Bowtie Marketing

For many years, the idea of the sales funnel (or sales pipeline) has been accepted as a core principle in formulating successful marketing strategies. But, whilst it is a valuable concept in itself, it fails to cover the full scope and nature of the most valuable interactions between a business and its customers. The approach is primarily focused at considering how new customers are acquired, without any recognition of the fact that business from existing customers is typically substantially more valuable, and invariably significantly less expensive – according to many industry experts by a multiple of seven to ten.

However, another core principle of marketing is to optimise customer lifetime value (CLV), which outlines the means by which profit is earned over the duration of a customer’s relationship with a business. A new model is suggested as a more valuable analogy that combines both these elements, and which we refer to as the ‘Bowtie Marketing’ model.

Sales funnel

The idea of the sales funnel is that the people you market to move through successive stages down through a pipeline. The AIDA model explains the process well. At the outset – represented by its widest part– there is awareness amongst potential customers that they have a want or a need, and as a result of media activity (such as pay per click (PPC) advertising, social media promotion, email marketing or search engine optimisation (SEO), for instance) have become aware of your business. The next stage in the process is an expression of interest, where the customer makes contact with you in some appropriate manner, and starts to ask questions and/or request additional information, after which comes their desire to buy, which then leads to action in the form of a purchase of your product or service. And so the bottom end of the sales funnel is reached.

The entire global population can conceivably enter your funnel. However, it is normal to create customer segments and personas that allow you to target your marketing efforts towards suspect customers who display common types of demographic and psychographic traits that you feel represent your target market accurately. It is only when suspects make contact, such as by visiting your website, that they turn from a suspect into a prospect. The further down the funnel they go, the warmer a prospect they become.

The job of marketing is first to get as many people as possible into the top of the funnel, then, in turn, to persuade as many of them as possible to move through each successive stage until they make a purchase. It, therefore, starts with a marketing strategy to secure the attention of the greatest possible number of potential customers. Within the overall population, likely groups of buyers are identified through customer segmentation, and messages refined with the help of customer personas. A suitable mix of marketing tools is then deployed: an appealing website (optimised for search engine using SEO), social media, email, PR, digital advertising, conferences and exhibitions, etc., according to your organisation’s specific needs, articulated in your business plan and sales forecasts. This marketing activity might be backed up by tactical initiatives designed to be specific to prospects moving down through the various stages of the funnel.

We often talk to our clients about customer touch points – be they digital or physical in nature – that occur during the sales process, and how crucial it is to deliver a consistent brand experience at every single point of contact. The only way to achieve such consistency is to have a clear brand proposition in place so that an organisation’s sales and marketing efforts reflect its desired vision and values. This ensures that all communications encompass the right attitude and tone of voice and that behaviour is in line with agreed principles and standards.

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Before we talk more about the bowtie marketing, let’s take a quick look at customer lifetime value (CLV)

A customer who has made an initial purchase can be thought of as an adopter. The marketing need here is to affirm their decision to buy, and perhaps to seek information that will enable the business to refine its marketing efforts further in future. It’s the perfect opportunity to request feedback about their buying experience and to try and find out what swung their decision to buy the product from your organisation. Think about how successful internet businesses such as Amazon and eBay follow up every sale with a thank you message or a congratulatory note, followed by a request for a review of the purchase and/or feedback on the brand experience. The good news is that you can do the same, easily and cheaply, using today’s modern technologies. The primary investment is in planning and set-up. After that, it is all about ongoing maintenance and management.

If adopters are nurtured, some will become loyalists, returning to make additional purchases. These could be repeat sales of the same product or service, the cross-sale purchase of complementary products or services, or upselling them to a better solution or package to suit their needs. Their loyalty could be encouraged and rewarded through offers unavailable to the broader public, such as are offered by Tesco to their Club Card customers, for example. As a result, some of these loyalists may become advocates, which means that they are happy to give favourable mentions to the business and its products in their interactions with others – interactions which are amplified enormously these days through social media sharing. At the righthand edge of the bowtie model are your ultimate customers: ambassadors. These are super-advocates who actively promote your brand, their opinions being widely shared and respected, even to the extent of going viral. They are as valuable to your business as you or any of your colleagues, perhaps more so: independent voices who eulogise about your products and services to their friends and online followers, all of whom are more likely to trust their judgement than a clever marketing campaign. You can ask your customers to provide referrals at this point in the model, as long as it is perceived to be a win-win scenario for both the referrer and the referee. As you would expect, the number of people in each group gets successively less further to the right of the bowtie knot you go. On this side of the bow, the widening out represents an increase in the relative value of individual customers.

