Systems & Empathy: A Unique Approach to Lifecycle Marketing

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Personalization has long-been hailed as marketing’s “holy grail” — the solution to the age-old problem of how to deliver the right message at the right time to the right person. Done right, personalization can benefit both the customer and the business — contributing to the growth of the brand, member base and customer value. 

Customer lifecycle marketing is a marketing strategy that businesses use to build and nurture relationships through the customer’s entire relationship with the brand on a deeply personal, or 1:1, basis. In other words, it is the strategy to achieve the promise of personalized or segment-of-one marketing (from first touch to conversion to advocacy). Modern marketing technology enables us to create intelligent customer-experience ecosystems that can recognize and respond to the context and mindset of an individual customer at a given time. 

Emerging technologies and an abundance of data have strengthened the marketer’s ability to know, understand and respond to customer needs in real-time. But these systems alone are not enough. They must be paired with deep customer empathy — the ability to see people as individuals and to connect their needs, expectations and aspirations with a way to make their lives better. Pairing systems and empathy provides the basis for powerful experiences that connect with consumers and motivate them to take action.

In a recent blog post, Strategy Director Kyle Jeffries wrote about thomasarts’ approach to data-driven personas to match messages to key audiences at various points across the journey (read it here). So, we’re going to focus on how our experience framework can take the persona and journey mapping work to design omnichannel, connected experiences.

Some of the key components of the TA framework that guide experience design include:

  • Job Stories: From data-driven personas and journey maps, we refine our understanding of the customer’s needs, pain points and the associated job to be done in each lifecycle stage through job stories. Constructing job stories is a framing technique that helps us get into and stay in the mindset of the consumer at a particular stage in the journey. This brief statement serves as a guidepost for designing micro-journeys, which allow for continuation of the journey when customers take a detour from the ideal journey
  • X-Data: The customer-side data that is available to personalize or optimize the experience. This can be data the customer shares explicitly or implicitly and can be quantitative or qualitative
  • O-Data: The company-side or operational data available to measure performance of the product or experience. These should be closely aligned to business goals and are meant to provide clarity about what’s happening with customers and the business. It should be quantitative. (Shout-out to Stephanie Thum, a widely-recognized leader in CX and sometime Twitter engager of the authors, for developing the concept of X+O data)
  • Technology Stack: The marketing technology systems and platforms required to design and deliver the experience
  • Nudges & Nurture: The connected parts of the experience (e.g. onsite cues, email campaigns, content and paid remarketing efforts) that extend the experience beyond just an individual touchpoint and which encourage conversion through tactics that relate to the consumer at each stage of the journey

At thomasarts, our experience design process brings together the best of design thinking, Jobs-To-Be-Done, and modern behavioral economics, pairing these with a deep understanding of the technologies that can deliver these experiences.

Over the last decade an interesting dynamic has evolved among marketing, strategy and technology so that strategy and technology are continually informing each other in a virtuous cycle (, “Strategy, marketing and technology are all intertwined”). This has given rise to a new breed of marketer: part marketer, part technologist. Marketing technologists are responsible for the intentional application of data and technology to orchestrate continuous customer relationships, making “segment-of-one” marketing a reality.

Get to know more about our technology-enabled vision of lifecycle marketing by contacting us and learn how we can use this unique framework to boost your next campaign. 


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September 22, 2020by lintu markose & jake christensen


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