Why Customer Lifecycle Desperately Needs Profiles

By APSIS

2015-04-30

I have written in previous blogs about why Profiles are going to become more and more important for marketing, together with some campaign ideas to get started.
 
The Customer Lifecycle Model represents a more strategic and longer-term way to consider customer engagement, but profiles can still have a significant impact on how the model is executed across a business…
 
The Customer Lifecycle
 
There are lots of examples of a customer lifecycle available, most of which look something like this:
 
 
For simplicity let’s simplify it to three key steps:
 
 
The Problem with The Customer Lifecycle
 
Each stage of the lifecycle can be loosely attributed to a respective business area – Marketing, Sales and Customer Service. Although this is something of an oversimplification, it illustrates the challenge that Profiles can address: The technology platforms companies use to engage with customers at each stage are disparate, as are the departments themselves!
 
The table below suggests that each platform focuses primarily on one area of the customer lifecycle, sometimes two (Salesforce has consciously tried to move into Customer Service and Marketing to cover the whole lifecycle, but it is still primarily sales focused):
 
 
What is interesting is that each platform is needed for each stage of the customer lifecycle. Each platform has been chosen for a specific purpose. But what connects the customer across the whole Lifecycle? Learnings from the acquisition and conversion process are lost once a customer moves into retention, because the platforms are different. So why can’t we join up the technology across the whole lifecycle?
 
One example – Learning from Acquisition
 
Acquisition has typically been seen as time sensitive – you need to make sure your product or service can be found by your customers at the right time. But time is also becoming more important for conversion and retention as customer expectations increase. This means that real-time channels are becoming more important across the entire customer lifecycle, not just acquisition. The customer operates in real time, across the whole lifecycle, therefore so should the business.
 
Traditionally, display advertising has been seen as a great way to acquire traffic and boost conversion: Re-engage based on browsing history. However, with programmatic and RTB (Real Time Bidding) platforms now widely available, display advertising can serve as a highly effective method to engage existing customers and improve retention.
 
Perhaps the most compelling reason to join up Customer Lifecycle with acquisition channels specifically is that spend in acquisition can be determined based on the whole customer lifecycle, not just the revenue or margin from the first purchase. Extending this, marketers can learn to identify prospects that may turn into high lifetime value customers.
 
Why Profiles are the answer
 
Every channel and technology that touches a consumer learns about that consumer. If the information can be shared inside an organisation across departments then it could be used to improve acquisition, conversion and retention. Because so much interaction is now at scale and in real time, this data has to be shared through technology. Emails and excel sheets just won’t cut the mustard anymore.
 
This is where profiles come in – if every technology platform is connecting to the profile in real time, then all the customer data and information can be shared in real time too.
 
I am often asked what a Profile actually ‘looks like’, so we have created an interactive landing page together with an online guide, which shows you exactly the sort of data that is contained within the ideal customer profile. The guide also goes into more detail on each channel, providing some great campaign ideas and real brand success stories. Take a look…
 
This post was written by Andy Walker.

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