The customer lifecycle used to be rather straightforward. Prospects would bob along the funnel in a linear fashion from need to purchase, to retention or repeat purchase. Each department would have its defined roles and contributions to make in order to turn once oblivious prospects into brand loyal customers. Alas, all this has changed. Digital ads no longer click with consumers. GDPR has put an end to prospect email blasts and the Cambridge Analytica scandal has rung in a new age of privacy. Consumers are more scrupulous than ever when it comes to handing over their personal data, empowered by free ad blocking technology and comprehensive privacy rights. In light of this, there’s a need to re-evaluate the customer lifecycle and how internal teams disseminate marketing messages, load the CRM with high-quality first-party data, personalise digital campaigns, and turn prospects into not just loyal customers but online advocates too. Business analysts Forrester predict $2.9bn spend shifted from ads to branded experiences by 2020. Brands need to re-think engagement, and connect directly with consumers using interactive digital experiences intentionally designed to support the customer lifecycle. For marketers who have relied on unreliable third-party data sets, this is quite a tumultuous time. However, it needn’t be for proactive marketers or those ready for change who are truly focused on delivering excellent personalised interactive digital experiences and driving first-party data acquisition.
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