The MLM Maturity S-Curve
Marketing Lead Management (MLM) automation continues to be a priority investment – in our new global survey of 1500 business decision makers, 72% said they’ll invest in new MLM software – over half for their first time. The report is available here and it shows a vendor landscape for MLM, as voted by the business decision makers, which is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some, such as Evergage, who I’ve written about last month, described often as Customer Data Platform vendors
This is due to the range of project maturity across the landscape and I think that, over time, the prevalent transactional prospect/lead process in MLM will mature to a lifecycle-based customer engagement process in both B2C and B2B.
Our surveys and consulting work enables us to continually assess the maturity of marketing organizations (combination of organization, process and technology). We have identified five maturity phases for MLM and associated processes:
- Chaotic. Lead management neophytes commonly first focus on eMail campaigning to purchased or built-up lists. The goal is to distribute content to qualified contacts and provide rudimentary leads to Sales.
- Reactive. Initial fulfillment creative matures to a content marketing program earning an audience and new contacts from inbound lead capture. Marketing-qualified leads are generated and passed on.
- Stable. An operational MLM system shares content and run digital campaigns, nurturing and progressing leads through all digital channels, including indirect business channels such as subsidiaries, distributors, resellers (TCMA).
- Proactive. Marketing’s role matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a customer experience. The necessary functionality is found in more mature MLM solutions or from additional products. Sellers are supported as a vital experience channel and marketing at the account level becomes mission-critical.
- Predictive. Over time, the prospect/lead process changes to a more holistic Customer Engagement Management process. Every industry is morphing to an “as-a-service” business model and digital channels will increasingly be used to engage with customers throughout their lifecycle: from initial research through to product use or service consumption.
The various processes can be mapped against this model on what we call an S-Curve Maturity Model.
Whether you are trying to win over consumers to be active in communities and social media, or if you are trying to recruit a business buyer to be a loyal user and advocate, the classical lead generation paradigm for all marketers is going to be replaced by new relationship-based metrics of customer success.
Always keeping you informed! Peter