Bowtie marketing

The bowtie marketing model doesn’t dispense with the sales funnel, nor does it disregard customer lifetime value (CLV). Instead, the funnel is turned on its side and a second funnel to represent CLV marketing is added as a mirror image. The bottom of the sales funnel becomes the knot in the centre of the bowtie, which is the point at which a new customer first makes a purchase. Everything to the left of the knot is as it was for the funnel, but to the right is a description of the ongoing relationship between you and your customer reflecting the CLV proposition.

While the sales funnel is focused on gaining and converting as many new customers as possible on an ongoing basis, the bowtie model puts equal emphasis on developing relationships with existing customers. This is surely common sense, given how much more expensive it normally is to win new customers against making further sales to existing ones. But all around us are examples of businesses who seem entirely focused on the former. How often have you seen a company offer better deals to new customers than to existing ones? In the service sector particularly, where by definition an ongoing relationship of some sort between the provider and the customer exists, rewarding loyalty seems to have gone out of the window (think car insurance or heating supplier, for example). Consumers are urged by independent experts to leave the poor value deals they’re getting from their existing provider in favour of sign-up incentives on offer elsewhere. They may check with their existing provider, to see if the better terms available elsewhere can be matched. Surprise, surprise, they often can be, but this begs the question: “Why didn’t you offer me this deal in the first place…?!”

This type of scenario is indicative of great attention being paid to the sales funnel by many organisations whilst lip service is being paid to dealing ethically with existing customers – in fact, the aim seems to be to fleece rather than to flourish. What is obviously needed is a more holistic approach, as is suggested by the bowtie marketing principle. At least as much attention should be paid to a business’s churn rate – the rate at which it loses customers – as on sales figures, to ensure that all the effort expended on winning customers in the first place is optimised down the line.

Ultimately, customers stay with businesses they trust to offer not just good products or services, but also to have their best interests at heart. Genuine relationships always transcend the mere transactional to become emotional ones, where a customer feels the brand is integral to their lives (you probably know people who profess they would cease to function without their iPhone…).

In some ways, the bowtie marketing model harkens back to the days when personal service was paramount (ironically enough, to a time when more people wore bow ties…). With the advent of mass production and mass marketing, perhaps the personal connection was lost – in truth if not in intent – and perhaps the sales funnel was the best model available to many organisations. Now, thanks to exciting new technologies, we can take advantage of CRM systems and marketing automation to genuinely connect with people as individuals. This enterprising approach to business is not just for the likes of Amazon, Apple and eBay – the bowtie marketing model is an option for every single organisation around the world – and that includes SMEs and start-ups too.

Keep up to date

The world of bowtie marketing changes all the time. To keep up to date with all the latest news is almost impossible, but you can keep on top of things by following us on social media – TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn. If you would like to have a conversation with us about bowtie marketing, please contact Stephen Brown on 020 7795 8175 or – you can also visit our website at to find out more.

How to generate reviews from your sampling campaign

Product sampling campaigns are potentially the simplest, and most cost-effective way to generate awareness for your brand, and the item you’re trying to sell. One of the most significant benefits of these marketing strategies is that they allow you to generate more reviews and testimonials from your audience.

As many companies already know, reviews can be the key to creating trust in customers that have yet to sample your services for themselves. But how can you make sure that you’re creating a product sampling strategy that lends itself to increased review numbers?

Assess your audience

Before you even start considering the products that you might have available for an effective sampling campaign, you’ll need to make sure that you know the people you’re marketing yourself to. This will help to ensure that you’re directing your attention towards more engaged recipients, and in turn, this should mean that you can access better results.

