3 Benefits to Building Your Brand for Your Customer Lifecycle Marketing program

Many folks think of logos, marketing collateral, advertising, and other imagery as their brand. They lump in patents, copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property; domain names, slogans, jingles, and other components. And they are partially correct. But a brand is so much more than that.

A brand is the promise you make to your customers. It is the experience your customers expect to take away each and every time they interact with your brand.

And your brand is an important component to a successful Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) program. According to BrandZ, “On average worldwide, only 7 percent of consumers buy on price alone, down from 20 percent ten years ago. In contrast, 81 percent regard brand as an important consideration. (“BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands”, published by Millward Brown, 2010). So it is in your best interest to build the best brand you can build to ensure CLM success.

1) Preserve your Corporate Identity

Brands build their reputations in a painstaking manner. Great brands like Starbucks have managed to construct a unique global reputation based on the provision and service of high quality products. They offer a consistent and unique experience for patrons, not replicated by competitors. And they incorporate a consistent approach to corporate social responsibility.

And that identity is permeated at every customer touch point, so entering a Starbucks in Boston feels very much like entering a Starbucks in Bloomington, MN and/or Boise. You experience that same identity online at starbucks.com or on their Facebook page. And every piece of collateral, from the cups to the napkins, to the cup holders, to the POP displays, signs, CDs, local and national ads in one store or locale looks exactly like its counterpart in another.

2) Maintain your Competitive Advantage

A top brand retains competitive advantage in the marketplace because it is easily identified and stands apart. The brand is presented in a consistent manner and the customer experiences the brand in the same way no matter where they are.

Starbucks, Apple, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, Disney and Sub-Zero are all brands with advantages over the competition in terms of unaided recall. They each own advantages in product design, ease of use, customer service, or cost (or maybe on multiple dimensions). Because they deliver a competitive advantage, they retain customers better than the competition and perform well when it comes to loyalty and referral. This makes it difficult for a competitor to come in and steal market share.

Perhaps the competition can come in and undercut your brand based on price, but they can only employ that strategy for so long before eroding margins have a long-term financial impact. And if you attract shoppers based on price today, you will likely lose them down the road when another competitor beats you on price.

3) Helps You To Grow Revenue

When you have a strong brand identity and distinct, recognized advantage, customers can more easily see the perceived value your brand brings. Your lifecycle marketing campaigns benefit too, as they will be more visible, recognizable, and more likely to be responded to. Campaigns help Marketers to grow revenue. Campaigns can drive revenue from new customer acquisition, whereby you leverage mailings or social media posting and other promotions to your prospect list. Or you can run retention campaigns to keep those at risk of attriting from leaving you. Campaigns can drive incremental purchases later in the year from your core customer base or they can increase the amount of items typically purchased in one shopping session from a particular segment.

In our businesses, regardless of our function, we want to see our customers’ needs met by our brand. We want our brand to deliver on the promise that our Sales and Marketing teams (and all of our employees) make. Accomplishing this ensures our Customer Lifecycle Marketing programs meet their objectives and enhance value to the brand.

5 Considerations to Growing Your Welcome Program Revenue

As a Marketer, you are always looking to engage your customers and grow revenue and retention. You have many touch points and channels to leverage. One of the first actions your customers will undertake with you is to subscribe to your email list. They may be at the top of the funnel, considering making a purchase and doing some research. They may be aware of your brand and consider it a viable option to meet their needs. Or they may already be a customer, having purchased via an offline channel.

1) Before you begin, be sure to outline the goals and objectives of your Welcome Program. Are you looking to drive first purchase? Are you trying to obtain more information so that you can better segment and service your customers?

2) Based on your goals and objectives, be sure you can measure your results appropriately to know if you have succeeded. Too many companies move straight to implementation without thinking about how they will measure results. This is particularly important when it comes to measuring results by segment or as part of testing. It makes implementing more challenging and time-consuming if you have to go back to change your implementation to incorporate a last minute need for reporting/analysis that you could have included in your requirements up-front with some forethought.

3) Consider how you will be segmenting your Welcome Campaign. Do you wish to treat large potential customers different from smaller ones? Are you effectively segmenting prospective customers from existing customers? Do you have other large segments of customers that might fit into a Welcome Campaign, like recently reactivated subscribers?

You may wish to segregate your new subscribers from the rest of your email program until they have worked though the Welcome progression. Of course, the wise Marketer will test different approaches, applying the best approach and constantly retesting against different approaches.

4) Do not make process a secondary consideration. Make sure you have process nailed down. The key is to get that first email into your customer’s inbox as quickly as possible from the initial sign-up. You want to reinforce the customer’s decision to subscribe to your program, and get them used to seeing email from you. Do you need to send this email from the same IP address as your other campaigns, or should you bundle this as part of a transactional IP? If you have a lot of volume from new subscribers, sending from the same IP address as your other campaigns can help to improve overall IP address deliverability as engagement with Welcome campaigns tends to be significantly higher than other non-triggered campaigns. However, if you already have deliverability issues on a regular basis, then sending from a transactional IP is a better way to go to ensure these messages get into your subscribers inboxes. Talk to your email service provider to select the best option for your program.

Another overlooked process component is the “From” and subject line. Please do not use a name of someone the average person would not recognize in the “From” line. Maybe Microsoft could get away with a “From” name of “Bill Gates” or the Cleveland Cavaliers with “LeBron James” (and believe me, the celebrity should have widespread international recognition and not be just the owners or Marketing-VPs own perception of themselves); instead use the name of the brand that the subscriber is seeking to learn more about, like “Banana Republic” or “Toyota Prius.” You can even add a modifier like “eNews” or “Information” or “Offers”, depending upon the Segment or type of content that is being sought. Bottom line, make it appropriate and descriptive.

As for the subject line, keep it short and sweet and include the brand name. Repetition of the brand in the subject line and From lines is good and helps your brand stand out in the inbox for those readers who scan both. Some readers will be From line dominant and others subject line dominant, so by repeating the brand in both, you have a better chance of standing out with either segment. Include some variant of Welcome in the subject line tied to your brand, like “Welcome from Banana Republic”. And if you are tying an offer to the subscription, then include a mention in the subject line. Just be careful of those marketing words that may cause an ISP to consider your email SPAM. You should always test into your most beneficial subject lines at the onset of the campaign, and continue to test variants over time.

5) Provide value added content. Some Welcome Campaigns could be multi-part, providing valuable information about how to order, tips regarding

You can provide special benefits to your email subscribers as an inducement to sign up. These special or gated offers can increase revenue from new subscribers by as much as 3X, while also increasing the speed at which your email subscription list books its first revenue for your company. In addition you can communicate the many ways your customer can interact with your brand and gain the most value out of their relationship with you. Typically a Welcome program will drive greater engagement too, helping the deliverability of all your emails with ISPs.

A Welcome Campaign is a beneficial component to any Customer Lifecycle Management Program, helping you to generate revenue and keep your customers engaged. Let me know in the comment section your thoughts and successes/learnings with regards to your Welcome Program, or others you have seen.