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Customer Lifecycle Marketing: A Strategic Approach to Reach & Retain Customers (Part 1)

Survival in the hyper competitive market isn’t just about to acquire the most customers, but keeping them coming back over time. Understanding the progression of a customer’s journey with the brand is a critical component in building brand loyalty and creating brand advocacy. It helps to decide how, when, and where to interact with a customer to drive maximum engagement over the period of customer journey. A customer’s lifecycle describes their journey through the buying cycle. It includes every interaction they have with the brand along the way and covers every marketing channel those interactions happen on. Creating a customer lifecycle marketing strategy helps the marketer to optimize each and every customer interaction.

All customers progress through a series of phases during their relationship with a brand. Understanding – and mapping out – the customer lifecycle of your particular business is an important step in tailoring your marketing strategies. For understanding of customer lifecycle, we can categorize the customers based on the level of activity or engagement toward the brand.

Customer Category

Figure 01: Category and Granular Series of Customer | Source: Compiled by Author from Internet | Copyright © 2020 – iammoulude.wordpress.com. All right reserved.

 

The Importance of Customer Experience

Satisfying existing customers is a much more efficient way to ensure revenue generation than acquiring new ones. Existing customers are less costly to make happy, tend to purchase more than new customers, and are generally more valuable than somebody new. And the best way to create loyal customer and make them brand advocate is giving better experience with the product or brand.

According to data collected by Gartner, about 80% of a company’s future profits come from 20% of its existing customers. Retaining customer one of the most critical success factor for business and revenue growth. Improving loyalty through customer lifecycle engagement impact factors add up to stronger businesses:

Importance of Customer Experince

Figure 02: Importance of Customer Experience | Source: Compiled by Author from Internet | Copyright © 2020 – iammoulude.wordpress.com. All right reserved.

 

Rather continue emphasize on the marketing funnel, marketers should focus on customer experience to make the current customers happier. Keeping existing customers satisfied leads them to talk to others, while if current customers are not happy then it is marketing folly to invest more in acquiring new customers, as they will suffer the same dissatisfaction.

Introduction to Lifecycle Marketing

Customer lifecycle marketing is a series of marketing activities to personalized customer communications, based on recognizing that different marketing messages and strategies work best for customers at different stages of their journey with a brand.

In a nutshell, lifecycle marketing is the term that defines all strategies that businesses use to attract clients, convert, retain, and leverage with the purpose to boost revenue and grow their brands. In order to fully adopt lifecycle marketing strategies, marketers need to map their customer lifecycle and implement strategies that result in subscribers, prospects and customers getting relevant interactions at key touchpoints and milestones throughout the lifecycle.

The goals of customer lifecycle marketing align closely with the stages explained above:

    • Nurture prospects into making their first purchase on your site.
    • Turn one-time buyers into repeat purchasers.
    • Convert returning customers into your loyal, long-term buyers.
    • Provide quality support to new and repeat customers.
    • Reactivate “at risk” customers (buyers that have passed the time when they were expected to complete an order) before they lapse.
    • Reactivate lapsed customers into active buyers.
    • Engage with the customer base and keep tabs on whether they are seeing value.

Selling to your current/active customers can be very profitable; that’s why marketers should add customer lifecycle marketing to their marketing strategy. With lifecycle marketing tools like Intercom, you can effectively drive conversions across every touch point of the customer lifecycle, closing more deals and increasing retention long term. Customer lifecycle marketing is one of the most undervalued overarching strategies for e-commerce companies, and it should be your priority in lieu of a hyper-focus on just acquisition or retention.

Customer Lifecycle Stages and Marketing Strategy

When talking about customer lifecycle marketing, we need to take into consideration the main stages that take a buyer from the first acquaintance with your product or service through purchase, loyalty, and retention. The customer lifecycle of every business is unique. Some companies like have incredibly short customer lifecycles where every purchase sets up the customer to return soon after while other companies have longer cycles with different goals. The customer lifecycle stages that are included in the marketing funnel can be visualized with the help of following picture.

Lifecycle Stages

Customer Lifecycle Stages

 

Let’s discuss the customer lifecycle stages that are included in the marketing funnel in more details.

1. Awareness

The awareness stage includes the acquaintance of a customer with the brand and its offerings. In this stage a customer typically becomes familiar with a company long before the actual offers reaches the customer. Through active promotion of the brand through various channels and word of mouth, people get a general understanding of the offer.

Awareness Phase Marketing Strategies

      • Outreach and an influencer marketing strategy to expose the brand to key target audiences.
      • Graphics those are easy to read, posts that people laugh at and want to share, and short videos all fall into this category. If you want to go viral, this is the stage to try for it.
      • Create content that targets low-competition keywords that audiences would be searching for at this time.
      • Guest blogging opportunities that to create content that will get in front of the ideal audience.

2. Engagement

Once the prospect access more information about the brand, they are likely to start paying more attention to the feedback that fellow customers shared about their cooperation with the brand. As soon as a customer orders something from you and enjoys the quality of the item/service that you provided, it’s likely they will be looking for more channels to connect with you and follow your updates.

Engagement Phase Marketing Strategies

      • Focus on blog content and website traffic-driving marketing tactics to bring people to the website and present interesting and valuable content to keep them there.

      • The call to actions can be stronger and more direct than in the awareness stage, as customers are drawn to connect with your brand on a deeper level.

3. Evaluation

Every prospect look through customer reviews before making purchasing decisions. Also, they compare similar offers from different brands in order to choose one with the best quality and cost. One of the best ways to stand out from your competition is providing robust digital self-service to analyze and evaluate the brand offers.

