Thought Leadership Monday Mashup: Customer Lifecycle Exploration

Posted by Cydne Stewart Jul 27, 2015 9:30:00 AM

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All too often, marketers who are using customer lifecycle marketing (CLM) stick to the surface level. They focus on presenting their most attractive content to the top of the funnel. In the past, CLM has had a sole focus on this content and the actions only at the top of the marketing funnel.

These attention-capturing content pieces are crucial to lead generation, but are not even the half of what a true customer lifecycle marketing strategy should look like.

Most marketing budgets within customer lifecycle marketing are spent on lead generation and results from an organic search. But should they be? To determine if money is being spent effectively, you must understand the customer's lifetime value and weigh your options.

Keep that in mind as we explore the ins-and-outs of customer lifecycle stages with the marketing industry's most influential thought leaders.

So, how do you break the debilitating cycle of focusing only on the top of the funnel and lead generation?

"Holistic content marketing and editorial planning also help make better use of tactics that transcend the relationship timeline like SEO and Social Media.  It’s especially the case with holistic SEO that content producers can extend their reach and visibility to customers that are looking – not just to buy, but to engage with brands in other ways.

By considering the content needs across the customer lifecycle, not just acquisition or conversion, companies can become significantly more effective and efficient in their ability to connect relevant messages and stories with customers that are interested. The result: shorter sales cycles, better customer relationships and more word of mouth."  (Toprankblog.com)

The key to CLM is understanding your customer lifecycle stages and how you can effectively build content to assist them throughout their decision-making process. The number one goal for any marketer should be providing insight, innovation, and education in a manner that speaks directly to the reader or site visitor. If you can master a method of developing relevant, interesting or thought-provoking content focused on fostering conversion, you are headed in the right direction.

The most important factor in this stage of developing your CLM strategy is to be sure your content is relevant. Recognize the pain points of your customer. Understand the lifecycle stage at which they are presented, and the goals you have to meet for your content marketing initiatives to be successful.

Custora.com highlights the benefits of CLM in a manner that applies to creating relevant content for business success:

"Customer Lifecycle Marketing is all about tailoring your marketing communication to the individual customer and where he or she is in their purchase journey. This ensures marketing touchpoints that are communicated at the right time, to the right person, using the right content: the very definition of relevancy. As opposed to “batch & blast” email campaigns, lifecycle-based marketing emails contain content that is tailored to the individual customer, or customer segment, and is therefore more relevant and engaging."  (Custora.com)

Planning relevant content for each stage of your customer lifecycle is the best way to maximize your user experience and the best way to jumpstart your ROI. If you have more than one buyer persona (which most of you will), it is also important to speak to each persona’s needs, and separate them from the others. This may seem like a lot of content—but as you know—content is king. In order to keep up in a world filled with valuable content, it is important to target it, particularly if you are using a marketing automation system like HubSpot.

Because marketing automation has relinquished its personalization duties and is simply focused on reach and reward, it is your job as the content producer to personalize and customize your content.

Setting up individual nurturing sequences for each buyer persona at each stage of the customer lifecycle will allow you more time with your customers. It will also open up opportunity for you to study and understand how users are interacting with your content. You can even tie a dollar amount from content conversion. In essence, HubSpot allows you to see the return on investment of every content initiative. It also tracks and measures open rates and click-through rates, among others. These metrics and analytics, paired with the ease in publishing, will allow your organization time to polish and perfect your lifecycle stages and increase the effectiveness of the content within each stage.

"Marketing automation platforms allow you to track how a potential buyer or existing customer interacts with your brand (e.g., email link clicks, website visits, downloads and more). These digital clues provide insight into your prospect’s readiness to buy or desire for more information. Regardless of how much product research/information a customer has acquired, E-consultancy found that 83% of online shoppers still needed support to complete a purchase. Therefore, when contacted by the customer, insights into what the customer has viewed or downloaded can help client success guide and provide the customer with the right information depending on where they fall within their buying process. Ultimately, the targeted feedback and assistance will lead to more satisfied customers, increasing the chance of purchase." (RightOnInteractive)

On average, customer acquisition costs are higher than those required to retain an existing customer. Remember, when you are developing or tweaking your customer lifecycle marketing strategy or introducing marketing automation for the first time, it is vital to speak to each of your customers at each stage of their customer journey. Create informative content and thought leadership that keeps them coming back for more.

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