With the proliferation of new and emerging channels, marketers continue to struggle to determine where to invest their limited marketing dollars to achieve their acquisition objectives in the most effective way.

As new customers are acquired, companies will track hundreds of metrics, the results will be analyzed, and the model will be revised in an attempt to make better media purchases during the next campaign. And so it goes for the cost of customer acquisition.

But what about the cost of engaging with your customers across the entire lifecycle? What would it mean to you, your customers, and your organization if you knew which lever to pull, at which time, across which channel, and at which stage of the customer lifecycle, to maximize your return on investment?

It's time to relinquish traditional marketing and customer service metrics for performance metrics that are provocative, compelling, and defensible. But without customer data, business rules, and decision-making tools, connecting the dots will be impossible.

So before embarking on a successful return on customer engagement strategy, organizations must implement the following five key components to ensure a more relevant, timely, and accurate measurement of customer engagement—and, ultimately, future business performance.

1. Central Repository of Data

Savvy marketers must have the ability to organize and prioritize every piece of customer interaction data as they look for behavioral clues and actionable insights across every customer interaction. On the front end, that should include known transactional, demographic, and behavioral data about each customer, as well as information regarding their channel preferences, product purchases, and response history to offers.

Companies should also capture customer feedback from satisfaction surveys, quality assurance scores, and key performance indicator results. By capturing the right data all in one place, marketing leaders will have a better understanding of their customers while uncovering valuable insight to help inform the right customer engagement strategy.

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image of John Hoholik

John Hoholik is the chief growth officer for ACCENT Marketing Services, a member of the MDC Partners Inc. network and provider of multichannel customer engagement solutions for brands.

LinkedIn: John Hoholik

Twitter: @JohnHoholik