Look at the goals you set for your business when you began considering a product sampling strategy. The chances are that you wanted to raise awareness of your brand with at least one target audience. Ask yourself what you need to know about that audience before you start putting your campaign into practice.

For instance, do they respond better to certain items in your portfolio? If so, then you can focus on giving away the free samples that people in your network appreciate most.

The happier a customer is with the sample they receive, the more likely they are to write a review on your behalf.

Choose the right products

Once you know which audience you’re going to appeal to, make sure that you’re selecting the products that best lend themselves to reviews.

For instance, customers are far less likely to purchase a product they know nothing about. If you’re concerned about raising attention for a new product, try giving people free samples to generate trustworthy reviews for future prospects.

It might also be worth thinking about how you can tie your products in with trending topics and issues in the marketplace. This will help to make your brand more conversation-worthy and could enhance the chances that your customers will want to talk about you on social media when they have the chance.

Remember, reach out to your customers and ask them for reviews after they’ve had their sample. People are much more likely to give something back to a brand that has already offered them something of value, thanks to a psychological need for reciprocity.

The post How to generate reviews from your sampling campaign appeared first on Hotcow.

Conversation LAB Wins Darling and Frika

South Africa and UK – Adding to its recent Kinky Hair win, creative agency Conversation LAB now adds two new leading hair brands, Darling and Frika, to its growing female hair care portfolio.

Conversation LAB is now the digital agency of record across the complete stable of dry hair brands for Godrej, which ranks among the largest hair care players globally.

Darling, the best-selling dry hair brand in Africa, has operations in 14 countries, whilst Frika, also hair extensions and wigs, enjoys a premium positioning in the South African market and is the market leader in key accounts in organised retail.

Prashant Chako, head of marketing for Africa, speaking from Dubai, said: “We enjoy a close strategic partnership with the team at Conversation LAB which is fully entrenched in the world of ethnic hair. The agency has been leading the full portfolio of digital activity for Godrej wet hair brands, Inecto and Renew, for the past three years, delivering exceptional results and winning awards. So, it was the natural choice to appoint Conversation LAB as agency of record for our dry hair portfolio, including Darling, Frika and Kinky”.

The agency will be responsible for developing, implementing and tracking a multi-layered digital eco-system for both brands including management and development of all content across a range of social media platforms, websites and mobile sites, fully optimised for the huge search market as well as influencer engagement. It will offer a full end-to-end digital solution for Godrej SA’s dry hair care portfolio.

Commenting on the new business win, Samantha Hewitson, account director at Conversation LAB said: “Research constantly shows that the hair care category in Africa is one of the most competitive consumer businesses, and we at Conversation LAB are always up for a challenge. We are excited about continuing to grow market share for both Darling and Frika and further entrench them as household names on the continent”.

The post Conversation LAB Wins Darling and Frika appeared first on Conversation LAB.

4 Social Media Trends to Follow in 2018


By Christina Sirabella, Junior Copywriter

Long gone are the days when simple text or image updates made for effective social content. As new technologies emerge and online demographics shift, tactics that worked five years ago ― or even one year ago ― are rapidly becoming obsolete. So, to keep your brand content on the cutting edge, here are some trends to stay ahead of as we look to 2018:

1. Live Streaming

It’s no secret that video has become essential to any marketing strategy in the past few years, but live streaming is the most recent video application to take social media by storm. Between current devices’ increased streaming capabilities and the continued focus on video content, live streaming has already grown tremendously. Currently, live videos are broadcast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Tumblr ― but with 82% of audiences preferring live video to social posts, expect this tactic to gain even more prominence next year.

2. Augmented and Virtual Reality

This year, an estimated 40 million people in the U.S. have engaged with some form of augmented reality at least monthly. With its lens features and real-time virtual camera effects, Snapchat has made the biggest push into this sphere. Mobile gaming applications like Pokémon Go have dabbled in AR as well, but in 2018 the widespread availability of AR and VR will create new opportunities for marketers to make their content on social platforms more interactive as well as engaging.

