Today’s challenge for CMOs is to understand how to optimize and evolve customer lifecycle marketing (CLM) solutions so that they enhance and grow both customer relationships and bottom-line results.

One of the keys to managing the customer lifecycle is the adoption of marketing automation across the customer journey. Unfortunately, most (70 percent) marketers that are employing marketing automation are either unhappy or only marginally happy with their solution.

Automation: the CMO’s Ace in the Hole

This pervasive dissatisfaction is a shame because automation is the CMO’s ace in the hole for managing the customer lifecycle.  Some facts about marketing automation and its importance to the customer lifecycle:

  • Automation actually helps CMOs keep their jobs. According to executive search firm Spencer Stuart, the average tenure for CMOs increased by 3 months from 2013 to 2014. The firm attributes this, in part, to the success CMOs are having with the marketing automation of the customer lifecycle.
  • Marketing automation is highest among the most successful companies —20 percent of these companies report revenues above $500 million. (Jan. 8, 2014,
  • The Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success study reveals that 91 percent of marketing automation users say automation is very important to successfully marketing across channels.
  • Automating the initial phases of CLM, awareness and acquiring a customer, through personalized calls to action (CTA) results in a 42 percent higher conversion rate than generic CTAs.
  • Automating the customer retention phase of your CLM efforts increases your ROI as well. On average, our customers realize at least a 5 percent increase in their customer retention rates. According to the Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. It is common knowledge that it is more costly to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.

What to Look for in a Customer Lifecycle Management Solution

Marketing technologies are enabling businesses to market their products and services in ways not even dreamed of a few years ago. After 30 years of digital marketing, we feel three things are eminently clear.

  1. Start with a strategy and plan that include a good understanding of your customers’ entire journey. If you start with the essential needs — the customer pain points — and build from there, you will be more successful.
  2. True personalization — rather than just inserting a name in a mass email — is vital. Provide individuals with the information they want, when and how they want it, and your chances of retaining a customer will increase exponentially.
  3. It is important to pick the right technology solution. The right marketing automation technology makes your customer or prospect data consumable across all the customer touchpoints in your organization. The technology also should integrate easily with existing applications, systems and third-party applications with two-way feeds or web services.

A study by Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, reveals that customer experience is more important than product innovation. It is critical that marketers employ customer lifecycle solutions that satisfy both their customers and marketing needs. Businesses simply cannot afford the dollar drain of dissatisfaction.

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