What is Lifecycle Marketing?

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.

  1. Acquisition
  2. Welcome
  3. Retain & Engage
  4. Advocacy
  5. Disengaged
  6. Lapsed

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.

Lifecycle Marketing – Linear
Image 1

Lifecycle Marketing – Fluid
Image 2

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

  • Acquisition & Welcome
  • Activation

Retention

  • Develop & Retain
  • Loyal
  • Re-Engage
  • Re-activate

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

  • 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.

Retention

  • 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!


What is Digital Marketing and why do I need it?

Put simply, Digital Marketing is the promotion of a brand’s products and services online.

With people spending more and more time online nowadays, brands are using digital marketing to connect with their current customers and target audience.

Digital Marketing covers everything from websites and social media, to email marketing and online advertising, and with such a broad scope of assets, it gives businesses the ability for more in-depth targeting and analysis.

If your target audience is spending any time at all online, then you need to be there with them so your brand and products or services are front of mind.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can use Digital Marketing…

Websites

This feels like a given, but this is a fundamental part of Digital Marketing. Your website should act like the shop window for your brand and communicate the messages you want to hit your audience with. You might even have an online shop on your website to sell directly to your customers. They can also be used to hold blog content and news, and act as a community for your customers.

Social Media

Like it or loathe it, a huge percentage of the population spends its time on social media, so it makes sense for you to be there too. The key here is to being present on channels that are relevant to you and your customer. Some channels you might want to consider are

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube

Content Marketing

Content Marketing covers everything from your website content, to press releases, case studies and blog articles. It’s used for generating brand awareness and also as a tool to move online customers through the purchasing funnel.

Email

Email Marketing is delivering your message directly into your audience’s inbox. Emails might be transaction based (e.g. order confirmations, discounts and sales) or relationship based (e.g. brand messages and new products).

Advertising

Online Advertising comes in many forms and is how you promote your brand to an audience you might not organically be able to reach. This might include

  • Pay-per-click advertising: directing traffic to your website through sponsored posts in search engines
  • Affiliates: where another company promotes your products or services through their website in return for commission
  • Re-targeting: users are shown your adverts when they’ve previously visited your website

So that’s a whistle-stop introduction to start your own Digital Marketing. Be sure to keep an eye out for more detailed guides to the elements above.

 

Reporting 101

Reporting for marketing campaigns is key for you to understand what your marketing investment is delivering back to your business and for you to understand the impact that it is having on your customers. Your goal is to be having a positive impact on both!

If you’re investing money into marketing and able to understand the return you’re more likely to spend future investment wisely.

What should I be reporting on? It does depend on the marketing activity you ran, the objective and the channel. Ultimately there are four critical elements to reporting…

  1. How much did your marketing campaign cost you?
  2. Did anything happen because of your marketing? Any leads achieved? Any sales driven? Enquires? Visits to your website? New followers on social media?
  3. Can you place a value of what happened?
  4. Would you have got those sales if you hadn’t done the marketing?

There are lots of ways that you can measure your campaigns, especially when it comes to different channels, here are our top 10 metrics to measure:

  1. Response rate
  2. Cost per lead
  3. Sales
  4. Cost of activity
  5. Return on Investment (ROI)
  6. Total sales generated
  7. Number of customers acquired
  8. Click through rate
  9. Organic traffic
  10. Visits / follows

The more you know about each campaign that you deliver for marketing the more you’ll be able to demonstrate the value that it brings to the business and unlock bigger budgets for the future.

SOSTAC Planning Model

What is SOSTAC?

SOSTAC is a Marketing model which can be used to assist in building Marketing plans that means it can be used for overall plans and strategies, as well as smaller topic areas and tactical Marketing.

It breaks down the planning process into six areas, starting with where you are now, through your plans and to how you’ll eventually measure them. Let’s take a look at those areas in more detail…

Situation – Where are we now?

This section is about showing where you are now and looking at what’s currently working or not working. For the areas where things aren’t working quite so well at the minute, think about what you can do to change them.

You can use a SWOT analysis to help identify any areas you’d like to improve as well as your current position and opportunities within the market.

Objectives – Where do we want to be?

It’s important to set out what it is you want to achieve, otherwise how will you you know if you got there? Think about what success looks like and what position you want to be in by the end of the time period.

For wider Marketing plans, you might want to focus on customer acquisition or retention, or increasing satisfaction amongst your audience.

For more tactical plans, you might want to focus on getting more social followers, a higher click through rate or more website traffic.

Just make sure you make your objectives SMART so that they’re as detailed as they can be and you can measure on them.

Strategy – How will we get there?

Use this section to think about how you’re going to achieve these objectives based on your Situational Analysis.

