The customer lifecycle is no longer a linear top-down funnel. It follows a cyclical pattern, a flywheel, to align to the customer journey that no longer has a defined start and endpoint. It typically begins with a marketing interaction and continues through to acquisition, conversion and retention. Customers that receive a positive experience are more likely to recommend companies to their friends and family, leading to new customers that begin their experience with you at the conversion stage thus reducing expensive acquisition costs.
Companies need to demonstrate excellence across digital marketing, sales, service and support to attract and retain loyal customers that optimise customer acquisition costs and improves lifetime customer value. But what does great look like in each of these areas?
Digital Marketing: Reach and Interact
Digital is a central point for all demand activities to reach and interact with leads and prospects with a focus on customer intent. Marketing messages are consistent throughout customer journeys and across channels. Attribution models are in place that provides insights into the investments made in campaigns and the business benefits gained and these are thoroughly tested and validated.
Marketing automation is in place to streamline and measure marketing tasks and workflows and run complex high-impact experiments to increase operational efficiency and grow revenues faster. Automated campaign management and reporting exist across all channels including organic/paid prominent positions, affiliates, ROI based investment. Testing and experimentation are used with qualitative and quantitative data to convert and qualify leads, exploring new ways to increase conversion and qualification. Marketing messages are consistent throughout customer journeys and across channels.
Digital marketing teams are appropriately staffed with high skill levels and use automation tools and optimised workflows to deliver a variety of techniques including:
- High-quality content marketing.
- A Search Engine Marketing (SEM) plan that specifies key phrases to optimise for paid/organic and how paid budgets will be distributed with effective international, local and mobile paid search.
- A Social Media plan that actively promotes and positions the organisation in pursuit of strategic objectives, listens to customers, advocates and critics, and responds promptly and appropriately and uses social media data to gain insights into their brand, products and services delivering measurable ROI.
- An email marketing plan that seeks to grow the contact list, communicate regularly with customers in ways that are relevant to their needs and appropriate to their value to the organisation, respond promptly to customer actions (triggered emails) and test different formats, content, offers and contact tactics (time of day, day of the week, sender identity etc.)
Digital Sales: Convert and Engage
Digital sales initiatives have senior sponsorship and support with a clear sales strategy to engage with audiences and drive conversions. Realistic yet demanding sales targets are set which reconcile the financial ambitions of the organisation with the opportunities in the marketplace. Clearly articulated sales propositions for all brands, products and services are in place and these have been tested and optimised sufficiently to maximise sales success.
Robust and accessible tools are in place for sales forecasting, pricing decisions, accessing customer data (such as contact history, browsing history), customer analytics (including customer segment, next best action) and managing inbound customer communications (such as sales messages and documents) and these tools are continuously optimised to minimise sources of forecasting inaccuracy. Deep-rooted experimentation and structured testing including MVT and A/B are in place. Media is fully optimised based on attribution and evaluation of new options. Personalisation and retargeting is optimised across all touchpoints with machine learning to optimise conversion rates.
A digital advertising plan exists that tests what is advertised, where it is advertised, to whom it is advertised and when it is advertised. Techniques, such as propensity modelling, and appropriate tools are in place to identify high conversion opportunities. Other characteristics include a fully automated CRM, 1:1 targeting and dynamic pricing.
Digital Service and Support: Consistency, Knowledgeable, Fast
A customer-centric and customer-obsessed approach is applied to service and support to drive customer advocacy that results in reduced customer acquisition costs (CAC) and increased customer lifetime value (LTV). Customers receive the same consistent level of customer service irrespective of the channel they use, online or offline. Messaging is consistent with other stages of the customer lifecycle with a single tone of voice across all channels. The business has implemented digital self-serve technology for employees’ and business partners’ use including live chat and knowledge bases.
As-a-Service solutions are deployed such as customer success software to provide a unified 360-degree single view of all customer data pulled from applications such as email, CRM, chat and support tickets. Additional tools such as CCaaS and CPaaS also exist. This enables the business to proactively spot customers that need attention and identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, as well as customer advocates.
Customer feedback data is collated and mined to provide new insights, optimise customer journeys and improve customer satisfaction. Agent interfaces provided include conversational UIs and virtual assistants resulting in less manual labour artificial intelligence (AI) employed to predict what customers intend to do using data from past interactions including their preferences. Complaints are resolved using software rather than straight to a person and automated resolutions.