If you do a Google search for “lead management software,” chances are you’ll find results with ties to marketing automation. It’s no secret many growing organizations move to a marketing automation platform due to the overwhelming volume of inquiries, or leads, they receive on a daily basis. However, can marketing automation do more than manage leads and is it reasonable to assume marketing automation improves customer retention?
Most marketers are evaluated on their ability to generate leads and manage them. By manage, I mean keep engaged with the brand. This is where marketing automation plays such a critical role. Marketers can automate campaigns for various audience segments to keep them engaged and “warm” them up for the sale — whether it’s an online purchase or requires the assistance of a sales representative.
The leads that close due to the newly automated process made possible by a marketing automation platform are your low hanging fruit. Many marketers, and CEOs for that matter, see these conversions and assume they will continue as long as they continue to generate new leads. But, you know what happens when you assume…
The reality is, you can only pick the low-hanging fruit once. After the first wave of success, most marketers find it increasingly harder to raise the bar on customer acquisition and to lower the bar on the investment. Don’t get me wrong, marketing automation is an amazing tool to communicate with your audience, build loyalty and increase qualified leads. But unless it drives continuous engagement throughout the customer lifecycle, it’s really little more than a campaign management tool.
So how can you do more? How can marketing automation continuously drive revenue for your business? This is where lifecycle marketing comes into the mix. Instead of only using marketing automation as a “top of the funnel” tool for your organization, think outside the box (or the funnel in this case). How can you use marketing automation to build engagement beyond the lead or prospective customer stages? How can marketing impact customer engagement and drive customer retention and growth?
According to SiriusDecisions, only 8% of organizations in a recent survey were using marketing automation to nurture their existing customers. Which means here’s your opportunity to really get ahead of your competition! Instead of focusing on lead generation and conversion, like traditional marketers have for decades, focus on the entire customer lifecycle.
When combined, the customer lifecycle marketing methodology and marketing automation not only improve lead management and conversions but also customer retention and growth. The reason is simple: customer lifecycle marketing engages the customer in every stage of their journey with your brand. Engagement leads to relationships. Relationships lead to revenue. The stronger your relationship is with a client, the more likely they will be to open your emails, attend your events, purchase from you again and recommend you to others. Instead of solely focusing on how to win new business, marketers today have to make an effort to keep current business and grow client relationships, too.
Marketing automation improves customer retention when implemented in a customer lifecycle marketing approach. When only utilized as a top of the funnel solution to save time and automate cumbersome processes, it’s a campaign management tool — nothing more.
It’s time to do more, not just for your brand but for your customers. To learn more about lifecycle marketing, read our free ebook or schedule a demo of ROI Customer Lifecycle Marketing™ today. Consider how marketing automation improves customer retention and how that will improve your marketing KPIs in 2015. Instead of just winning new customers, let’s build customers for life.