Marketing is essentially getting someone that has a need to know, like and trust you. Of course then you must turn that know, like, and trust into try, buy, repeat and refer.

That my friends is the entire practice of marketing summed up in seven little words that make up what I call The Marketing Hourglass.TM

The idea behind the hourglass is that you look at each of the seven stages and intentionally plan products, services, processes and touches that logically move prospects along to the point where they become customers and then receive such a remarkable customer experience they become repeat customers and referral advocates. I talk a great deal about building your hourglass in my book The Referral Engine.

If you do nothing but spend the time to fill in the blanks in each of the stages in the infographic below you will be miles ahead in your thinking about a simple, yet powerful approach to your marketing. Feel free to print, share and use the graphic to help build your marketing hourglass

Click on the image to enlarge and get a bird’s eye view of your entire marketing machine.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Allow me to be the first to comment on how freaktastically awesome this is. We spend so much time throwing around big buzzwords that seven simple words could very well change one’s business life.

    Great stuff!

    • Thanks Dave I need to figure out how to work freaktastically into the mix too though!

  • I think the hour glass represents a win-win situation between the business owner and the customer. In marketing, customer relationship should always be given much regard. Great insights, keep it up!

    • The best way to view clients is with the model of a strong relationship. For long term viability everyone has to benefit in some way.

  • Ptuccy

    Thanks for providing, John. I recently thought back about my most successful business customer relationships over the years, in terms of what made them really work. Succinctly put, it started with trust in me and all else flowed-on very naturally from there… The hourglass provides reinforcement and a reminder.

    • Trust is the currency of referrals

  • Thank you John for sharing this “power tool” on the page and allowing us to share and use as well. The combination of simplicity, process definition and strong complimentary graphics make this invaluable.

    • You are welcome David – it’s a model that we need to start teaching in grad schools I think!

      • I agree and I am throwing in middle school because laying the foundation at that pivot point in a student’s Vocational Identity development. It is what I do and they “get it” —then it is OK to put the M in M.B.A —I love “refer”

        No More Funnels !No More Funnels! (I jest, use the right model at the right time.)

  • Jan

    Love this hourglass model, and your reminder to provide a remarkable customer experience. The marketing funnel is tired and outdated!

    • So often the problem with the funnel is you have to keep paying to keep it full – in this model you could eventually come to the point where all of your business was by way of referral.

  • Chris Yeh

    I especially like how you make “Try” the neck of the hourglass. In the end, that is the bottleneck. All the awareness and relationship-building in the world can’t overcome a poor trial experience.

    • Agreed and even worse most companies don’t even have a way to try.

  • Excellent stuff once again Dave. Thanks for your commitment to helping.

  • [email protected]

    Great Stuff! It is a lesson for marketing people that think getting the check and moving on is how you promote and continue a solid business practice.

  • The image speaks a lot, thanks for sharing me this wonderful post.

  • I think you have missed some words, such as, understand, listen, approach. Hope this helps… Just got in my mind while reading this post.

  • This is a fantastic image and it is almost like we all need a lobotomy if we have been at this for awhile to get the new basics to sink in. The funnel needs to go so true! i agree with the comment on Try too that is key.

  • Thanks for the high quality informations provided, you have made a really good work explaining so many things in a single blog post !
    Internet marketing Company

  • Done, done, and printed. Awesome John! Thanks. 🙂

  • olavea

    Loved your book. Listened to it skiing in the mountains of Norway.

  • I absolutely love this simple definition and overview of what marketing/selling is. I have used the terms Know, Like and Trust for a while to describe selling. However, Your additional really completes the picture. This is a genius way of stating the complex. I will save this and use this for years. Thanks for the gold nugget.

    • You bet Cindy – I’ve given 3 hr marketing workshops in the past and have had hundreds of people tell me that this one thought made marketing finally make complete sense.

  • Great article.