If you've followed my recent blogs on marketing trends and predictions for 2018, you'll be aware that lifecycle marketing is high on the agenda for many businesses, especially retailers. Consumers expect proactivity and relevancy from brands nowadays and this makes focusing on the entire customer lifecycle, a critical component for success.
What is lifecycle marketing?
In a nutshell, lifecycle marketing is the act of delivering relevant content at each stage of the customer journey. We call this journey, the lifecycle. This equates to more than just a birthday email, seasonal marketing campaigns or a loyal programme. These elements just scratch the surface in lifecycle marketing.
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 desired outcome is:
- An improved customer experience
- Improved revenue from marketing interactions
How technology has influenced lifecycle marketing
The rapid development of technology has armed brands with more tools and better data to help marketers own the customer lifecycle and tailor content more accurately. This means that interacting with prospects and customers at acquisition stage, through to customer retention and reengagement for the least active individuals in your database.
Here's what a typical customer lifecycle map for retailers might look like:
Here's an explanation of the key customer lifecycle stages shown above:
- Acquisition – here is where you are identifying prospects
- Consideration – this is the stage at which you look to convert prospects
- Getting excited/experience – this stage is where prospects have become customers and are awaiting product delivery or they're currently experiencing the product
- Retention – the retention stage is all about delighting your customers post-purchase to generate repeat business, through loyalty schemes, rewards or advocacy
- Win-back – when subscribers or customers stop engaging, they enter the win-back phase where marketers aim to reactivate them
Map out your customer lifecycle
We outlined five key lifecycle phases above, but you can have more or fewer stages, depending on the nature of your business. Map out your own customer lifecycle phases but be sure to keep it simple to start with.
Then, add your existing campaigns and marketing activities, such as welcome messages, cart abandonment emails and retargeting campaigns (via email marketing or even paid social ads). You want to establish your existing customer lifecycle, so that you can see where the gaps and opportunities are.
This sample customer lifecycle below shows how it might look for a retail brand:
Although this example shows some initial interaction and a degree or nurturing, there are many missed opportunities at key touchpoints throughout the customer relationship, especially when it comes to delighting customers post-purchase and retaining them. This is a pretty common scenario.
It is likely this brand is focusing too much on acquisition. There is a need for carefully targeted campaigns aimed at keeping customers engaged, incentivised and loyal.
How to enhance the customer lifecycle
Next, you need to get as many people as possible in your business on board with lifecycle marketing. Schedule in brainstorming and planning sessions with all your departments, so that you get the full picture of what your customers expect and need at each phase.
Consider the following questions:
- What do your key personas want or need?
- What incentives and rewards could you offer to keep customers loyal?
- How can you help make your campaigns more relevant?
- What will help your business grow and how does it align with your customer needs?
Get everything down on a whiteboard or a map with Post-notes and ideas. Get creative and put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Look to plug the gaps with highly valuable interactions.
The customer lifecycle below shows how it might look at the end of your session:
You can see all the different marketing strategies involved, how automated triggers come into play and the various tactics and opportunities there are to have better interactions with your prospects and customers.
Now it's time to set some of these processes in motion. The final piece of the puzzle is smarketing; ensuring your marketing, sales and customer service teams are harmonised, so everything fits together and nothing slips through the net!
The most important lesson you'll learn from lifecycle marketing strategies is putting your customer needs at the core of everything you do. Customer centricity and relevance are the keys to long-term marketing success and the customer lifecycle is what enables brands to drive successful communications with prospects and customers, at every touchpoint.
Email marketing is a hugely effective channel for lifecycle marketing strategy. If you want to take a leap with email marketing this year, we're offering retailers the chance to get a free email audit and roadmap from our leading email marketing experts. Apply for an audit now and see how we can help you supercharge your performance!
Enchant is a leading UK digital marketing agency, based in London. Specialising in email marketing services, CRM, inbound marketing and paid social advertising, our experienced marketing consultants have helped countless brands to improve their performance with customer-centric marketing strategies. Why not get in touch today and see how we can help you?