The Secrets of Successful Lifecycle Marketing
Getting someone to purchase your product or service is wonderful, but do you know what’s really cool? Getting them to buy it over and over again for the rest of their lives, because they love it that much. What’s even better is when they trust and enjoy your brand so much that they help spread the word about it to their friends and family, inviting them into the fold as well. That’s the relationship lifecycle marketing aims to create.
The purpose of customer lifecycle marketing is to engage customers, increase sales, and foster long-term loyalty — and sales funnels alone don’t get the job done anymore. While sales funnels focus entirely on converting cold leads into one-time purchases, building deep, personalized relationships with customers pays much higher dividends. Lifecycle marketing leads to happier customers, more sales, better ROI on marketing budgets, and flourishing brands.
What is Lifecycle Marketing?
Customer loyalty is earned, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Businesses that want to forge long-lasting relationships with consumers need to consider each customer’s journey over the course of their lifetime. Yet, most companies focus solely on new lead generation, even though returning customers spend nearly 70% more than new buyers and you’re up to 14 times more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new customer.
So, what is customer lifecycle marketing? It’s the process of growing your customer base, turning new customers into repeat buyers, and fostering true loyalty that turns your customers into your biggest cheerleaders. This is accomplished by understanding what experiences and communications your customers seek and then delivering at just the right time.
The Marketing Lifecycle Stages
The stages of the customer lifecycle are defined differently across the marketing world, but the simplest version is divided into four lifecycle marketing stages:
In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell writes that “buyers make most decisions by relying on their two-second first impressions based on stored memories, images, and feelings.” In the first stage of the customer marketing lifecycle, the customer gets their first impression of your brand. Marketing messages at this stage should primarily focus on explaining what your brand is all about — like your values, and your place in the market. Strive to understand who your potential customers are and what they’re looking for, and you’ll be able to craft your first impressions skillfully.
With their interest sparked, most prospective customers will seek out more information about your brand by checking out your website or social media accounts. Your brand, meanwhile, should be looking to forge a connection quickly by utilizing lifecycle marketing automation tactics including customer engagement and welcome campaigns. With automated lifecycle marketing, you can ensure that every soon-to-be-customer receives a personalized welcome message or a welcome coupon or discount code to get them started.
By this point in the lifecycle marketing process, new customers will understand their needs and weigh their options. They might seek out reviews, or comparison-shop at competitor websites. Your brand communications should seek to anticipate and address potential objections, as well as continue to nurture the customer’s growing interest in your brand. Your automated lifecycle marketing should continue to make them feel welcome and involved through personalized messaging. Then, once the customer makes the decision to do business with you, your lifecycle marketing plan should focus on congratulating them and providing avenues for additional engagement or cross-purchasing. This is a prime opportunity to invite them to join a loyalty program, for example.
Believe it or not, even with all the modern advancements in marketing, word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective methods of generating leads:
- 90% of consumers are more likely to trust a recommended brand, even if the recommendation comes from a stranger
- 88% trust brands the most when it’s a friend or family member who endorses the brand
This is why the ultimate goal of lifecycle marketing is to convert casual shoppers into active marketers for your brand, spreading the word and providing valuable social proof to other potential buyers.
If your customer lifecycle strategy works, your new customers will eventually become your brand evangelists, providing value far beyond the revenue they personally generate.
A Customer Lifecycle Strategy that Works (The Lifecycle Marketing Sandwich)
It seems like everyone’s got a lifecycle marketing plan these days; as with everything else, some are better than others. Simon Data’s proprietary Lifecycle Marketing Sandwich offers a more insightful evolution of the basic lifecycle marketing stages, sandwiching three parallel lifecycles:
- The sales funnel-style lifecycle, which focuses on the brand’s point of view
- The customer lifecycle, which defines when and how often the customer buys products and how they use those products
- The shared loyalty lifecycle, which tracks the relationship between the customer and the brand
These lifecycles are interconnected, and the customer’s path in one lifecycle affects their position along the others. By understanding how these complimentary journeys co-mingle, and injecting that knowledge with uniquely rich customer data, marketers can build more thoughtful campaigns that perform unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
Reimagining Lifecycle Marketing with a Customer Data Platform
Only 8% of customers consider themselves firm loyalists to products, and nearly 97% of emails don’t receive a click-through. Frankly, building loyalty is hard. And that’s where the Customer Data Platform comes in.
Lifecycle marketing only works when brands take a personalized approach for each unique customer. Doing that at scale requires lifecycle marketing automation, and platforms like Simon CDP make that possible. Here’s how:
1. Next-level automated personalization
CDPs allow for deep personalization that goes far beyond a customer’s name in an email subject line (though even that can increase open rates by 50%). Automated communications can take into account a customer’s personal tastes, previous buying history, geographical location, and a whole host of other data to maximize the effectiveness of the messages they receive, no matter whether the channel is email, SMS, social media, or elsewhere.
2. Laser-focused automated trigger marketing
By tracking customer behavior, we can tell exactly what marketing lifestyle stages customers are in. A Customer Data Platform can trigger a timely message when a customer abandons a shopping cart, views a new product on your website, or reads information about your new loyalty program.
3. Enlightening customer context
Customer Data Platforms help marketers collect and organize more and better data, allowing for dynamic customer life cycle segmentation (and even self-segmentation) and a deeper understanding of who your customers are. Automated lifecycle marketing messages are further customized based on this data, so the right customers are getting the messages that are right for them.
Why Industry Leaders Choose Simon Data for Lifecycle Marketing Automation
Industry leaders like Venmo, Tripadvisor, ASOS, and BarkBox use The Simon Platform to stay at the top of their game and leave their competition in the dust. Simon CDP is a comprehensive next-gen platform that unites all of your company’s data with a powerful suite of lifecycle marketing tools.
- A cross-channel approach weaves your brand into the fabric of your customers’ lives. Since lifecycle marketing is about customers making room in their life for your brand, a consistent presence across multiple channels and devices is key. Your customers don’t live on one platform — they switch devices and channels seamlessly and compulsively, and attention spans are shorter than ever. Simon Data supports cross-channel campaigns that interact with customers across channels — the same way their everyday human relationships work.
- Smart trigger marketing builds loyalty. Loyalty is built across multiple interactions and communications. The batch-and-blast techniques of yesteryear no longer suffice, but automated drips based on customer behavior do. Simon CDP allows for sophisticated trigger marketing flows that respond dynamically to what your customers are doing. That may mean thanking them for making a purchase and inviting them to join a loyalty program or encouraging them to share their experience on social media. It may be dropping them a line on their birthday or anniversary, ortouching base to remind them of your new offerings if they haven’t visited your website in a while.
A simpler workflow with much bigger results. Give your marketing team a central command hub where they’ve got access to the data and tools they need without having to constantly switch windows and manually move information around. Simon CDP increases your team’s power while simultaneously freeing up time, giving them the bandwidth to focus their creativity on nurturing those all-important lifelong customer relationships.