centre of everything you do. Traditional marketing and sales funnels have your customer forced through stages and dropped out at the end, seeing their experience commodified and taken for granted. 


That’s why we subscribe to the flywheel approach. It sees your whole business and outlook focus entirely on moving customers from being strangers, to prospects and customers, and finally onto promoters (which we’ll come onto later.)


The flywheel itself is split into three distinct stages, each designed for the stage of the journey that your customer is in:



You need to earn your audience’s attention, not force it. Your audience at this point are strangers, or have heard of you through word of mouth at the most. 


This should be led by value-driven content, designed purely to solve a problem for your potential customers. Where do they hang out? What is it they’re concerned about or experiencing issues with? This is where your energy should be focused, rather than hammering sales messaging.



Your audience now knows about you. Brill. But what are you doing to nurture those relationships? Engaging your potential customers at this stage should all be about creating that bond and positioning your brand front and centre of their mind for later on. 


Email marketing and personalising your channels are absolutely huge to nailing this stage. 



Your job here is to help your customers achieve their goals which, ideally, are buying your products or signing up for your services. That means removing any barrier they could ever think of and making that brand experience the best it could be.


Delighting your audience is all about customer service before, during and after their purchase, as well as mechanisms such as loyalty programmes to keep them coming back and feeling like part of your community.


The higher the level of delight, the more likely you are to increase your lifetime value metrics, referral rates and brand reputation.

Let’s take an example of a brand through this process:


You’re a vitamin gummies brand who specialise in supplements for people who are into fitness, whether they’re casual gym goers or marathon runners. Your customers are typically 18-45, and generally lead busy lives, fitting fitness in around their other responsibilities and goals. 


If we map this to the flywheel, we can see the stages broken down by what the customer needs at that point in time:



Here we can focus on content that provides value to this audience. We could create a quiz which determines their fitness and activity level, type of exercise, goals and physical condition. 


From this we can provide our audience with a tailor-made report on each of these aspects, with recommendations for food, stretching and mindset, as well as lighter touch mentions of vitamins and minerals that they should be concentrating on.


This free resource shows the audience that not only do we have authority in this area, but that we care about their fitness journey. This places the customer at the centre of our focus, rather than pushing product before finding a need.



Here is where our quiz really helps us out. Each aspect of its makeup and the questions we’ve asked help to create customer profiles, which can form segments for us to email with nuanced messaging and advice. 


If our potential customer is training for a triathlon, we can segment them into a group with similar-minded people, and send them nutrition, training and motivational content. We have not only personalised their experience, but are nurturing our relationship. If they need vitamins as part of their training, we’re the people for them.



As they start looking to buy our products, we need to turn our attention to delighting them. Is our audience on certain social platforms? There are big fitness communities on Instagram and TikTok, so our presence and customer service offer needs to be all over these. Make your FAQs as accessible as possible, and offer a way to reach out where your audience are natives. 


We can really go the extra mile here. As part of the quiz, let’s gather when they are doing their triathlon. In the run up we can send motivation, on the day a good luck message, then afterwards a discount to say well done and to get themselves something for recovery. Did they do it as part of a group? Let’s get them some referral codes for their friends to spread the word!

The flywheel is designed to not only move your customers towards a purchase by providing value and a personalised experience, but also to create advocates for your brand. 


90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (up from 86% in 2017). (Stackla) There is nothing more authentic than your customers reviewing and talking about your brand through user generated content (UGC).


This compound effect also means you get more bang for your buck in your marketing efforts too. Ads with UGC generate 5x greater click-through-rates and drives a 73% increase in email click-through-rates too. (Salesforce)


The more your audience shouts about you, the faster your flywheel spins. 

Get started now with our free marketing flywheel quiz. We’ll tell you where you are right now, and where you need to focus your efforts to get yours spinning.

Contact Details

+44 (0)330 1330 260

Unit G2, Mill 3, Pleasley Vale Business Park, Outgang Lane, Pleasley Vale, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire NG19 8RL