Reliance on marketing campaign management software remains high among enterprise companies across industries. (Especially those that are reluctant to update their martech.)
And it’s fairly easy to see why. Why fix what’s (seemingly) not broken at all, right?
The problem is campaign management tools — and the marketing campaign management approach in general — are, in fact, failing large-scale businesses today.
Many marketers at big brands simply don’t realize their multi-channel marketing initiatives to target audiences could be far more potent with more advanced and agile technologies.
In particular, ones that enable individualized marketing in the much more effective form of cross-channel customer lifecycle orchestration: the next frontier of marketing.
It’s understandable if you have questions about the inadequacies of campaign management and how to best adopt this more proven customer engagement approach, like:
- “What exactly is so wrong with campaign management (and campaign software)?”
- “How can my team pivot from a campaign-centric strategy to lifecycle marketing?”
- “And what specific technology do we need to get going with a lifecycle strategy?”
We’ll get to these Qs shortly. Before we do, though, it’s worth detailing why other enterprise marketers and brands at large are transitioning away from running static, outbound marketing campaigns — and why lifecycle marketing is their preferred alternative.
Why campaign management tools are falling out of favor with enterprise brands
A 2020 MarTech Today poll of marketing technologists found 70% work most often in campaign management software and marketing automation tools in their day-to-day.
From launching ad campaigns on various channels to past visitors and current prospects to automating email marketing drip campaigns to target segments, campaign management software clearly has played and still plays a sizable role in enterprise marketers’ daily activities and long-term strategies.
But the dependence on these systems for campaign success (and, therefore, marketing success) is (finally) being questioned by everyday marketing professionals today.
Why? Because they, along with their CMOs, realize there are several notable downsides to not just marketing campaign management, but also their campaign-oriented technologies.
Forrester VP, Principal Analyst Rusty Warner summed up the state of campaigns perfectly:
“Empowered customers are quickly becoming entitled customers who expect consistent, high-value experiences, regardless of channel. On their own, traditional marketing campaigns are ineffective at meeting these demands.”
The challenge for enterprises and their marketing teams today, Warner added? The ability to implement “customer-driven inbound interactions throughout the customer life cycle.”
Campaign management software built for static, outbound marketing activities
At its core, campaign management is the planning, execution, and analysis of limited-run promotional efforts toward specific segments. Rules-based workflows are put in place to pre-determine when specific messaging is shared with groups of prospects and customers.
There are many types of content (blog posts, buyer resources, business updates) that can be scheduled and mediums (SMS, email, social media, ads) that can be used in a given marketing campaign to reach your target audience. (Nothing you already didn’t know.)
But a campaign is also, at its core, an outbound approach (i.e., a “push” marketing play).
“Two-way campaigns yield results, but multichannel campaign management vendors often don’t integrate inbound and outbound marketing,” per Gartner Managing VP Adam Sarner.
That means a static campaign doesn’t account for real-time updates to a customer’s profile. And that includes their most recent online and offline engagement with your brand.
Failing to account for these dynamically refreshed customer profiles can render campaign messaging geared toward customers (e.g., an offer for a product they’ve since already bought) irrelevant, untimely, and — ultimately — a waste of time, resources, and spend.
(Not to mention you also end up squandering the lucrative opportunity to further engage your target audience by initiating a potentially negative brand interaction. Not ideal.)
Moreover, campaign management tools traditionally don’t integrate well with other marketing technologies. Oftentimes, to connect with other systems, a heavy lift is needed on the part of the aforementioned marketing technologists or an IT team.
Even though campaign management software can connect to core digital channels (website, ecommerce platform, mobile app, etc.), they aren’t the best tools for promoting individualized and personalized offers delivered through those marketing channels.
Only with time- and labor-intensive integration to other tools in one’s stack can that level of individualization and personalization be achieved without the power of a CDP.
Moving from a campaign management tool to a lifecycle orchestration platform
It’s clear campaign tools and “journey builders” excel at outbound messaging. That is, they help brands interact with customers where one presumes they are in their journeys.
But it’s also apparent these solutions — including and especially ones offered by the marketing cloud suites — come up well short when it comes to inbound marketing.
More specifically, with lifecycle orchestration: the more effective, individual-focused customer engagement model that enables marketers to be responsive to customer journeys as their behaviors, interests, and/or circumstances change.
Acknowledging this problem with campaign-oriented martech is one thing. Solving said problem proves a larger task for many large-scale organizations and their marketing teams.
If you want to eliminate your dependence on legacy campaign management tools (or, at the very least, stop trying to force your outbound-oriented marketing campaign software to orchestrate lifecycle messaging), you and your team need to ask yourselves:
“How can we smoothly transition from campaign tools to lifecycle orchestration technology so we don’t disrupt our marketing and continue to meet our KPIs?”
The answer to this will certainly depend on your current martech stack configuration, departmental resources, and marketing use cases. But the simplified answer is threefold:
- 1) Clearly define the issues you’ve experienced with your current campaign management tool and its drawbacks in terms of real-time marketing for your C-suite.
- 2) Get buy-in from leadership to invest in new martech that enables customer lifecycle orchestration based on a wholly unified set of first-party customer data.
- 3) Onboard a marketer-friendly solution (i.e., one marketing can own and operate on its own — meaning without needing help from data science) that enables you to track customers’ activity in actual real time and deliver the most compelling, applicable messaging to them across channels and based on their distinct lifecycle stages.
Regarding the latter point, your ideal martech is the customer data platform (CDP).
In BlueConic, for instance, marketers who use our CDP can build custom lifecycles geared toward various segments. These lifecycles consist of sequential, mutually exclusive stages:
- A contact starts in one, pre-determined lifecycle stage — one that’s based on a particular event (e.g., newsletter sign-up), customer behavior score (e.g., website recency, frequency, or momentum score), state (e.g., known or anonymous visitor), or any combination of these data points.
- Then, when a person has engaged with certain touchpoints (i.e., criteria defined by marketing, like clicking certain ads or opening certain emails) and reach a pre-set threshold (i.e., interact with a certain number of touchpoints overall or within a given period), they move to the next lifecycle stage.
- This gradual orchestration of the customer lifecycle can lead to whatever conversion is a given marketing team’s end goal. For example, this could when a purchase is made, subscription renewal is completed, or an onboarding program is complete.
Lifecycle orchestration has proven to help enterprise marketers across industries — particularly retailers — acquire and retain customers, build out their loyalty programs, enhance lifetime value, and, overall, mature their data-driven marketing strategies.
Campaign management, meanwhile, had its day in the sun for big brands. In today’s marketing and business landscape, a pure outbound approach just doesn’t cut it anymore.
As noted, campaigns house creative and need to be implemented in your campaign management tool, which can and should remain a valuable layer of your martech stack. Using a CDP in conjunction with your campaign management tools, though, can ensure you’re smart about what you send to your customers and prospects.
Ultimately, digital marketing campaigns will only deliver the desired results with up-to-date, first-party data — the kind persistently stored in the CDP and generated from daily customer lifecycle orchestration activities executed with the modern martech.
Adopt a lifecycle-centric strategy instead — one that puts customer identity at the heart of every interaction — along with a leading customer data platform with lifecycle marketing capabilities and your orchestration approach is sure to prosper in the long run.
Watch our webinar to learn how customer lifecycle orchestration leads to far greater ROI for enterprise brands when compared to marketing campaign management.