Companies spend the majority of their marketing budgets on customer acquisition, but once acquired, those hard-won customers tend to languish. Marketers invest their hard work and precious dollars in pay-per-click ads, online promotions, and electronic coupons in an effort to get customers to make that first purchase, but once those customers are in the door, they’re left largely to their own devices. And this is particularly prevalent with companies marketing exclusively to consumers.Yet, nurturing customer relationships is a crucial element of marketing, and budgets need to start accounting for this. One of the biggest trends I see happening now is that companies are finally starting to emphasize this over acquiring new customers. Now marketers are turning their attention to investing in the customer lifetime value (CLV): acquiring new buyers, growing their lifetime value, and converting them into advocates. And thanks to advances in technology, marketers can listen and respond to customers at every stage of their journey, keeping them engaged and helping accelerate them toward purchase decisions.A Strategic Shift Is in the AirCompanies pour money into attracting new customers with creative campaigns. But up until now, for a lot of companies, the ensuing retention marketing strategy has largely consisted of a lazy combination of phoned-in loyalty programs and generic discounts (10% off for signing up for your daily newsletter? No thanks). Even automated emails have traditionally been one-size-fits-all.Quite frankly, a lot of this has had to do with the lack of good tools. But as better customer nurturing technology has hit the marketplace with advancements in marketing automation, it’s driving a more intense focus on engagement marketing strategy. In the great nurturing versus acquisition debate, it’s largely about metrics. Today, marketers can finally justify their investments in nurture campaigns because we can measure and track the results of these efforts precisely. That allows marketers to shift focus from just the first click to the entire relationship lifecycle.