Forget The Funnel

Great digital marketing is actually like a Jet Engine.

When engineered properly, a good digital marketing jet engine (aka Marketing Technology Stack, comprised of several connected marketing technologies) can become mostly automated, highly optimized, and ramps up proportional to your adspend.

Instead of a funnel, traffic is moved thru a series of marketing technologies that act as way to attract, segment, and sell your target demographic.

Using best practices across every marketing silo, and connecting them in the most effect arrangement, I’ve found that there is only way to best handle your growth marketing: build an engine.

Step 1: Ads that send cold traffic into your engine

Step 2: Content that adds value to a potential buyer

Step 3: Lead Magnets that offer potential buyers a reason to share their email

Step 4: Emails that use sales copy to drive sales.

Using this approach is the only way to systematically validate your marketing approach and pick the best technologies to make it work. Best of all, it is an elegant model for a very chaotic industry.

I think it might be the general principle that governs all of digital marketing.

Choosing The Right Marketing Technologies

The modern marketing technology stack is like series of inter-connected components; one piece must not slow down another. And if one piece doesn’t work, the whole thing doesn’t work. And much like a jet engine, it’s a highly efficient way to use fuel (adspend) to achieve thrust (sales).

With over 5,000 marketing technologies, those without a underlying strategy get lost and lose the market opportunity. It’s simply too many technologies to guess and pick. Instead, use the “Jet Engine Process” to determine which piece you need to focus on.

It all depends what your customer wants. Selling people in a way they don’t expect it is the best way to waste money. So knowing the customer’s psychology right before they see any piece of your digital marketing collateral is very important online. This will limit the scope of your marketing strategies potential breadth by up 90%.

First, Pick The Best Strategy

Are you selling shoes? Or business services? Or maybe a new piece of educational software? Depending on what you are selling and to whom, you’ll have to pick from at least 186 possible marketing strategies I’ve identified.

Using my jet engine framework, I’ve found there are 186 major variations (or styles) of marketing engine. Quickly knowing what’s best to work on will guide your growth marketing initiative and take 90% of options off the table- as they will most likely wast your time and money.


First, know what social platform to make content for. There are 7 major social ad platforms that I consider in my frame work:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. Google
  5. Pinterest
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Youtube

Pick the 1 or 2 platforms that best enable you to profitably target your customer. Owning 1 platform is how you’ll get acquisition costs that will let you generate meaningful revenues, versus filling your bandwidth up by running too many tests across too many platforms and never really hitting a vein.

Regarding demographic variables, I look at:

  • geography
  • age
  • keywords

Then consider the medium for each platform, the native language your ads must use to reach maximum conversion rates:

  1. Facebook: Blog Posts
  2. Instagram: Personal Motivational
  3. Twitter: 1-on-1 Conversations
  4. Google: Purchasing Information
  5. Pinterest: Project Inspiration
  6. LinkedIn: Sales Information
  7. Youtube: DIY Information

If you disagree or I am wrong, you need only study each platform and consider what format of content gets the most engagement at scale.


There are 6 major types of content that convert online:

  1. FAQ
  2. User Testimonials
  3. Case Studies

Then the magic starts.

Building your “Jet Engine” is an iterative process. And the speed it is setup is determined by the many things, but it comes down to being good with the soft art of sales and technical science of data analytics. Which, for a poet-turned-physics graduate, this comes easier.

When it comes to choosing your marketing technology pieces, it’s important to note that there are simply best practices in everything “marketing silo:”

  • pay-per-click social media marketing
  • content marketing
  • email marketing

It’s not about doing one really well, it’s about doing them all pretty well. The traffic has to flow through your engine, ignite, and be channeled properly (ads -> content -> emails) to get the highest ROI.

Knowing the best practices in every silo and every social platform will instantly tell you whether or not a marketing technology should even be demo’d. A “beautiful” website that loads slowly or doesn’t respond well to mobile traffic will cost you sales.

If you don’t know what to look for, it’s almost impossible to pick the best marketing tech because there’s new ones everyone quarter.

And this is where most marketing departments fall short. They have great staff to run operations, but the strategy is often outdated. This is in part because of the myths that big agencies use to convince corporate clients to pay their overhead (like the notion that a website should cost a lot, or that you need to create all original content for your social platforms, or that you need huge ad budgets).

Historically, I’ve made great strides with ad budgets as little as $1,000 a month.

How could it work for you?

For every client I’ve ever had, there was always a research and development period, a rapid prototyping period, and optimization period.

Research And Development

With new marketing tech launching every quarter, there’s always a need to search for the latest and greatest. In fact, with so much competition, existing companies have to launch new features just to maintain their positions, so a tech that wasn’t great a year ago could become the winner tomorrow.

Rapid Prototyping

Then comes the rapid prototyping, testing a multitude of non-linear ideas. Stacking as many hypothesis into every test that I can manage. This is where I find out who your buyer is and what drives them. Then I figure out what’s the best way to engage them.


Finally, we put it all together and iteratively optimize each piece. Then we’ll build another engine while revisiting old engines to optimize