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The misnomer of 'customer lifecycle management'

Is customer lifecycle management really just about iterations of contact with customers and prospects?

By definition, campaign management is a process for companies to develop and deploy multiple-channel marketing campaigns to target groups or individuals and track the effect of those campaigns by customer segment over time.

Companies need to nurture customers not only in the acquisition phase but also throughout the customer relationship. Customer lifecycle management helps acquire new customers and solidify ongoing relationships by offering new products and services as customers continue a relationship with a company. By working on relationships over time, companies are also trying to prove their worth -- and boost their worth by adding value compared with competitors -- over time. The aim is always to follow the customer through one journey and hopefully take the customer on future journeys.

Imagine a customer journey that starts with an initial contact and goes through the sales cycle. What would you want to measure? Sales? Perhaps the profitability of a specific sales or marketing campaign? Yes. But wouldn't it also be good to continue that journey or start a new one based on the results from previous journeys? That's where a well-thought-out CRM campaign is invaluable.

What does that look like? To answer this question, consider four phases of customer lifecycle management (Figure 1).

campaign lifecycle management phases
Figure 1: Campaign lifecycle management employs four distinct phases.


Campaign management within CRM broadly falls within two main areas: campaigns for prospects or leads and campaigns for customers. Having said that, there are occasions when a campaign might target both groups within the same campaign, such as live events.

Most CRM systems allow a company to create a campaign and use it as a container for all campaign-related activities and tasks.

The cost of the event is included at the planning stage, but it's important to know whether a campaign is cost-effective before any planning is set in motion. Some campaigns incur little cost -- HTML email campaigns are an example. But campaigns that include events can involve a great deal of cost. Managing costs within CRM associated with the campaign will allow you to analyze the profitability at a later stage.

The aim of CLM is always to follow the customer through one journey and hopefully take the customer on future journeys.

The most important parts of a campaign are the customers, or potential customers, targeted. For some campaigns, it's easy to determine these groups. You may target all customers or prospects, but for others you may want to segment the target audience, and this is where CRM is invaluable. Most CRM systems have an advanced query or find function that allows you to segment customers or prospects based on data.

For example, imagine you have a campaign that highlights a new product or service. You decide to target previous clients or customers that had purchased a specific product or service in the past. Planning the campaign in this way stops the scatter-gun approach of blasting email at customers with little insight into their preferences.

Once your data set or marketing list is complete, planning the output of the campaign is next. It may be as simple as an HTML email or SMS message, but it may also be part of a wider campaign that includes many stages. So, at this stage, it's important to plan campaign responses, which is vital to ensure that responses are captured and measured and subsequent actions are implemented in the right order.


Execution of a campaign may be within a fixed time frame, as in the case of events. But with email campaigns, note when messages are sent out. Sending an email at 9 a.m. on a Monday may get lost in a barrage of messages, so plan and execute the campaign at the best time. Most CRM systems or campaign management add-ons enable you to schedule campaigns this way.

Live events involve a fixed date, but for many businesses, multiple events in their calendar are common. The ability to record resources needed as part of the execution is also vital.


The ability to track a campaign response is vital. Was the email read? Did the customer download the white paper? Who attended the event? Which sessions did they attend?

Score and analyze

Finally, score and analyze the campaign results. Did the client buy? Did they attend the event sessions? Which sessions did they attend? Was the revenue or interest generated of greater value than the cost of the campaign?

So … what now?

Here is where well-executed customer lifecycle and campaign management comes into its own. As campaigns are managed in a CRM system and the results measured, further campaigns can be planned and executed with greater granularity of effectiveness. When companies build a good foundation of campaign management, the lessons learned and data collected become an invaluable source of future campaign management.

In truth, there is no such thing as a campaign lifecycle. Instead, it's more about iterations of contact with customers and prospects. Successes in campaigns can lead to additional campaigns, and failures can be used to fine-tune further contact or interaction. At the heart of all of this is a CRM system that is more than just a data repository; it's the lifeblood of your business.

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