Evaluation Phase Marketing Strategies

      • Bottom-funnel content is often when brands turn to outreach strategies for their marketing efforts.

      • Provide as much information as you can communicate with the customer.

      • Create detailed blog articles, in-depth evergreen content, and customer-generated media like reviews and testimonials to help customers decide if they’re making the best choice.

      • Help customers find evaluation phase content by targeting buyer keywords and that connect shoppers with content that helps them learn, compare, and read reviews.

4. Purchase

This is the moment when a customer makes the final decision to buy your product. Providing maximum support at this stage is essential to ensure that prospect don’t abandon the purchase.

Purchase Phase Marketing Strategies

      • Make it easy for prospects to know exactly what they need to do to make their purchase.

      • Use clear call to actions that advise what steps to take and remove any friction in your purchase process.

5. Post Purchase

Apart from delivering high-quality products and services, it’s important to offer exceptional support. Every interaction with customer support reps should convince the buyer that they not just making her place an order but build a relationship with the brand.

Post-Purchase Phase Marketing Strategies

      • Provide quality support services and experience to make sure that customer feels important.

      • Engage customers after they buy with follow-up surveys and customer care content.

      • Use social media and blog content to give customers advice to maximize the value of their purchase.

      • Spent a lot of time and effort landing a customer.

6. Loyalty

As the prospect is now a customer, marketer need to establish a long-lasting connection with the customer and create brand loyalty. An emotional bond is requires to develop by providing quality services and support.

Loyalty Marketing Strategies

      • Build this relationship by doing things that make customers feel special and connected to the brand.

      • Offer customer loyalty programs, exclusive experiences for active customers, rewards for customer feedback, referral programs, or even affiliate marketing opportunities.

7. Advocacy

A loyal customer can be biggest brand advocate for more prospects. With continuous effort and delighted service the marker needs to ensure that the customer turn loyal advocates of the brand.

Advocacy Marketing Strategies

      • Develop a cult following of vocal customers who have strong opinions about the brand.

      • Communicate clearly with customers and show that their feedback is valued.

 

Final Thoughts

Customer lifecycle approaches vary in different industries. However, every brand is special, featuring its unique approaches that work with the target users exclusively. By creating a better experience for the customers, it makes easy for them to choose the brand again and again. Start by taking the time to map out a customer’s typical journey with the brand, make the best effort to them to the next stage in the lifecycle. Creating a better journey for the customers will pay back with a revenue boost.

 

About Md. Moulude Hossain

FinTech | Digital Payment | Product Strategy | Product Management | EMV | Business Development

Discussion

12 thoughts on “Customer Lifecycle Marketing: A Strategic Approach to Reach & Retain Customers (Part 1)

  1. Understanding customer lifecycle is key to design marketing strategy. Customer choice, preference and expectation toward a brand or product evolved over time. The company need to respond to the evolution through its marketing strategy and product diversification.

    Posted by Razib Ahmed | January 18, 2020, 10:40 pm
    • Customer lifecycle approaches vary in different industries, every brand is special, featuring its unique approaches that work with the target users exclusively. Whichever strategies you select, the thing that we can state with 100% confidence is that you need to communicate with your audience and provide when with the proper assistance.

      Posted by Md. Moulude Hossain | January 22, 2020, 1:13 pm
  2. The author has gone through so much thinking and research for writing this article. Thank you for sharing this great article with us. This blog is worth to read. Keep sharing this kind of post in the future.

    Posted by Saidul Islam Khan | January 31, 2020, 12:39 pm
  3. Lifecycle marketing and customer relationship management go hand in hand. Both focus on increasing conversions and retention, building your business a strong, solid customer base and a community of brand ambassadors advocating on your behalf.

    Posted by Nabil Sufian | April 8, 2020, 11:19 pm
  4. This is something that fail to do when creating content on their blogs. They don’t produce content that leads their readers or prospects into taking an action.

    Posted by Saiful Islam Sagor | May 7, 2020, 1:23 pm
  5. I agree consumers (B2B and B2C) look for and need relevant content during all phases of the buying cycle hence the need for holistic approach. Companies who do this are engaging, acquiring, and keeping customers or, like you said, experiencing “…shorter sales cycles, better customer relationships, and more word of mouth.”

    Posted by Shohidul Islam | May 20, 2020, 11:25 am
  6. I think customers search at every phase of the buying cycle. They just use different query grammar depending on where they are. If you include the verb representing their information task (analyze, compare, purchase, develop, deploy, upgrade), you can get them to land on task-appropriate pages from the SERP. They also tend to click paid results more frequently when they’re ready to buy. So a paid campaign that uses single-offer landing pages works well in the purchase phase.

    Posted by Mirza Tawseef Hasan | May 29, 2020, 12:26 pm
  7. The article explain the most important distinction in the Marketing Lifecycle vs. sales funnel as an “open pathway.” Our customers are on a pathway that THEY direct. Not in a “funnel” that WE close them on or direct them in. This is the biggest differentiation point I’d like marketers to see.

    Posted by Arif R Chowdhury | June 4, 2020, 12:43 pm
    • Exactly. Its a reiterative cycle – not just a directed “product” purchase funnel. Has definite nurturing functions (cyclic) both before and after the first sale. Obviously certain industries lend themselves more to the life cycle approach.

      Posted by Md. Moulude Hossain | June 5, 2020, 6:45 pm

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