Maria Grew Comfortable. Don’t Be Like Maria.

CLM Perspective

It has been well documented that one of the most dangerous phrases in business is, “Well, we have always done it that way.” Recently tennis superstar Maria Sharapova learned this lesson the hard way during a routine drug test. Sharapova tested positive for the drug Meldonium that she had been taking for 10 years, but the substance was only first banned on January 1st, 2016. She shared during a news conference that this was an honest mistake as she had been taking the drug for so long that she had simply stopped checking years ago if the substance was coming out on the new banned substance list. Maria grew comfortable. Don’t be like Maria. Professional athletes and business professionals alike simply can not afford to ever stop innovating and advancing.

Going one step deeper, what if a marketing department took a 10-year innovation hiatus and got comfortable with not checking for new developments? Do you remember the marketing tactics of 2005? Companies were dumping millions of dollars into TV, radio, and highway billboards. The idea of email marketing was just beginning. The concepts of digital marketing, social media marketing, data-driven marketing, integrated campaigns, marketing-sales alignment, marketing campaigns, and Customer Lifecycle Marketing had certainly not been born yet.

Disclaimer: If you are unfamiliar with more than a couple of the words above in the last sentence, it’s probably time to do some serious research in order to save your marketing department and company.

Further disclaimer: there are two terms above that are becoming unfairly mixed and synonymous when in fact they are quite different.

Can you guess which two?

Our industry is beginning to accept the massive lie that marketing campaigns and Customer Lifecycle Marketing are one and the same when in fact the difference between the two is sure to define marketing for years to come.

We all know what a marketing campaign is. It is a series of different touches that may or may not branch dependent on customer behavior. These touches may be social media, automated email, sales team calls, one-off sales emails, direct mail, etc. The common misconception lies in the idea that once a contact goes through a marketing campaign and converts from a prospect to a customer, that they have walked through the customer lifecycle in a matter of a couple emails, sales calls, and tweets. That’s like saying that the minute you set foot on a car dealership, look at a couple cars, then make your purchase, that you have made your way through the customer lifecycle…NO!

Customer Lifecycle Marketing is the understanding that the two hours you spent on the car lot is a grain of sand on the beach of the customer lifecycle. Think about the steps that say, a 25 year-old goes through prior to buying a car. They went to driver’s education, earned their license, drove a couple of lemons through high school and college, applied for a car loan, researched their favorite brands, researched which dealerships have the best reputation in town, most likely went to the lot prior to making their purchase (and fended off salesmen), consulted their parents and peers, BOUGHT THE CAR, took it back to be serviced several times, traded it in after 150,000 miles, purchased another car, etc. I can go on and on, but I think you see the point by now. At every point in this metaphorical 25-year olds life, an impression was made by a person or car that influenced this final buying decision and subsequent choices when it comes to repairs.

I can almost guarantee that a member of Maria Sharapova’s support staff is under fire for missing her drug on the banned substance list. Maria and her team became comfortable with their version of a “marketing campaign,” when in fact, Customer Lifecycle Marketing was barreling down the baseline to smash a forehand winner cross-court. Don’t be like Maria and become comfortable with marketing campaigns, it is time to move above and beyond to Customer Lifecycle Marketing or risk getting aced.