The Asymmetric Marketing Engine

I love visual models of complex ideas. I’m a visual thinker, and I tend to understand things better when I can see them. This framework, the Asymmetric Marketing Engine, is a valuable tool for visualizing and understanding the marketing process.

Marketing is rife with models and concepts - many of which, when compared, are contradictory and either too complex or too shallow. My military training leads me to believe that models should be as simple as possible and resonate with the knowledge and understanding from empirical evidence and experience.

So, in the interest of creating a unified model that supports our mission to empower, enable, and energize small businesses, we have created the “Asymmetric Marketing Engine.” Asymmetric marketing consists of applying principles of asymmetric warfare to business, using unique tactics to help smaller businesses compete against larger, more firmly entrenched competitors.

The Asymmetric Marketing Engine

This model borrows from others' ideas, and there is probably not a lot of new information here. It is just our way of illustrating the various elements of marketing processes and how they are interrelated.

The customer journey is a well-trodden path and has been written about in detail elsewhere. Two ideas can highlight our view on the customer journey: 1) that the customer journey and the funnel are tightly connected and directly related, and 2) that the customer journey certainly doesn’t end with the sale.

The funnel also does not end with the sale. Here is a traditional funnel:

The Old-School Marketing Funnel

The Asymmetric marketing funnel articulates that the funnel doesn’t end with the sale. On the contrary, the sale is the funnel's middle stage, and much is to be done post-sale. This is true whether the company sells a software subscription, a service, or a product.

The flywheel is a version popular with the HubSpot crowd. It shows the customer at the center with three stages that continually rotate around the customer. These three stages—attract (find new prospects and leads), engage (convert to customers), and delight (provide excellent service)—can be matched up with the customer journey and the funnel.

Small businesses often face the challenge of competing against a larger, apparently superior adversary. By leveraging the principles of asymmetric marketing, they can use unconventional tactics to level the playing field and succeed in the marketplace.

The Asymmetric Marketing Engine

One way to look at this is that the following relationships exist:

  1. The customer is always at the center of everything that the company does. Being customer-centric is principle #1.
  2. The journey stage of awareness is related to the funnel stages of prospect and lead.
  3. The journey stage of consideration is related to the funnel stages of marketing qualified and sales-qualified leads.
  4. These first two journey stages (and their related funnel stages) drive the attract element of the flywheel.
  5. The journey stage of the decision is related to the funnel stages of opportunity and new customer (sale).
  6. The journey stage of retention is related to the funnel stages of casual and repeat customers.
  7. These second two journey stages drive the engage element of the flywheel.
  8. The journey stage of expansion is related to multi-line customers and full-spectrum customers.
  9. The journey stage of advocacy is related to loyal customers and advocates.
  10. These last two journey stages drive the delight element of the flywheel.

These relationships are not absolute, and some overlap in certain instances. But, the relationships are pretty well aligned and the model withstands examination and criticism. An asymmetric marketing team leverages these principles to disrupt traditional marketing approaches and differentiate themselves from established competitors.

The power of these three components shown together in the Asymmetric Marketing Engine, with their relationships illustrated, is that each informs a unique perspective and a set of principles and values that cover the vast majority of marketing, sales, and service activities. This forms a robust business strategy to compete effectively in the marketplace.

The customer journey illustrates the path that the consumer or customer follows. It illustrates a linear progression of thought that they go through as they engage with the company and its products or services. Growth tactics are essential in finding new and different ways to reach target audiences, addressing the limitations of traditional marketing.

The funnel illustrates how the company thinks about the consumer or customer as they interact and attempt to capture (and deliver) as much value as possible in the relationship.

The flywheel imparts the understanding that continuing to do the right things at the right times, often through unconventional tactics, will result in a virtuous cycle that creates momentum for the business.

We work with small businesses because we strongly believe they are our economy's heart and soul. They create tremendous innovation, service, and value in the lives of their owners, employees, vendors, and customers. We also know that these small businesses are challenged by the reality that they often compete day-to-day against larger adversaries with substantially more resources. Small businesses are in a perpetually unfair and unbalanced fight to succeed. Our mission is to work with small businesses to provide them with asymmetric tools, concepts, principles, processes, and insights to help them survive and thrive.

This Asymmetric Marketing Engine is a framework we use to illustrate and capture all of the core elements necessary for a small business to thrive in its sales, marketing, and service processes.

Use the Asymmetric Marketing Engine in Your Business

Asymmetric, led by former Army Delta Force operator and corporate executive Mark Hope, can help you implement these ideas in your business. You can contact Mark by email at, or by telephone at +1 866-389-4746, or you can schedule a complimentary strategy discussion by clicking here.  You can read all of his articles on Medium.

Mark Hope - Asymmetric

Mark Hope

Mark A. Hope is a co-founder and Partner of Asymmetric Marketing – a unique agency specializing in building high-performing sales and marketing systems, campaigns, processes, and strategies for small businesses. Asymmetric has extensive experience with organizations across many industry segments. If you would like some help in implementing ideas like these in this article, feel free to give Mark a call at 844-494-6903 or by email at Read Mark's other work on Medium.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top