Where Do Marketers Feel They’re Most Effective in the Customer Lifecycle?

December 15, 2015

PardotDemandMetric-Marketing-Effectiveness-by-Journey-Stage-Dec2015Marketers are confident in their effectiveness in the awareness (69%) and consideration (59%) stages of the customer lifecycle, but these ratings drop as the lifecycle progresses, with fewer than one-third believing they are effective in the advocacy stage. That’s according to results from a Demand Metric survey [download page] sponsored by Salesforce Pardot, which finds little investment in the latter stages of the journey.

Indeed, fewer than half of the 170 survey respondents – the majority of whom are B2B-focused and all of whom use video as a form of marketing content – reported ample or adequate investment in the retention and advocacy stages of the lifecycle. In fact, participants estimated spending twice as much on new customer acquisition than on customer retention, even as they reported that existing customers account for a larger share of their revenues than new customers.

The results bring to mind data contained in MarketingCharts’ 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Report, in which mid-size B2B marketers noted that they’re often held accountable for lead generation and acquisition revenue, but much less so for customer retention. Respondents to that survey estimated spending two-thirds of their time on awareness and acquisition as opposed to retention and expansion.

More recently, though, a separate survey from The CMO Club found enterprise CMOs (a mix of B2B and B2C) saying that they’re spreading their budgets more evenly across the customer journey

Returning to the Demand Metric report, respondents indicated that a lifecycle marketing strategy can assist with the latter stages of the customer journey. In looking at the benefits of a lifecycle marketing strategy, a leading 55% cited greater customer engagement, with increased customer lifetime value (45%), better customer retention (45%) and more up-selling (40%) also key benefits. One-third also said that a higher percentage of customers become advocates.

When it comes to challenges to marketing across the lifecycle, the top 4 were tightly bunched:

  • Understanding the customer’s content needs (51%);
  • Identifying and tracking good metrics for each stage (49%);
  • Systems to capture data from stage touch points (48%); and
  • Inadequate staff, tools or budget (46%).

It’s interesting to see the content challenge, as a recent survey from Ascend2 identified relevant content creation as the biggest obstacle to lead nurturing success. For B2B marketers, a chart mapping perceived content effectiveness by stage of buying cycle is available in the aforementioned B2B Digital Marketing Insights report.

Overall, just 19% of respondents to the Demand Metric survey said they are marketing in all stages of the lifecycle, though another 22% have plans to do so.

About the Data: The 2015 Customer Lifecycle Marketing Benchmark Study survey was fielded online from August 12 through October 5, 2015. Almost 200 responses were collected, 170 of which were qualified and complete enough for inclusion in the analysis.

Some 58% of respondents come from companies with at least $10 million in annual sales, and about two-thirds reported revenue growth in their most recent fiscal year. Roughly 6 in 10 (59%) are mostly or entirely B2B organizations, with another 27% reporting being a blend of B2B and B2C. Study data was collected only from participants who acknowledged using video as a form of marketing content.

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