Customer Lifecycle Marketing - More Than Email, And A Bigger Deal Than You Think

3 truths about email that you need to know (via our friends at eMarketer). 1. Email drives serious sales - Nearly two-thirds of US Internet users made a purchase because of a marketing message received through email.

2. Of all online marketing tactics, email has the best ROI  -  “Commercial email ROI hit $45.65 for every dollar spent."

3. Email builds relationships - “Email produces the highest response rate of direct marketing methods studied."

Without the validity of eMarketer’s back-up, however validated by my +12 years of experience in the industry, I’d like to add a 4th truth to the list.

4. Your email marketing program is underperforming.

While generally thought of as an obvious tactic and therefore passe, for most organizations, email marketing should literally return the most efficient revenue and results in comparison to any other online marketing tactic.  How’s yours doing?  If you don’t know, I suggest bookmarking this post, finding out, and then returning to finish - you’re leaving money on the table.

If you are one of the few who can recite performance metrics (render rates, conversion rates, etc.), and have been managing your program to improve them, depending on your answer to the following questions, there’s still likely room for improvement:

  • Are you “blasting” out of Outlook or Constant Contact rather than sending targeted emails?  These tools do not provide the infustructure for proper audience segmentation and results tracking.
  • Do you religiously test your email messages (A/B or multi-variate)?  Testing is a must, every time, all the time.
  • How old is your email template?  Does it look and feel like your other online and offline marketing tools?  Consistency here is important.  As noted in my last post, consumers do not differentiate messaging by marketing medium, meaning that consistent messaging and call to action is critical to maximizing your return.
  • Do you send the same newsletter out to all contacts?  Giving people exactly what they want, and how they want it, is the key to any successful direct marketing effort.

So let’s assume you have these bases covered - and congratulations by the way, you are extremely rare and should ask for a raise.  My next question for you is are you working towards building one-to-one relationships with your subscribers through email?

Building Loyalty is the Goal

The real opportunity with email, and for that matter any direct marketing campaign, is the ability to build loyalty by learning exactly what your contacts want from you, when they want it, and by what medium they would like to consume it.  By building this knowledge base for every contact over time, you’ll dramatically increase the relevance of your communication, thereby improving response rates and results.  This process is called Customer Lifecycle Marketing, and it may be the most immediately impactful online marketing opportunity available to most organizations today.

My colleague David Hibbs will soon be sharing a detailed blog post on Customer Lifecycle Marketing, look for it.  But high-level, Customer Lifecycle Marketing involves understanding how, what, when, and why a customer wants to be communicated with, matching that with the medium of their choosing and stage of their relationship with you.  As a prelude, the five stages of a customer lifecycle marketing program include:

1. Acquisition

2. Conversion

3. Growth

4. Retention

5. Reactivation

While not a new concept, proper execution is often an afterthought, and most organizations can increase revenues in short order by creating or plussing up their relationship building efforts. Look for future posts on our blog providing more in-depth detail on opportunities to do just that.

In the meantime, be sure to check out these resources to help you improve your direct marketing efforts strategically and tactically:

- Get With The Program-Integrating Email within Your Overall Marketing Mix - presentation deck from Exact Target webinar

- Creating Effective Email Marketing Communications - Off Madison Ave webinar

Posted by Mike Corak - Originally Posted 6-3-09 on

[caption id="attachment_110" align="alignleft" width="56" caption="Mike Corak"]Mike Corak[/caption]

Mike Corak leads the strategic planning practice and account management efforts at Off Madison Ave, and is co-founder of  An active member of the digital marketing community and frequent blogger and speaker, Mike's passion is interactive marketing. Mike's developed and implemented winning digital and integrated strategies for hundreds of companies over his 12 year career including the likes of Coca Cola, ConAgra Foods, ConocoPhillips, FedEx, Fujitsu, Nike, Office Depot, and Walt Disney. Contact Mike at, or interact with Mike here: twitter, LinkedIn.

Posted on July 25, 2009 and filed under Integrated Marketing.