Jackpot: Aligning your customer life cycle stages with your automated nurture campaigns

A good friend once told me, “I’m not a gamblin’ man, but if I was, I’d play the slots.” An interesting choice, as most people refer to those machines as “the one arm bandit” and they have a reputation for being a piggybank for the casino. Nonetheless, the slot machines can be very exciting for some, pulling the handle to set the wheels spinning, hoping that the icons align, and the jackpot spills. The thrill and excitement itself might be worth their coins and credits, and the returns are just upside.

As marketers we can sometimes get a bad rap for being gamblers, taking risky chances by blindly pulling the handle. But the truth is, marketing is no longer based on those gut instincts and risky-expensive campaigns. In fact, the modern marketing campaign is a pretty well-oiled machine (some might say science). It can be targeted and precise. So much that each and every communication and interaction can be uniquely aligned with the different buying cycle stages of individual customers.  When you pull the handle on the modern marketing machine, you don’t have to just hope that when the wheels stop, you have the right message, to the right person, at the right time, because you can build the machine and fine tune it to do so.

So how can we align these three icons and sound the jackpot alarm? Let’s start with timing and work our way to the message.

Almost all businesses understand that their customers don’t just appear out of thin air. Some companies might date their customers once or twice before popping the question; they might have faster cycles and fewer stages for their customers to make decisions. Others have more drawn out relationships, courting customers through multiple hoops and points of interaction.  Neither is wrong or right. It really depends upon your business model, your customers, and the industry you serve. The point is, you have to have your cycles noted, and you’ve got to identify the timing and differences behind when a customer point of view is just curiosity, when they are evaluating, and when they want to buy.

Within your CRM system you should be able to open a lead, account, or contact and not only see which customer lifecycle stage they are labeled, but view the data to back up that labeling. Whether it’s the first time they search for your solution, the pages they’ve viewed on your website, the forms or surveys they have submitted, events they attended, or other actions that can help aggregate a lead score.

You should be able to use segmentation tools like advanced find and marketing lists to group them into the buying cycles and shift them as they progress.

Creating really effective content is about using what you know about a prospect or customer to provide relevant meaningful content that they actually care about.  Pleasing an entire audience with one email template while not over communicating, but still getting your message across is no easy task. Luckily you can utilize features like true dynamic content and responsive design, to not just optimize the layout and look of your emails for the devices they are opened with, but to change the messages that are rendered based upon what you know about the people opening them.

If, for example, a contact for your newsletter is the CEO of a prospective customer with an active deal about to close, then perhaps you would have labels in CRM that mark her as such. The newsletter content reflects this in her inbox by coming from your CEO, a personalized greeting line, and content that you identify as important for CEOs rather than sales managers, or IT staff, etc.

Bringing it all together is the magic of marketing automation. You get to set triggers and processes either through nurture program builders or through the workflow engine. When you have the right content created, it’s just a matter of specifying who to send it to and when to send it, which you should know if you’re tracking the interactions and segmenting your sales cycles.

You see, if gambling was anything like marketing automation, the casinos would go broke. Using CRM and ClickDimensions, you can control the wheel and make sure that whenever you pop in a coin and pull the lever, you get the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

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