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Question: What is life cycle marketing, and how can it help drive relevancy in my e-mail campaigns?

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Answer: Individualized life cycle marketing is the concept of delivering the best marketing to every customer, every time through strategically planned life cycle marketing programs, rather than randomly timed, one-off campaigns. Life cycle marketing relies on the context of recent life events, behavior or nonbehavior to deliver relevant and timely marketing messages. A profile update, a significant purchase, a request for information, a service outage or even a lull in account activity—any type of interaction an individual has with a company through any touch point—can represent important events in the life cycle. Capturing and understanding this behavior is what enables marketers to send contextually relevant messages perfectly timed to individual life cycles and tailored to individual preferences.

While the life cycle stage dictates the marketing approach used with the prospect or customer, an organization’s goals, resources and technology infrastructure determine the best mix of marketing tactics to use. The more data available, the more sophisticated the programs; the more systems in place, the more automated the marketing campaigns. But even with a few key pieces of information about each customer and a single outbound communications vehicle, marketers are already on the right path toward individualized life cycle marketing.

Individualized life cycle marketing enables more marketers to deliver on the “right message-right person-right time” promise—now. It provides a straightforward, customer-driven alternative to traditional marketer- or offer-driven targeting tactics, which often have limited relevance to a customer’s current situation and can be viewed as annoying interruptions. By adopting an aligned, customer-focused way of marketing, companies can create an intentional, differentiating customer experience that drives ROI in a fiercely competitive market.

Scott Olrich is CMO of e-mail service provider Responsys (www.responsys.com).

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