There's lots of talk about 'lifecycle marketing' in the business media at the moment. It seems to be this year's big trend. But unlike some fads that fly through the marketing industry, this one seems to have real benefit.
There’s lots of talk about ‘lifecycle marketing’ in the business media at the moment. It seems to be this year’s big trend. But unlike some fads that fly through the marketing industry, this one seems to have real benefit.
The most used example is automating the process of following up with an e-commerce prospect who puts something in a shopping basket but doesn’t complete their purchase. It’s an example we use ourselves, but it really only scratches the surface of what is possible once you have the right processes and technology in place.
Let me give an alternative example.
Marketers often use the AIDA model to describe the customer acquisition process: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Where marketing stops and sales takes over in this process varies from company to company. But in most cases marketing ‘touches’ of the customer are automated and one-to-many, and sales ‘touches’ are manual and one-to-one. As a result, marketing touches are cheap, and sales touches are expensive.
I’ve spoken to a number of clients recently - from a small tech business to two billion-dollar/pound organisations (one on each side of the Atlantic) - who are struggling with the fact that sales touches the customer too early in the cycle, long before the customer is ready to buy.
This isn’t surprising when you examine their marketing materials - particularly online. All of their calls to action drive the customer towards making an enquiry, and that enquiry goes straight to the sales force.
This makes sense: because the companies don’t have the data to analyse how customers behave as they go through the funnel from awareness to action, they don’t want to take any chances. Even if the customer has only expressed an initial awareness, they are necessarily treated as if they are ready to buy.
The result is that expensive, expert salespeople spend a lot of time handling uneducated enquiries from people who may be a year or more away from being ready to buy.
For me one of the biggest advantages of true lifecycle marketing is allowing companies to manage their customer interactions more intelligently and more efficiently. They can focus their ‘closers’ on people ready to buy, and let marketing do the prospect development in a more efficient, automated way.
This could have a massive impact on profitability for the businesses I’ve spoken to recently, and in many ways is more interesting to them than increasing their total lead volume.
There are plenty more examples of how a true lifecycle marketing approach - and infrastructure - can drive profitability, and I hope to talk about these in future posts.