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Integrated Marketing Association

Lifecycle Marketing

While every business differs, customer retention activities often prove more profitable than customer acquisition, which highlights the importance of the consumer lifecycle. In lifecycle marketing, companies market to consumers throughout the customer journey or lifecycle instead of focusing only on the acquisition.

In traditional marketing, marketers start their processes over when the sales team takes a lead. Unfortunately, many brands stop worrying about customers they’ve already acquired. In lifecycle marketing, businesses recognize the lifetime value of existing customers and continue the marketing process long after an initial sale. Cross-selling, upgrades, and renewals often play important roles in this form of marketing.

Businesses that engage in lifecycle marketing recognize several stages within the customer journey. They create targeted marketing messages to address strangers, prospects, new customers, legacy customers, and former customers. Without customer retention, some businesses cannot sustain profitable growth patterns.

When businesses engage in lifecycle marketing strategies, their customers remain loyal and often give back to the brands they support. A car dealership, for instance, may maintain ongoing communication with a vehicle buyer. In addition to earning a profit from the initial vehicle purchase, the business may also earn the customer’s service needs and future trust.

Existing customers often receive deals and discounts on repeat purchases while the company benefits from a sure sale. In these long-term relationships, brands earn new acquisitions through organic evangelism marketing. Occasionally, a brand may serve several generations of a single family, which is a powerful marketing message.

Lifecycle marketing tactics often remain the same, but the messages change over time. As consumers or prospects transition into customers, brands may thank customers for their ongoing support and offer exclusive deals. As part of a sustainable growth strategy, lifecycle marketing enables brands to deliver high-quality service throughout the customer journey, rather than fight high rates of customer turnover. A key strategy in lifecycle marketing is tracking engagement. By identifying and tracking engagement with a prospect or customer a marketer can create marketing programs designed to move an individual through each of the lifecycle stages from prospect all the way to brand advocate. By tracking engagement, you can determine if there is a stage in the lifecycle where prospects or customers are stalling and address those issues accordingly.

IMA thought leader Troy Burk is a recognized lifecycle marketing expert and more than willing to share best practices.

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