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“Successful personalized marketing will only be possible if you have access to data.”

Glen Calvert, Affectv

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Forget about your competitors, just focus on your customers

Jack Ma, Alibaba

Decoding Modern Marketing

7. THE CULTIVATION SYSTEM

The idea is to create a system that automates the delivery of the right content to the right person at the right time, in support of a personalized nurturing process. This is made possible by marketing technologies, good strategic planning and methodical execution. There are many moving pieces in the nurturing process so it’s helpful to see the big picture.

THE CULTIVATION SYSTEM

Objective:

  • Automate the process of nurturing leads and customers to conversion and beyond to loyalty & advocacy

Method:

  • Use strategic planning outputs to determine the right content and messaging for each persona at each interaction point in their journey.
  • Use CRM and MAP data and technology to identify the profile of new leads or customers.
  • Based on data profiles, use CRM and MAP to deliver the right content at the right time to each consumer.

Every time you connect with a consumer, but do not immediately turn that connection into a sale, you move into cultivation mode. The strategy is to figure out as much about the person, even though they might be anonymous, as possible and then to tailor a step-by-step process of engagement, education and persuasion, using content that reflects what you know about them.

The inherent two-way nature of the internet combined with marketing software like CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) MAP (Marketing Automation Platforms) and CMS (Content Management Systems) has made it possible for companies to automate the cultivation and lead nurturing process, much of which used to be handled by sales, thus enabling mass, personalized, consultative selling.

For this system to work you are going to need some or all of the software I mentioned above and perhaps a few other pieces of technology. The good news is that this marketing systems infrastructure has become quite mature and accessible for most companies. The bad news is that I’m going to go into it in some depth in a chapter 7, which will be about building the system.

BEFORE YOU CAN AUTOMATE A CULTIVATION SYSTEM YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE.

You will also need a solid content plan, engaging content and vehicles, such as your website and social sites that are designed to support this cultivation process.

Assuming you have already have those pieces in place, in practical terms there are two ways to get the system going. First, and most effective, is to get prospects to give you their email address.

WITH AN EMAIL ADDRESS IN HAND YOUR SOFTWARE CAN ASSOCIATE VIEWING ACTIVITY ON YOUR OWNED MEDIA WITH THAT PERSON.

That means that if someone comes to your website and looks at a specific product, say a premium lawnmower, you will know it. This identification is accomplished by tying someone’s email address to the anonymous IP address that is available for every digital visitor to your Owned media. It also let’s you use their email address to reach back out to them. You can, therefore, not only tailor what they see on your website every time they visit, but also keep the dialogue alive with emails that continue the conversation, such as providing advice about lawn maintenance. Alternatively, if you don’t get an email address, because many consumers are wary of giving it out, you can use their IP address to tailor their experience based on the activity you have observed for that IP address previously. This will let you present increasingly relevant content experiences to anonymous visitors on your website, but it will not let you proactively reach out using email.

In an ideal world you would skim off the 1-2% of ready-to-buy people immediately, then capture the email addresses of the remaining 98% and cultivate them until one-by-one they all become buyers. Not being an ideal world, of course, the battle is not only to close deals with those ready-to-buy, but to convert as many as possible of the rest into your cultivation program.