Every customer goes through a journey when they buy goods or services from a business. This is known as a lifecycle. Lifecycles can be one single transaction or years in length. There is no specific time parameters because every customer is unique in their journey and unique within your business.
There are six life stages that a customer can go through.
- Retain & Engage
We used to think of Lifecycle as liner… Where a customer moves neatly along the journey, but in today’s society we need now think of customer lifecycle as being more fluid.
When people first thing about Marketing it’s usually the sexy stuff, TV adverts, radio, magazines but this is usually less than half the story. Most business have two main goals
1. Acquire new customers and
2. Retain the ones you’ve got.
Lifecycle Marketing simply splits these two goals into more detail. Customers are on a journey with your business and talking to them in the right way at the right time is crucial.
- Acquisition & Welcome
- Develop & Retain
Customers move in and out of purchase ready behaviour. Let’s talk through one example to give you a flavour. Think about yourself and buying a car.
- Acquisition, Welcome & Activation – Car brands need to promote themselves to you, this through Above the Line Marketing. TV, Radio, Billboards, the cars themselves on the road that you pass. You’ll also likely discuss the topic with those around you and be subject to word of mouth influence.
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, the sales floor becomes the next Marketing space. The sales space you enter should be on brand, the customer service on point and your team knowledge and ready to put your customer first.
The customer could purchase or they could walk away. If the customer purchases, kudos! If the customer doesn’t, then you need to consider A) Why? B) what can you do to win them back? In Image 2, the customer has moved from Acquisition to Re-activation.
- Develop & Retain – Once you’ve bought your car the brand needs to work to retain and engage you. In Car world this means in both maintenance, Insurances, and future purchases. You want the customer to come to you for MOT, Services, Insurance, Warranty Protection, etc. your job is to identify what these moments are and capture the customer at the right time. Not every customer buys their car on the same day, so their needs for these additional product will in when they need them. Be mindful of this!
- Loyal – we mentioned earlier in the Acquisition phase that customers might hear about your brand through Word of Mouth. Your goal is to treat every customer SO well that they become an advocate for you, telling anyone who’ll listen about how fabulous of a business you have and why they should pick your brand. This advocacy can’t be bought. This has to come from their experience.
- Re-Engage – Customers can become disengaged with your brand at any point. This can be through after care sales experience, costs, or a number of other reasons. Your aim to to avoid this! Try to think about the potential customer experience and how you can ensure that it remains relevant, on brand and Customer First.
- Re-Activation – Annnnnnd they’ve gone. You might see this behaviour build over time, or it might drop off suddenly. Customers might start booking the additional services, MOT’s, Service’s, etc elsewhere. Or it might be as quick as buying a new car elsewhere. Either way when you notice the distance between you and the customer you need to consider what you can do to win them back!
As with all the areas of Marketing that we’ve discussed you don’t have to do it all at once. Even large corporations with huge marketing budgets don’t tick off every stage, and if they do some of them do it badly. Do what you can manage and execute it well!