Think about who it is it you’re going to target and and what your value proposition is, so that you know what messages you’re going to be conveying to them.

Tactics – What is our plan to get there?

This is about the finer details of your plan. You already know what messages you’re going to be talking about and to who, but how will you do it? Think about all the channels and assets you have available to you and whether you can use them to achieve your objectives. The key here is around relevance, just because you have a channel doesn’t mean it’s right for your audience, challenge yourself.

Actions – How will we deliver our plan?

What actions will need to be taken to deliver your tactics? Add to your plan who is actually going to be doing those elements and when. It might be that you’ll need some additional support and resource in order to achieve your plan, how much will it cost? Etc.

Control – Did we get there?

The last section is about measurement and control. If your objectives were SMART, there’ll be some key metrics that you can measure against to track your progress.

It’s important to measure your activity regularly and often so you can make any changes you need to and be sure that your efforts are working.

And there you have it! A simple model that will help you get the foundations of your plan started and make sure you don’t miss anything. Happy Planning!

What are SMART Objectives and why do I need them?

SMART is an acronym that guides you with each part of an objective. You’ll find that consistently across all areas of marketing as well as your business as a whole that you require objectives; when you write your marketing plan, when your thinking about introducing a new channel, when writing your social media plan etc.

Having strong objectives will A) make you focus your efforts and B) allow you to really measure how far you’ve come.

We’ll take a look at some good and bad objectives and explain how SMART can help you.

Example of a bad objective (tut tut)

Make more revenue

Example of an OK objective (hmmm)

Make more revenue by increasing production hours

Using the SMART acronym you can sense check whether you have incorporated each letter/aspect in your objective. Let’s take a look at each letter and then how this translates to a great objective!

S – Specific

  • Be specific, don’t be vague with your objective.

M- Measureable

  • How will you know if you’ve met your objective or not without key measurements i.e. generate revenue. OR Generate £100K in revenue

A – Actionable

  • How are you going to achieve this goal. If you want to generate more revenue, how are you going to make this happen? Hope alone won’t deliver returns.

R – Realistic

  • There isn’t any point in setting a target you’ll achieve easily but neither is setting an impossible one. If it’s realistic for you business to generate £10,000 in revenue or £1M in revenue

T – Timely

  • In what timeframe do you want to achieve the goal and what period of time does the goal consider… a day, a month, a year?

Example of a great objective

  • Generate an additional £10,000 in revenue by expanding production hours and increasing stock availability by the end of 2019.
  • Launch website to enable online bookings and sales for our service by 20th April 2019, working to deliver 10% of the total revenue within 6 months of live.

It might take a little time to write your first few SMART objectives, but as you become more confident in the approach you’ll get faster.

Good luck, happy SMART objective writing.

What is Direct Mail and do I need it?

Direct Mail is when a marketing communication is sent directly to a customers home. There are different types of direct mail, just think about your own door mat for a moment…

Not addressed to you

Mail that’s been pushed through your door but the sender doesn’t know who you are… this could be a local business, takeaway promotions, charity recycling bags, a whole host of things you didn’t ask for. Most of us consider this junk mail.

Addressed to you

This is mail that been sent to you specifically. A wide range of types of mailing, it could be your bank statement, insurance renewal, election registry or your latest fashion catalogue, coupons from your supermarket, discounts on your next department store purchase.

The main difference is that one of the communications is invited and accepted by the customer, the other is slightly frown upon. Now, I’m not saying that ‘junk mail’ doesn’t work, it absolutely has its place. The important thing is to consider your whether Direct Mail is right for your marketing campaign.

Pros:

  • Lands direct with the customer
  • Powerful single connection with customer
  • Measureable
  • Strong call to action can drive customers online
  • Can work as part of a multi channel strategy
  • Good at generating sales/leads
  • Delivers brand awareness

Cons

  • Costly
  • Response rates are typically lower than other channels
  • Can be seen as junk mail

Do you think your business needs Direct mail? 

What is Email Marketing?

The title says it all…. It’s Marketing you send through an email to your customers!

Email is a channel that allows you to drop directly into a customers inbox, but it does mean that you have to have gathered their email address data and be storing it correctly.

There are lots of benefits to Email Marketing, the customer has voluntarily given you their details, so they are expecting to hear from you, always a winner!

  • Your customer is expecting to hear from you – they already know your brand
  • It’s low cost
  • Email is fast
  • It’s measureable
  • Gives you a good ROI
  • Ability to link customers straight to your website

They’ll be two types of emails that land; see if you can spot them in your inbox…

Transactional based emails – these consist of:

  • Order confirmation
  • Delivery confirmation
  • Discounts
  • Sales  
  • Customer survey
  • Christmas opening hours

Relationship based emails – these consist of:

  • Brand messages
  • Early access or special offers available to only them
  • Loyalty messages
  • New products/ranges/services announcements
  • Happy Birthday
  • Seasonal messages

Emails are typically low cost to send and today’s technology means you don’t need to be a graphic designer or HMTL coder to send an email.

