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Understand Customers and Their Lifecycle with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can power your email campaigns, but the more you understand you customers and their customer lifecycle, the harder marketing automation can work for you. This can actually provide a fresh perspective on a well-established campaign tool: email.

1. Improving your marketing automation capability

Your customer is not a form field...

The most fundamental change in the marketing landscape over the last few years is that the customer isn’t a profile or a demographic or a target audience anymore. They are all individuals. And with social media joining media channels in one big conversation, you’d better get to know each and every one of your individual customers.

For 82% of enterprise marketers, the most important goal is not lead gen but engagement

Perhaps your customer uses Twitter daily, but rarely uses Facebook. Do you know why? Maybe this same customer likes restaurants, but hates cooking. Does that affect your offers?

On weekends this customer is not Sally the Manager, but Slalom Sal, the hardcore snowboarder. Would knowing that help the sale? Every snippet you can collate adds to the big picture.

And that helps you understand who your customer is.

… and the customer journey is not A to B

Needless to say, this makes the customer journey a long way from linear. There isn’t an A-to-B route from suspect to sale anymore. It’s more A-to-Z, with multiple options for the trip. And the way your customer navigates that route matters. It’s not about waypoints and milestones, but scenery and sunsets. 

76% of people feel marketing has changed more in the last 2 years than the previous 50

How and when your customer Tweets may provide more sales opportunities than a hundred event invitations. Today’s marketers have to listen on all frequencies, mapping customer touch-points as a map not a line. And then the killer app of marketing automation connects them all up. This will become increasingly important as the customer journey becomes increasingly complex as we move into 2017 and beyond. 

59% of global marketers describe data as critical to their efforts

With the right approach, marketing automation can help you to understand customers as people, in all their wonderful diversity. And that opens up an enormous opportunity to talk to them in language that resonates. As we move forward, both in terms of technology and time, speaking to your customers in a language that resonates will become even more key.

2. Thinking lifecycle can take email marketing to the next level

Managing the conversation across all facets of a life...

The customer lifecycle is just as important as your customer’s life. Don't simply focus on the next sale, but build trust and comfort across all aspects of an individual’s life. From telling them when a product they once wanted is back in stock, to remembering their birthdays and when they last changed jobs.

Over 60% of marketers considered email the best channel for one-to-one communication. - State of Email Marketing 2015

Perhaps your core offer never changes. But the way you communicate it should. Does a customer consider you the solution to all life’s problems? As one option on the shortlist? As a talking point at next year’s conference? There’s a time to hard-sell, and a time to just keep talking. Fortunately, there’s a single channel that lets you do it all.

...with the one channel that just keeps on giving: email

Web and broadcast, app and social, one trusted channel touches every part of the customer conversation: email. But not email the way your parents used it. 

Just 22% of companies saw themselves as advanced email marketers. - State of Email Marketing 2015

Today’s email marketing – driven by insights and triggers from your marketing automation infrastructure – can connect every touchpoint of the customer landscape past and present. And increasingly its future, with predictive analytics that forecast of what a customer wants next.

98.5% of businesses planned to maintain or increase their email marketing budget. - State of Email Marketing 2015

The takeout for email marketers today starts with a review of your email capability. If it’s not integrated with your marketing automation infrastructure, your email campaigns are deaf, dumb, and blind. Second, look again at your database quality, to see if the information you need to act on buyer behaviour is really being collected. For most businesses it’s not.

Only with both infrastructure and data can email marketing really sing: accurate targeting, intense customisation, and personalised communications that understand a customer’s hopes and dreams.

So if your email campaigns are more spray-and-pray than listen-and-learn, you’ve got some catching up to do. 

Register today for my webinar with Oracle Marketing Cloud on November 30 on the State of Marketing Automation as we move into 2017.

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