As a marketer working in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing industry, you realize that new technology continues to help optimize nearly every aspect of your marketing strategy.
From personalization to automation, predictive analytics to artificial intelligence and everything in-between, martech has opened doors for marketers to create higher-impact campaigns that generate better ROI than ever before.
Nurture campaigns are no exception. Today, most marketers recognize nurture campaigns as a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. However, with new technology entering the market almost daily, it is hard to know whether your nurture campaigns are keeping pace with consumer demands and the possibilities of what modern martech can offer.
So, the ReachForce team put together this post to help you understand how nurture campaigns have evolved and what you can do to stay on top of new trends for your business.
To do that, let’s start with a brief history lesson:
The Evolution of Nurture Campaigns: From Drip Campaigns to Account-Based Marketing
With the availability of high-quality customer data today, it is easy to forget that until recently, much of what “worked” in marketing was a bit of a guessing game. Certainly, this is true of the “Mad Men” era, where creative speculation dictated what would resonate with a particular audience. Even the early years of our modern digital marketing era — when customer data was still scarce and the technology to use existing data was still evolving — were filled with trial and error.
Drip campaigns — an early ancestor of today’s more evolved lead nurturing strategies — were a prime example. Email marketing filled an important gap in the marketing strategies of both B2B and B2C companies around the world. Much like today’s lead nurturing strategies, drip campaigns offered marketers an opportunity to efficiently and effectively engage leads that had brand awareness but were not quite ready to make a purchase. Through a sequence of emails, marketers hoped to nurture leads from the early stages of the customer journey through to conversion.
Here is where today’s nurture campaigns differ dramatically though. Drip campaigns sent emails on a generic timeline, whereas modern nurture campaigns leverage high-quality data to trigger actions. Marketers tailor nurture campaigns today based on the specific actions taken by leads, whereas in a traditional drip campaign, a new lead provides an email address and may receive timed emails on days 3, 5, 10, and 15, regardless of what engagement — if any — they have had with a brand since the initial sign-up.
From Lead Generation to Demand Generation
That is not the only way nurture campaigns have evolved as a result of new technology and access to better customer data; marketers today also understand that lead nurturing extends beyond customer conversion. Drip campaigns focused almost exclusively on lead generation efforts. High-quality customer data opened doors for marketers to use nurture campaigns to generate more business from existing clients, too.
The shift from pure lead generation to what is known today as “demand generation” stands as a key example of the powerful impact high-quality data can have on your business. It costs five times less to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one and the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, compared to just 5-20 percent for new prospects.
Demand generation gave rise to a prominent new measure of success for marketing campaigns: customer lifetime value (CLV). Instead of just looking at the value of an initial sale, marketers and sales leaders alike began to analyze the overall value of a customer throughout the entirety of their time as a client. Using high-quality data and predictive analytics, marketers began analyzing leads to forecast which prospects had the potential to yield the largest CLV. With that, the latest era of lead nurturing was born.
Today, organizations bring sales and marketing together in a unified effort to target specific accounts identified as high-potential customers. Account-based nurturing focuses on heavily-personalized marketing tactics to both convert target leads and extract the maximum value from those accounts over time. The results are pretty amazing; 85 percent of marketers cite account-based marketing as producing more value than any other marketing efforts.
The role of nurture campaigns continues to evolve in the wake of new, better technology. Access to better, more robust customer data opens doors for bigger and better approaches to lead nurturing. However, the question remains:
How Exactly Can Marketers Keep Up with the Changing Landscape?
There are a few key strategies for staying up-to-date with the latest in lead nurturing.
#1. Keep Your Martech Stack Current
With over 5,000 different martech solutions on the market today, there is no question that staying on top of the latest in martech can feel a bit overwhelming. Luckily, the ReachForce team put together this post that shares eight different ways to examine your martech stack and ensure you are cultivating a set of tools optimized for the best possible nurture campaigns.
One of the most important takeaways from that post is to make sure you have the right foundational tools in place. Perhaps most important of all is a good data management platform. Successful nurture campaigns rely on high-quality data to pull important insights and ensure targeting remains accurate. A strong data management platform — like ReachForce — collects all of your data in one place, scrubs it clean of duplicate and incorrect information, and enriches it with high-value data from alternative sources. If you want to stay up with current trends, it is important you have the essentials in place to help.
#2. Survey Your Customers
Checking in with current customers about the ways they like to engage with your business and types of content they like to see from you is a great way to stay on top of current trends.
#3. Subscribe to This Blog
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