3. Chatbots and Messaging

Personalization is key in the current social media landscape, especially with regards to messaging. Two billion messages are sent each month between people and businesses through chatbots, which are relatively simple AI interfaces specializing in natural language processing ― think Siri or Cortana, but less sophisticated. They live on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and provide an automated but (ideally) satisfying way for companies to answer individuals’ questions or provide information. When done right, bots allow businesses to message audiences in a more immediate way, on a more personalized level, at scale. For brands, messaging apps have mostly been for early adopters till now, but expect that to change in 2018.

4. Influencer Marketing

It’s imperative for brands to access and tap into consumer trust, and one of the best ways to do that is through influencer marketing. 45% of online shoppers say they are influenced by the opinions of others, and 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising. In 2018, more brands will partner with influencers and embrace this tactic across channels as a more authentic way to build customer relationships.


What social media trends do you expect to see in 2018? Share in the comments, or contact Likeable Media to find out how we can transform your social media strategy in the new year.

We respect your privacy.

Thank you!

Always want to know what’s around the corner?

Us too!

It’s why Magnafi are looking for a Director of Content Strategy. Someone who shares our passion for exploring the evolution of film; challenging its conventions and continually searching out what’s next.

We imagine you’ll have the very latest technology, audience and platform data at your fingertips. You’ll be an incredibly resourceful researcher using an array of digital tools and desk research to mine for insights that blow the brains of creative teams. You’re a storming presenter; able to weave stories and generate excitement in the room from even the driest data. You’re someone who doesn’t shy away from delivering the tough news to clients and is confident challenging even the most deeply held beliefs. You’re someone who loves to take on a wide ranging brief, meticulously breaking it down and driving the work forward yourself rather than simply delegating. You’ll think of yourself more scientist than creative but know that the two go hand in glove. You’ll be a natural leader too – someone who enjoys nurturing a team and leads by example.

Magnafi is part of the MMI Group; the largest portfolio of content strategy and film production companies in Northern England (UK). We combine a full strategic agency set up with the largest TV commercial and content production engine outside London incorporating a studio complex & post-production facilities. You’ll work side by side with film directors, technologists, producers, designers, documentary makers, creatives, digital planners, motion graphics artists to name just a few.  It’s an unusual collection of skills all under one roof but it’s a set-up which our clients absolutely love.

And to continue to lead in this space, we recruit on a strong set of values born from a collective pride, ambition and inventiveness. Our shared ethos means we can run through walls together. The first question is always – are you with us?

If this hits you in the heart as well as the head then send us your cv or up to date Linkedin profile to

We encourage applications from those seeking return to work, part time or flexible working arrangements and candidates from diverse backgrounds. International applications are welcome with relocation packages available.

The post Always want to know what’s around the corner? appeared first on Magnafi.

Conversation LAB goes back to school with Hilton College

Conversation LAB goes back to school with Hilton College

Conversation LAB have been appointed by Hilton College, one of the most prestigious private boys’ schools in the country, to design and build their new website and consult on their digital strategy. Hilton is a traditional all-boys private boarding school, who pride themselves on remaining contemporary and innovative within the educational space.

This win adds to the impressive collection of academic institutions that Conversation LAB currently works with. These include several brands from the ADvTECH Group – Varsity College, The Business School, Vega, Rosebank College, University of Africa – as well as globally recognised International Hotel School.

The scope of work covers all website activity: management, art direction and photography, search (SEO) and content management, UX, and analytics. The agency has also assisted in Social Media strategy.

Headmaster George Harris commented: “Conversation LAB was recommended to us through our network and we were impressed by their education sector credentials, as well as their design and development capabilities. We have full confidence that they are the right choice to help define our digital strategy.”

Conversation LAB UX Lead, James Murray, stated: “In a highly competitive education sector, a
website, or Facebook page, is often the first interaction that the prospect has with the school. It’s now more important than ever that the user experience is seamless and that a school’s website demonstrates the why and the how the school is the best in class.”

Conversation LAB, which is headquartered in Durban, recently expanded into Johannesburg, Cape Town and London.

For more information, contact Kevin Power at Conversation LAB.

031 536 3412 / 071 340 3119

The post Conversation LAB goes back to school with Hilton College appeared first on Conversation LAB.