Marketing for the Long Run: Understanding Your Customer Lifecycle

A customer lifecycle is the story of your customer’s relationship with your brand. Like any relationship, the customer lifecycle is marked by various arcs, phases and periods of activity. The customer journey isn’t linear, as they may discover your brand in the selection phase, then decide to go another direction before circling back around and initiating a sale. With so many brands fighting for your customer's attention, yours must provide something that others don’t. Click To Tweet

How Social Media Changed the Customer Lifecycle

Before social media, customers didn’t have much recourse if a transaction went bad. They also didn’t have an outlet to provide positive feedback. Today’s consumer is empowered, which has changed the marketing landscape significantly. Customers now expect a level of convenience and transparency that is challenging businesses and customer service professionals like never before.

Awareness

In the beginning, your customer is simply a prospect who may or may not be aware of your brand at all. Your job is to first make them aware of your product and brand with marketing automation techniques and strong search engine rankings. This awareness is the initial phase of your customer lifecycle. They have just searched for a product or service on the internet and are in the process of browsing.

Research

In the next stage, your potential customer is getting more in-depth with their research. They’re comparing websites and services, learning more about what they want and what other people are saying about it. They’re reading blog posts and articles discussing the products or services they’re looking for to pin down the best options for their requirements.

Selection

As your customer narrows down their options, they’ll be reading testimonials and reviews and may reach out to your sales team via social media or your website if they like what they see. This is where your sales management strategy will prove its worth. If your customer has questions, they’ll want them answered immediately. You have a very limited space in which to capture their attention, so having a feature like live chat on your website can be the difference between making the sale or not.

Satisfaction

You got the conversion, congratulations! Your marketing strategy and product beat out the competition and you now have a new customer. This is the stage of the lifecycle that can make or break the work you’ve already put in. Maybe your customer has signed a contract, but you still need to follow through promptly and courteously.

Retention

A satisfied customer can be a return customer, so it’s important to continue to cultivate that relationship. Doing so will not only increase the chance that they’ll be back, but that they’ll refer family and friends to you. A good customer experience fuels the consideration process by helping to drive traffic from new customers to your business.

Customer Life Value

The Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a prediction of the total revenue a customer might generate in the future across their entire customer lifecycle. Usually calculated using average order value, purchase frequency, and customer value. While there are incredibly sophisticated algorithms to calculate CLV, using even a simple estimation will give your sales and marketing team greater awareness of the value each customer provides over time.

Your Best Advocates

In today’s digital market, the lead generation process is no more critical than the post-sales process. Finding your customers will do you no good unless you provide the highest quality product and service. While you can’t control the customer lifecycle, if you focus on delivering the best customer experience imaginable, your advocates will drive sales for the company long after their purchase is made.

Contact Us to learn more about using your customer lifecycle and CLV to develop an unbeatable marketing strategy.

Michele Redmon
Web Content Writer AUTHOR: ITVibes
Michele is a web content writer at ITVibes in The Woodlands, Texas. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Criminal Psychology. Her writing has been featured on several websites, including Huffington Post and Hello Giggles. Michele enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and watching true crime documentaries with her cats.