You can create email templates, a preset structure for each email you want to send. That way you don’t have to recreate the wheel every time you need to send.

There are also simple technologies that mean you can send triggered emails. These are triggered to you automatically once you do a set action. i.e. if you place an order online then you’ll get a email confirming you order, it happens almost instantly! There isn’t someone sat behind a computer waiting for you to order and send you the email, this is set up as a trigger.

When you’re thinking about your own email approach I’d always suggest that you think about your own inbox and what your receiving from companies you’ve shared your email address with and use these as inspiration.

Do you need Email Marketing?

The answer, is simple, yes! In today’s society customers expect emails of both transactional and relational to land in their inbox and if you’re not there you can bet that your competitors are.

There are some caveats though…

  • You have to collect and store customers data in accordance with regulations
  • Don’t bombard customers, decide on a frequency that makes sense for your brand/products… if you sell kitchens the chances are your customers don’t need to buy a new one from you a month after they’ve had one installed.
  • Make sure you have something to say, be in my inbox for a reason.
  • If a customer opts out you have to manage this correctly

Give it go 🙂

Creative Brief Template

Working well with an agency means them becoming an extension your team. To do this, they’ll need to fully understand your brand, and the job in hand too – that’s why briefing external agencies is so important. Luckily, our Creative Brief Template includes all the information you need to get you started.

 

What is Customer Data and why do I need it?

Having data on your customers means that you’re able to understand them and track their behaviour. Different businesses will have different data requirements. Let’s start off by thinking about the type of data that is perhaps available to you.

I should caveat at this point that holding and using customer data is regulated. To learn more about the laws of data protection read this.

Transactional data will show you an overview of what’s happening in your business on a day to day basis. Think; #of transactions, footfall, sales, etc.

Personal data will tell you who is doing each transaction. Tying data back to an individual customer enriches your data and allows you to make better business decisions. It also, if you choose too, allows you to better communicate with your customers.

Data can come in many shapes and sizes… think of Amazon. A website with X million products for sale, Y #of customer accounts and Z #of searches per day! Managing this amount of data is perhaps a little out of our league but imagine the data storage and processing power they’d need!

For us, here in, “I’m not Amazon land…” we want to teach you some customer data basics.

Transactional data

This data is the one your most likely to have easiest access too… plus you own this data, yay!

Every time a customer comes to your store and completes a transaction you’ll know:

  • What day it was
  • What time of day it was
  • How many items they bought
  • How much they spent
  • How they paid (cash/card)

Let’s pretend your a hair salon; this information can help you to understand when your busiest days of the week are, which effects staff levels or if you need/want to consider changing your opening hours etc.

Whether customers bought additional products from you, and therefore how much stock you need to buy, or if products are selling, perhaps stylists need training in how to sell, or a promotion to sell more?

Their total spend – are you making enough to cover all your business expenses? What is the average value of a transaction? Are some of your customers spending more than others?

Payment method, if your customers love to pay on card make sure you have the right payment options in place.

Depending on the sophistication of your till system you might even know more…

  • Which stylist completed the work?
  • The treatments/cut that the customer had?
  • Which specific products were bought?

These will enrich the knowledge of you business even further.

Personal data 

This one gets us at Sweat Space pretty excited, it’s my bread and butter and where I spent over half of my marketing career. I wanted to take a moment to tell you why… if you’re not interested, skip to the next paragraph.

Understanding your customer and managing customer data well in a business is quite literally a game changer. I’ve seen business grow in both £ value and customer satisfaction because they decided that putting their customers first was important. The best way to put customers first in  any business is to get to know them. While it’s not practical to meet all of your customers face to face for every transaction and to ask them why they bought from you today and not someone else, we can use customer data to get to know them and that helps us infer why. And if you do have any other questions, market research is always an option. So, for me, any business that commits to getting to know their customer and act on what they find goes to the top of my list.

Anyway… personal data is data that allows you to identify a customer, this can be anything unique:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Membership/ account number

Once you can identify a customer you can link all of their transactions to that individual customer. This is when your data potential hits the big time.

The exact data you collect on your customers depends on the business your in and why your collecting it. If your a car garage you want to know what car I drive? when my MOT is due? how many cars I own? if I prefer my car to be collected? or my MOT’s at the weekend? You don’t need to know my shoe size or my dietary requirements.

Common data points might be:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Data of birth (if you intend to use it)
  • Gender (if this in important to your business, perhaps in fashion etc)