Lifecycle Marketing

Modern Lifecycle Marketing: A Matter of Data

Consumers today are looking for information. Rather than the outbound marketing efforts that have dominated past decades, the best campaigns to target modern consumers tend to be focused on inbound tactics. This means facilitating discovery and ensuing relevant content is always a mere click away for shoppers. These customers’ interests and requirements will change a great deal over the course of their individual journeys from curious observer to repeat buyer. Customer lifecycle marketing ensures companies always know what to say.

Lifecycle musts
There are a few elements that create a solid foundation for optimal customer lifecycle marketing. Customer Think contributor Brandon Gains stated, for instance, that keeping up with the different stages of the buyer’s journey requires a plethora of data, with which marketers can then craft relevant pitches and deliver them at the right time.

Today’s marketing efforts connect with consumers through a variety of channels, digital and otherwise. Just about all of these contact methods generate information. If companies are to have any hope of correctly identifying and targeting different stages of the customer lifecycle, they have to collect and integrate the relevant facts and figures, according to Gains’ analysis.

That process of data conflation means creating comprehensive profiles on individuals that determine when a particular customer reconnects with a brand, even when that person has switched channels. When marketers combine the relevant data, they can deliver a series of targeted messages as the consumer gets closer to a purchase, then stay in touch and draw the individual back in for future buys.

Nonlinear thinking
Today’s consumers don’t always go directly from one step of the buyer’s journey to the next. They may circle back multiple times, considering their options and shopping around. Forbes contributor Blake Morgan specified that marketers today should be ready to handle consumers who don’t always take a linear journey from interest to a purchase. She also noted that engagement methods themselves have evolved due to the presence of social media. These networks are always in flux, providing great communication and data channels for companies that stay up to date.

Morgan pointed out that in recent years, customer engagement and education efforts have found roles in the customer lifecycle. When customers are engaged throughout their interactions with a company, they not only stand a better chance of becoming repeat buyers, but may also promote that organization among their friends and family. In a world saturated with advertising, these personal recommendations have real value. Customer lifecycle marketing may include post-purchase campaigns specifically designed to encourage advocacy.

Serious engagement
While there are general categories of customer interactions, it’s possible to pick out a few very specific moments within those overarching definitions where a company can make a difference. For instance, Customer Think contributor Ernan Roman specified that firms have make-or-break moments when they respond to a consumer’s poor experience, or when engagement is fading and marketers release a re-engagement campaign.

Specific flashpoints when buyers are choosing between different courses of action are prime times for sending out well-crafted engagement materials based on accumulated data. Roman pointed to research by Georgia State University marketing professor V. Kumar, who noted that when shoppers begin to drift away, many companies take a blunt approach to the problem, sending out a huge volume of offers designed to lure the buyers back into the fold. Instead, they should be investigating the data, determining which customers are most likely to come back for good and delivering targeted, relevant communications to make it happen.

As for onboarding new customers, the process plays a large part in determining whether someone will stick with the company over the long haul. Roman quoted Bacardi Chief Marketing Officer Mauricio Vergara, who recommended businesses implement onboarding campaigns that position a brand as relatable, and as a part of the customer’s everyday life rather than just a company designed to sell a product. Connections that are based on more than making the sale can keep shoppers interested even after the first transaction has been made.

Putting information to use
Customer lifecycle marketing is yet another way of making marketing relevant. Targeting begins with messages suited to individuals or groups, and it gains some extra force when companies begin picking their communication style based on how close to or far from a purchase the recipient is. In a world where jumping from one brand to another is easy, heavy-duty outreach may be the best way to secure loyalty that lasts.

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