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When it comes to the shifting marketing landscape, there’s really one one constant—technology changes rapidly, and brands must adapt their strategies or face getting left behind. And with the speed of innovation increasing over time, this lesson is more important than ever.

Look at the sales funnel. This key business concept has been around since 1898 when E. St. Elmo Lewis first introduced the AIDA (Awareness/Interest/Desire/Action) model, providing brands with a way of conceptualizing their customer’s progression towards a purchase or other conversion. But with the rise of mobile and other emerging technologies, today’s customer journey isn’t as simple—or as linear—as the sales funnel depicts it, leading many brands to replace it with a lifecycle marketing model built around a more nuanced view of how customers engage with brands.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of a lifecycle marketing approach to customer engagement, and how the Braze platform can help make that vision a reality for your brand.

The Sales Funnel vs. The Lifecycle Marketing Model

Research shows that being consumer-centric is essential to customer engagement, retention, and, ultimately, company profitability. Thanks to modern technology, brands have access to an abundance of user attribute data, such as age, location, and interests. Combine user attribute data with customer journey mapping, and you have a recipe for creating meaningful and successful campaigns.

Sales funnels focus on squeezing potential customers into narrower and narrower buying stages, which ignores the user’s freedom of choice. These days, it’s not unusual to see a consumer’s engagement with a given brand shift almost in real-time, influenced by social media, the messages they receive, and their overall experience of the brand.

Lifecycle marketing, on the other hand, allows potential customers to be human. Brands can use modern customer engagement strategies—think triggered outreach, in-the-moment personalization, and responsive, cross-channel campaigns—to build trust and loyalty among current and potential customers. These efforts are scalable and sustainable over the long haul, making it possible for brands to improve their bottom line by retaining and monetizing their audiences in a thoughtful way.

How Braze Helped IBM Master Lifecycle Marketing

IBM is one of the oldest and largest computer technology companies in the world. As one of the leaders in the cloud computing space with over 150 products and services, IBM turned to Braze to help build its custom marketing technology stack that could support data agility and in-depth analysis for timely and effective campaigns utilizing customer insights.

IBM had a rich database full of user behavioral data, but disconnected systems hindered the company’s attempt at effective lifecycle messaging campaigns. IBM leveraged Braze and its Braze Alloys technology partners Amplitude and Segment to create interactive data feedback loops to support more effective customer engagement and messaging throughout the customer journey for IBM Cloud users.

What does that look like in practice? IBM uses Braze to support coordinated cross-channel messaging by leveraging user data insights from Segment to send targeted email campaigns and in-app messaging to cloud users. The exported data from the Braze platform is then analyzed in-depth using Amplitude’s comprehensive dashboards to better understand and optimize key KPIs and conversion rates.

With Braze, IBM can nurture cloud users throughout their lifecycle using educational onboarding outreach, messaging based on key engagement milestones like account setup, and targeted win-back campaigns for users who start to engage less often with the cloud. IBM was able to increase their conversion rates by 7% by setting up conversion events—such as “created new service” or “created object”—and messaging recipients when they completed the conversion. Additionally, IBM used Amplitude to build a cohort of users with an abandoned cart then sent a targeted email campaign to those users, which increased conversions by five times compared to the control group who received no messages and drove $800,000 in annual recurring revenue.

Final Thoughts

Lifecycle marketing is the new sales funnel for savvy consumer-centric brands looking to increase customer engagement, retention, and profitability—and the Braze customer engagement platform is built to make all that possible.

For more innovative ways to drive customer engagement, download our Lifecycle Marketing Best Practices guide. And to learn more about Braze and how it’s architected to support today’s lifecycle marketing strategies, check out our look at the Braze Vertical Engagement Stack.