The Bow Tie Funnel

The Bow Tie Funnel is a reimagination of the traditional marketing funnel. This modern marketing funnel includes the pre-purchase stages that a customer goes through when deciding to buy from a company and the post-sale stages of the customer journey.

The traditional funnel represents an antiquated marketing mindset of volume and attrition. Today’s modern marketers now understand that approaching business from a customer’s point of view delivers more valuable experiences for both customers and employees.

The Beauty of the Bow Tie Funnel

isn’t the pre-purchase and the post-purchase journeys, though. The feedback loop sits smack-dab in the center, demonstrating the importance of retention and getting customers to return to buy continually.


At the exact moment a customer makes a purchase, this event is pivotal as the buyer moves from acquisition fueled by dopamine-enhanced anticipation to positive/negative anticipation of retention. Literally, the moment the buy ends, the brain turns off the dopamine signals for that purchase. No longer is that buyer filled with anticipatory joy and reconciliation of StoryVesting comes to an end, but now the purchaser is shifting towards a new cycle of emotional and cognitive association. It’s here that you can fine tune your monetization strategy to meet those reconciliatory emotional and cognitive needs.

Questions to ask:

How does the purchase experience align with consumer expectations around your current pricing strategy?

Metrics to track at this stage:
  • Churn Rate
  • Social Metrics
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Checkout Experience Score


The adoption phase is where the customer gets onboarded with your product or service, and implements it into their lives. It’s in this stage that the customer starts to realize the true value of what your product or offering can deliver.

Questions to ask:

How do you showcase the value of the product after a purchase has been made?

Metrics to track at this stage:
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Churn Rate
  • Social Engagement Score
  • Net Promotor Score (NPS)


As your customer moves to becoming more loyal to your brand, they’re continuing to deepen their relationship with you by going beyond a simple repeat purchase. It’s in this phase where you can successfully upsell or cross-sell to your buyer.

Questions to ask:

What’s the catalyst for a buyer to make a second investment with your company?

Metrics to track at this stage:
  • Upgrade Rate
  • Repeat Purchase Rate (RPR)
  • Lifetime Value (LTV)


Your customer transitions to becoming and advocate as they readily and eagerly talk about your brand to others. This phase is ideal for driving social media engagement and gathering testimonials.

Questions to ask:

What are you doing to drive your buyer to share their experience with purchasing from your brand?

Metrics to track at this stage:
  • Referral Rate
  • Social Mentions
  • Social Share Rate
  • Active Engagement Rate (AER)

Brand Ambassador

The brand ambassador phase is where your customer promotes your brand as heavily as your employees (if not heavier). They’re truly vested in your story.

Questions to ask:

How are you thanking your brand ambassadors?

Metrics to track at this stage:
  • Social Share Rate
  • Social Engagement Score
  • Repeat Purchase Rate
  • Revenue Velocity

Bow Tie Funnel: A Focus on Growth and Retention

The modern marketing funnel isn’t comprised of four basic steps, nor does it stop when the first purchase is made. There are many complexities in the end-to-end customer experience, from prospect to buyer and beyond.

The bow tie funnel honors those complexities by getting down to the nuances of behavioral economics and creating strategic growth on the front end and sustainable loyalty on the back end. These two elements combined build out powerful, effective brand experiences and empower organizations to stay more relevant.

The focus on retention makes this funnel far more powerful than other traditional mechanical approaches to the customer experience. Baked in this funnel are behavioral trends and loyalty drivers that showcase the most important growth levers to pull through incremental changes to operational efficiencies.

It’s the End-to-End Customer Journey that Drives Growth

The path-to-loyalty is just as important, if not more important, than the path-to-purchase. Getting customers in the door is easy enough, but getting them to stay, tell their friends, and advocate for a brand is a different ball game.

In taking a proactive role to gather feedback and track the buyer’s experience from soup to nuts, organizations can slow churn and increase lifetime value (LTV) by identifying where there’s friction in the offerings and where there are holes in the products or services being rendered.

As a result, organizations are primed to exceed customer expectations and surge past the competition.

Frameworks to Guide Success Across Each Stage of the Bow Tie Funnel

StoryVesting Framework

The proprietary StoryVesting framework gets to the heart of what’s needed to develop exceptional brand experiences. By aligning customer and employee experiences, organizations can better match their why with the customer’s expectations and needs, increasing retention and improving the cognitive associations of the brand.

Empathy Mapping

Operating from an empathetic standpoint requires an insights-centric, irrefutable glimpse into the employee and customer’s thoughts, feelings, actions and words. Through empathy, organizations can take a more human-centered approach to developing product offerings and bringing them to market.

Transformative Alignment of the 3Ps

Analyzing the gaps in an organization’s people, processes and platforms allows teams to understand what’s missing and needed to drive transformation through closer alignment. When these three core elements come together effectively, the customer and employee experiences improve.

Advanced Data/Analytics Loops

By harnessing the data and analytics loops available today, companies can get a more sophisticated look at what’s happening in the organization and identify transformative opportunities. Through data and analytics, companies can better understand what the customer wants and needs and find innovative ways to meet those demands head-on.

Customer Experience (CX) Terms