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The power of feedback loops


Feedback loops in marketing is such a hidden gem.

But as with many complex systems, there are multiple subtopics to explore and simplify.

The most interesting aspect of it is that it is a system that changes by the actions of the past.

In other words: Building a system based on feedback loops is building a system that gets better tomorrow.

That’s the power of feedback loops in marketing.

It’s the magic that happens when sales, customer success, product and marketing gathers to create a self-evolving, resilient system.

It gets stronger as it grows, almost like a life form.

I spoke to Francois Bondiguel, growth lead at Canva about this. Here's the video: 

Let's go further and look at the two types of feedback loops: 

The two types of feedback loops in marketing

positive and negative feedback loops in marketing

When positive, the output feeds back to the system and reinforces it. When negative, the system adds the negative feedback into the output.

An important use case of feedback loops is solving the challenges of collaborating with peers in other departments.

It can be tough to establish a system that collects insights from sales and customer success synchronously. To get an understanding of the many use cases of your product, it’s essential that you build that system.

The thing about sales and CS is that they talk with people who have all the properties of your target audience. Every single day.

Gathering this info is crucial for your messaging.

You can do this with the power of feedback loops. [link to Farnam Street]

Let’s dive deeper into the how-tos 👇

Experiential learning is an area where feedback loops in marketing play a very important role.

In fact, the whole philosophy of deliberate practice is strongly based on the process of getting frequent quality feedback.

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. - Elon Musk

What makes all the difference though, is the ability to make right decisions.

The right decision may not guarantee the desired outcome every time – but they increase your odds of success.

Perfect decision-making is next to impossible. What matters more are forward momentum and a tight, fact-based feedback loop to quickly recognize and reverse bad decisions.

We have to constantly incorporate feedback generated by our decisions and keep improving the process.

This is the idea of compounding.

Compounding is interesting because every incremental change goes back to the system and makes it slightly better – or more accurate. Allow this to happen for a long time and what you have effectively is a positive feedback loop in action.

A snowballing effect.

In contrast, you could change the messaging back and forth in response to every piece of new information. Or a slightly negative performance on a vanity metric.

This will only create a negative feedback loop for your system.

How to convince peers in other departments to be a part of the feedback loop


Getting other people to buy into your idea is about their understanding of their benefits from adopting your idea. It’s not about their beliefs on whether the idea is good or not, but what their incentives look like.

This needs to be clear before even making the initial pitch.

Remember that the feedback loop is not exclusively beneficial for marketers. All departments will gain validated insights they can use in their day-to-day.

Because a feedback loop is where you leverage crowdsourced insights – so be clear on how to produce inputs and outputs.

Here’s a visual representation of the feedback loop:

feedback loop marketing

If you look at the right side of the loop, you’ll find the incentives for each department.

This is what you need to identify before preparing your pitch.

Now, let's look at the different incentives for the different departments: 

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