In the four weeks or so leading up to the recent LeadsCon New York show, the amount of blog posts, white papers, and B2B marketing from LeadsCon and associated firms and sponsors, about the consumer decision journey got my attention. Just as “transparency” was the clear buzzword at LeadsCon a few years ago, customer lifecycle marketing appeared to be where the buzz was focused this year.
If you are not familiar, customer lifecycle marketing is the strategy of effectively mapping your marketing content and messaging to each of the different stages of the consumer’s shopping journey. This goes from initial awareness through to becoming a loyal, evangelist customer and nurturing them appropriately along the way.
Show sessions and content may not have been overtly about this in their titles, but, during the sessions I attended, it was discussed quite a bit. One example was the compliance session with the FTC, Venable LLC, QuinStreet, and the New York State Department of Financial Services. While this session was about lead gen accountability and responsibility, the FTC reiterated multiple times that their expectation is that the consumer experience needs to be upfront with clear disclosures and that the overall consumer shopping experience is one of informed consent and honest, transparent marketing messages. And this was the compliance track that displayed a thread of the customer buying journey topic.
An additional indication was that as the Jornaya brand made its debut at the conference it was very well received with positive feedback. Evolving from solving specific problems in the lead gen ecosystem as LeadiD, to solving additional problems in the broader marketing ecosystem as Jornaya, was understood, validated, and endorsed. Partners and brands embraced our evolution, were excited about it, and expressed that they look forward to a continued, and expanded partnership.
What marketers are missing in their programs that makes customer lifecycle marketing appealing
The trend toward customer lifecycle marketing is really heating up now because of timing. There’s more data, there’s better technology, and the LUMAscape and Martech Landscape have expanded exponentially in the past few years. The depth, including the ability to build ID graphs off of device IDs, have shifted the way we approach and engage the educated consumer. Buying behavior and knowledge have changed drastically as more and more consumers are mindful of cookies, privacy controls, and retargeting ads.
As a result, consumers have raised the bar for marketers. They now expect brands to speak to them in meaningful ways throughout the stages of their shopping journeys. Facebook Lead Ads is a prime example of this, as consumers are willing to opt into ad funnels, engage with brands, and convert into customers. However, on the flip side, they are quickly turned off by getting the wrong message at the wrong time; and this can cause irreparable damage and cost your brand any future opportunity with a consumer.
Customer retention was a hot topic at LeadsCon in and of itself, and is a large component of customer lifecycle marketing. Brands are seeking ways to identify when their existing customer base is starting to shop again, so that they may take appropriate measures to decrease churn, incent or reward loyalty, and continue to speak to the consumer with the most appropriate message.
Where is this topic on the hype scale?
Marketers have been talking about the consumer journey and have been practicing customer lifecycle marketing for years, especially in the area of specific vertical expertise. Marketers of lifestyle brands and products for life stage events have been especially focused on the consumer journey. From getting married to having a child to buying a home they have always been focused on understanding and optimizing messaging to the right consumer at the right time during the purchasing journey.
With that said, I believe the buzz around the customer journey has reached a new phase of the hype cycle. Likely, this has been catalyzed by the intersection of access to more data, which enabled deeper insights to account based marketing, people based marketing, technology, and awareness. Whereas customer lifecycle marketing may have been for specific brands and products or for black belt marketers, it's now becoming accessible to all brands and marketers as an in-house focus or leveraged (and expected) via agencies and third party platforms and “stacks”.
As more marketers start tapping into the data that allows them to have insights into their consumers’ journeys, it will be interesting to see how much more effective it will be when they are providing the right messages and content at the right time for each stage of the buying journey. And of course, the question remains, how will consumers react?
Read our ebook Why Intent Matters - Shift to the Consumer Journey to Gain a Competitive Edge now to learn more about leveraging intent data in lifestyle marketing.