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The 4+1 Marketing Funnel Model - The Customer Centric Model

The 4+1 Marketing Funnel Model - The Customer Centric Model

funnel May 26, 2021

By Nick Bottai - Co-Founder/Director @ The Marketing Leaders Ltd.

A friend’s feedback is always taken into consideration. Does your company use it? 

  • Recap
  • What is +1
  • Why +1?
  • Case study



In the last few weeks, Andrea spoke about the funnel, what it is, what model he uses and why, showcasing some examples.

It is normally presented as a sequence of stages, however, the funnel is not a linear model. Every marketer must think about its complications.

Moreover, you can find funnels with 7 stages and even more. Some of them are represented as “hourglasses”. The reason for this is simple: every marketer tries adapting to the current company/environment in the best way.

I must admit I tried to use 5, 6 and 7 stage funnels. In the end, they are a level of sophistication that, in my experience, increases the complexity. And I’d like to keep things simple. For example, what are the benefits of splitting the “interest” stage into “interest” and “evaluation”? I didn’t find any.

After trying to understand and use different models, I always go back and use the classic and, in my opinion, most effective AIDA version (Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action).



There was something I found interesting.

What do we do when a lead becomes a customer?

Where does this lead go, and how does the company deal with the new customer?



A company spends resources to create branding, generate leads, convert them into customers. And then? I faced this issue in early 2000, and I’m sure, if you follow me, you probably already know what I’m going to say.

What did we do before buying something when we had NO internet, no reviews, no websites? We asked friends!

If we had a good experience with a product, we shared it during meals, chitchat, friendly conversations.

I’m speaking about the old and never dead “Word of Mouth”.

But then the internet came, and almost every marketer focused on data and analyses. And what about the old “Word of Mouth”? Did it lose its power? Companies like TripAdvisor, booking, Trustpilot, Google, Facebook, Apple and more know its power and added this feature in their products.

I said I faced this matter in early 2000, and here it is.

I was working for a friendly environment motorsport dealer. I noticed how customers often brought a friend to the premises to show them how “cool” the place was. I started to think: what about if we amplify this? What about if our customers can at the same time share their experience using the web? I drafted a strategy to nurture the customers and incentivise them into speaking about us. As part of the strategy, we involved a few clubs and partnered with them in organising events and trips.

This was the very first time I thought about adding the +1 to the AIDA model.


WHY +1?

I could have called it a 5 stage funnel. I prefer 4+1, and the reason is simple.

I split the customer acquisition from the brand advocacy strategy, and it’s still a funnel because not every customer will become a brand advocate while they also help the top stage of the funnel.


The +1 stage deals with customers, nurtures them, provides assistance, upsells, cross-sells and, more crucially, cuddles them. I prefer this way because the customer needs a different approach and wants separate information. The customer's journey is different from the buyer's journey, and the +1 stage helps me in keeping them separated.

The strategy is not aimed to sell but to stay in contact with the customer,

receiving his feedback on how we can improve the product or the service, what we could have done better during the journey. The data collected helps to improve the other stages of the funnel, and ultimately, the customer becomes a brand advocate, bringing more customers to the top funnel and raising the conversion rate.

It requires many touchpoints, stages, assets, teams and so on to be effective, and when it's properly done, its impact on the ROI could be incredible.


Case Study

I used the +1 stage to start the strategy working on a business that already operates and has a customer base. The client needed to relaunch the business with limited resources.

We needed results in the short term and there was no margin for error.

I decided to invest the majority of the resources in rebranding, creating all the assets and setting the touchpoints throughout the funnel's journey. The resources left didn’t allow us to initiate a proper awareness campaign, so we started contacting the customers and literally activated the +1 stage.

This allowed us to fill the funnel, generating recommendations which in turn generated a high conversion rate that allowed the business to start producing revenues, some of which we reinvested in the campaign. The more customers we had, the better the +1 efficiency was, with a cascade effect on business and strategy. As soon as we had enough resources, we activated a new touchpoint.

After three years, the business hit the x3 revenue target.