In our article, “The Customer Journey – How Consumers Become Customers”, I introduced you to the concept of the customer journey and its importance for effectively converting a consumer into a customer. For today’s “always-on” marketing style, there are many factors to consider when developing impactful marketing campaigns.
Bottom line, for marketing to be truly effective in today’s omnichannel ecosystem, you need to send a message that influences behavior using Customer Lifecycle Marketing, and that is the focus of this article.
Customer Lifecycle Marketing (CLM) is a marketing strategy that focuses on addressing an audience’s implicit and explicit needs as they evolve from prospect to customer to advocate. This requires a deep understanding of the target audiences behaviors, thoughts, and feelings as they interact with the brand across all digital and analog touch-points.
To engage a prospect requires a completely different strategy than to engage a hot lead or a customer because they are at different stages of the customer journey. This means that you need to create a managed communication strategy that prioritizes and integrates the complete range of marketing channels and experiences that prospects, customers, and advocates go through on their journey with your brand.
If your marketing message does not influence a behavior, then what is the point? The most effective way to ensure that your message is understood and influences some type of behavior is to personalize it. You want to recognize your targets as individuals. This sounds difficult because you typically target a large audience pool, however, this is all the more reason that you need to define your target audience, or more accurately stated, your targeted audience(s) before you define your marketing message(s). Since no one person likes to be communicated to in the exact same manner, why do so many organizations market to everyone with the exact same messaging?
It is important that your marketing messages also recognize where the target is in their individual marketing lifecycle, i.e. prospect, customer, or advocate. This allows you to tailor messages much more effectively. The most efficient way to achieve personalization is to use email marketing combined with marketing automation.
By mapping out the different stages of your customers’ journey, and overlaying the customer lifecycle marketing model, you can identify which types of marketing strategies make sense where and when. And as consumers engage with your various touch-points, you can track their data, behaviors, and interests, and re-use this data to tailor a messaging strategy that influences them to make a decision.
With so many marketing channels available today, it is important to understand when in the customer journey it is effective to market, with what type of channel, and which type of message. For this purpose, let’s break up the Lifecycle Marketing Model into 4 stages; Outreach, Action, Conversion, and Re-Engage. Within these stages, there are a few different audiences.
To better explain the activities that are typically found in these stages, here is a simplified table that was created by www.smartinsights.com.
As with any marketing strategy, and really anything that you put forth in your professional and personal life, garbage in – garbage out. So before you jump to send out that mailing, before you blast out that email to 10,000 prospects, take a step back. Remember, customers, appreciate a relationship-oriented approach from brands. You must build relationships with consumers throughout their customer lifecycle and across all touch-points. Your marketing will then show that you’re serious about your prospects and customers needs and can deliver on your promises to them.
By taping into your audiences implicit and explicit needs and behaviors, by analyzing your customers’ journey, and by mapping out your customer lifecycle marketing strategy, you will see a decrease in churn rates, an increase in conversion rates, and a more effective ROI on your marketing efforts.
There is no doubt that Consumerism plays a major role in today’s marketplace. Though Consumerism has several definitions, the focus of this article is on the concept that consumers are now more “informed” decision makers; and how Consumerism impacts your brand, your marketing efforts, and ultimately your sales model.
In the eyes of the consumer, your brand distinguishes your organization, your product, and your service from your rivals. So the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover” should have been done away with years ago, because that is exactly what consumers do. Today’s consumer does their research, they compare you to your rivals in as many ways possible. So to say that your brand is just a name, slogan, or symbol is far from true. Your brand is not who you are to you, it is who you are to your consumers.
What this means is that you must first understand the needs and wants of your consumers before you can truly define your brand. And if your consumer profile varies, you need to have a process in place to optimize your brand and alter how it is perceived in the marketplace. That is why building a brand strategy that respects and adapts to the behaviors of your consumers is vital to success in today’s marketplace. This can only be achieved by integrating your brand strategies throughout every touchpoint along the customer journey.
Marketing 101; build your brand, differentiate with value propositions, and know your customer. Sound familiar? So what has changed? As a constantly connected society, the marketplace ecosystem has evolved. The social dynamics of today’s buyer impacts consumer loyalty, and since there is an infinite number of companies battling for the consumers’ business, today’s buyer-decisions are made on more than just price.
Let’s keep it simple, there are 4 main types of consumer buying decisions; routine purchases, low-decision purchases, high-decision purchases, and impulse purchases. Understanding how consumers make these purchasing decisions and studying buyer behavior should directly impact your marketing strategy. This is known as an Adaptive Marketing. Rather than utilizing a Standardization or Universal Needs marketing strategy, an Adaptive marketing strategy appeals to the wants, needs, and behaviors of consumers. The downside of this strategy is that it can be costly due to executing multiple marketing campaigns in a given market, time-consuming to develop each unique marketing campaign, and slower to execute because you have to track success and be ready to make changes as needed based on the data you receive. The upside is that your conversion rates and customer acquisitions will increase because you are speaking to the consumer in a manner that they want to be spoken to, and your marketing message will resonate with them on a personal level.
When it comes to sales, a product or service only has true value if that value is perceived as helpful or necessary to a consumer. So when a salesperson simply educates a consumer on the features and benefits of a product or service, they are taking the position that they know more than the consumer. A salesperson must first take the time to learn from a consumer before they attempt to educate them. When a salesperson understands what is important to a consumer, they can tailor their sales pitch to directly address the consumer’s wants and needs, and ultimately guide the consumer through the customer journey and into the purchase funnel.
With Consumerism changing the way consumers interact with brands, changing the way organizations market their products and services, it is only logical to infer that the sales model must adapt to these market changes and a more conversational data-driven approach is essential to succeed in today’s marketplace. In some ways, you can say that Consumerism is leading to the death of the salesman because consumers may be 75% sure of their buying-decision before ever engaging with a salesperson. So it is the sales persons obligation to recognize this behavioral change and adapt their sales strategy or face the consequences.