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What Is Lifecycle Marketing? Creating the Path to Loyal Customers

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Savvy customers need savvy marketing. Each person is seeing your advertising in a different context — shouldn’t their advertising be customized, too? 

Competitive brands need outstanding strategies that produce a seamless user experience and lead to loyal buyers.

Enter lifecycle marketing — an owned media marketing strategy that informs and optimizes ad spend while enhancing the ongoing value of existing customers.

What Is Lifecycle Marketing?

Lifecycle marketing begins when a customer opts into messaging from your brand. 

From there, it’s all about how you use channels like email, SMS, and push to onboard, engage, nurture, and retain customers.

Lifecycle marketing can generate excellent ROI when thoughtfully and intentionally put into practice. 

At its core, lifecycle marketing means plotting key actions you want your users to take. 

You’ll probably end up with multiple user journeys throughout the entire customer lifecycle, but there are two important questions to stay focused on:

  1. What action do you want the user to take?
  2. What do you do if they don’t take that action?

Brands across different industries can use lifecycle marketing to unlock powerful growth opportunities by orchestrating content, triggers, and personalized messaging to incentivize high-value behaviors.

Without a proper lifecycle marketing strategy backed by best practices and collaborative team efforts, your brand may be missing out on its most profitable channel.

Benefits of Lifecycle Marketing

Lifecycle marketing primarily uses owned media channels, like SMS and email, making it easy and cost-efficient to integrate into your existing strategies. 

Many of the benefits of lifecycle marketing stem from consumers giving consent to marketing messaging with their opt-in data.

There are almost no advertising costs associated with messaging and you generate a substantial amount of first-party data which can be used freely in future campaigns.

Unlike paid ad channels, you’ll also be able to segment your audience based on almost any opt-in trait while creating ethical, personalized messaging. Plus, you don’t have to worry about constant algorithm changes. 

Consistent customer nurturance through lifecycle marketing leads to valuable relationships and encourages loyal brand ambassadors.

Related: The Top 10 Benefits of Lifecycle Marketing.

Where Is Lifecycle Marketing in the Customer Journey?

Lifecycle marketing applies in the lower half of the customer journey, primarily targeting the nurturance, retention, and advocacy stages of the journey. 

However, different automated marketing sequences can be used to target audience segments at several phases. 

A welcome series, for example, is directly correlated with audience nurturance, whereas a reactivation series is aimed toward customer retention.

Central Channel Strategies for Lifecycle Marketing

While countless lifecycle strategies are developed and adjusted daily, there are a few fundamental owned media strategies every brand should implement.

Audience Segmentation

No matter what channels you use, the more personalized you can get on your audience segmentation, the better. 

Segmentation helps you define and understand all of your customers’ engagement — from VIP customers down to unengaged users. 

Lifecycle marketers assign values to each action a customer takes, which helps move the user through measurement touchpoints.

You can create audience segments based on both transactional and behavioral parameters.

Behavioral segmentation occurs at the customer’s first touchpoint with your brand, such as viewing a product or downloading your app. 

Transactional segmentation happens after the point of purchase.  It’s crucial to follow up with post-purchase marketing material. 

Supercharge your business goals by building personas with a blend of behavior and transactional data. 

Personalized User Journeys

Once you’ve built out your audience segments, you can begin to assemble a number of personalized customer journeys with measurable behavioral milestones.

Your most loyal customers have already engaged with your brand, so what kind of value are you creating for them? 

Do you want them to share articles on your blog or go on social media to refer a friend with their specific promo code? 

Is there a specific VIP experience they can unlock? 

Personalizing a user’s experience can help future-proof your campaigns, boost conversions rates, and keep customers locked in to marketing messages.

Here’s how you should engage a few of the most common customer segments.

New customers should be driven to make their next purchase and join a loyalty program. Consider how your marketing encourages new customers to engage in VIP customer behaviors. 

Engaged customers that have recently purchased should be given further follow-up products related to their purchases. Think about how you are continuing the conversation with them to keep your brand top of mind whenever they’re ready to convert again.

Lapsed customers should be served win-back content, so craft targeted messaging with the exact value prop they need to get them to fall in love with your brand again.

Point-Based Loyalty Programs

Good loyalty programs offer exclusivity and perks. However, many brands fall into the trap of focusing mainly on providing discounts. This can lead to decreased profitability and constant price-cutting.

Instead, brands should create point-based loyalty programs offering exclusive rewards, in-store cashback, and limited product lines to generate more interest in the brand. 

Some examples of brands with exceptional loyalty programs include:

By creating lifecycle marketing strategies, you cultivate strong customer relationships, maximize your ad spend dollars, and create lasting lifetime value with first-party data you own. Cost-efficient, personalized, integrated marketing — what’s not to love?

Want a step-by-step insider guide to lifecycle marketing strategies? Check out our free lifecycle marketing eBook and our Top 10 Benefits of Lifecycle Marketing cheat sheet.

Featured image by Kindel Media on Pexels.

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