As with any financial investment, B2C companies need the ability to continually evaluate their marketing investments in current and future customers. The key challenge arises in figuring out how to allocate limited marketing resources to the right (“quality”) leads with the right combination of message, channel and cadence. Traditionally viewed as a B2B function, lead nurturing is gaining adoption with B2C organizations as a way to maximize engagement, refine cross-sell messaging and expand relationships with the highest value segments of their customer base, as well as drive higher conversion with prospects.
Two key goals of lead nurturing are: 1) identifying “hand-raisers”, those who demonstrated a product-specific interest or intent, and 2) determining the right contact cadence to accelerate the "consideration" process. The question of how much to invest (e.g., high-touch vs. low-touch contact frequency) can be addressed by examining a lead’s "fit," which measures the extent to which a customer/prospect’s profile is aligned with the ideal target profile for a given product. Key fit predictors might include propensity, affinity (likelihood to convert based on past interactions), age of relationship, or current or predicted future value (based on financial indicators). Ultimately, a successful lead nurturing program must incorporate both dimensions of “fit” (future value) and “interest” (engagement) by combining demographic and behavioral data to derive a lead scoring system. Based on the lead score, a marketing organization can prioritize their “hottest” leads and differentiate the nurturing cadence or treatments for higher fit segments.
To provide an example from retail banking, a checking customer who browses the money market page on his bank’s website and uses a savings calculator receives an "education-oriented" email the next day. A few days later, while browsing the site, he receives a targeted money market ad, which leads him to a personalized landing page where he proceeds to the online application. When he abandons the application, he gets a customized email with click-to-call options and link to schedule appointment with a personal banker.
An effective lead nurturing strategy will include lead capture and cleansing, lead scoring, and migration strategy (contact stream by segment, channel and product). A channel gap analysis that examines required changes to systems, staffing or sales processes is also recommended. Finally, a cohesive contact management strategy is critical, as a lead nurturing program will need to align with existing marketing initiatives.
While B2C organizations will vary in their lead scoring and nurturing approaches, a successful program must support an integrated, cross-channel sales process that optimizes the level of effort and investment by balancing automated and personal outreach, leveraging analytic models to differentiate treatment based on the expected return.