Life is all about timing, they said.
But I say marketing is all about timing!
If you are not in front of your customer at the right place and at the right time, all your marketing efforts are of no use.
Imagine, a customer visits your website looking for a product and automatically sees a Facebook ad highlighting your brand’s unique selling points. This happens for a couple of weeks until the customer returns to your website to know more about your brand and engages with it.
That’s the beauty of an optimized customer lifecycle platform.
It understands how to send the right message to the customer at the right time.
Before we dive into the optimization of customer lifecycle marketing, you must know the importance of the customer lifecycle.
What is the customer lifecycle?
Every customer has their own journey with a brand. This includes a series of steps including how they discovered the brand, engaged with it, bought a product, and became loyal to the brand. This process of mapping out each stage of the customer’s journey is known as the customer lifecycle. In general, the customer lifecycle has been divided into 5 stages: reach, acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty.
Let me briefly explain the customer lifecycle stages to you.
1. Reach: This is the first stage when a customer is looking for a product that solves their problem. Here, the customer might compare brands and features to find out which one seems the best solution. This stage is complete when the customer chooses your brand and reaches out for more information.
2. Acquisition: At this stage, the customer gets to know more about the brand that they have reached. This could be via your website or by connecting with your customer service through phone calls or social media, etc. You must be prepared to deliver as much information as you can to satisfy the customer.
3. Conversion: Now, the customer is fully convinced and they have decided to make a purchase. Welcome them to your family and make them feel valued.
4. Retention: Now, you do not want to lose this customer. At this stage, you will offer different perks to the customer like a special discount, referral bonus, or 24/7 customer service.
5. Loyalty: Now, the customer has become an asset to your business. They have made multiple purchases, given you a good review on social media, etc. You must keep the customer engaged and feel valued at this stage.
Some customers might end their journey only after discovering the brand and never make it through conversion or loyalty. While others might follow through all the stages and become a customer for life.
If you want to enhance your sales, you must focus on optimizing the customer lifecycle.
Understanding how a customer interacts with your brand, what attracts them, what distracts them, and what keeps them with your brand for a lifetime. This way, you and your team can work on ways to delight the customers at every stage of the lifecycle so that you do not lose any customers.
In other words, effective marketing strategies are based on the customer lifecycle. You can understand how to influence the customer at every stage and at the same time increase your revenue.
We generally use a tool to map out where a customer currently is in their buyer’s journey. This helps us understand how a customer behaves at every stage of the journey.
Best Practices for Customer Lifecycle Management
In the process of tracking the stages of the customer life cycle and assigning metrics to each one so that you can measure success and conversion rates, we create a process called customer lifecycle management. Let us see how to manage the customer lifecycle stages.
1. Send personalized messages to customers
One of the major aspects of optimizing the customer lifecycle is building customer relationships. At every stage of the customer lifecycle, they expect that you provide them with all the information that they need. So, why not tailor your communications accordingly?
For example, suppose a customer is at the reach stage where they are finding more information about your brand. So, a helpful resource at this time would be highlighting your features and explaining your solutions. You cannot send them a discount offer here, as it would be of no use to them. Once they have engaged with your brand, you can think of offering them a discount to encourage them to make a purchase.
2. Send surveys to find out the ‘gaps’
Customers who have purchased your products are the best source of insight for your business. They can help you analyze what went well and what made them feel like moving to another brand. So, send surveys to them and take their feedback on the whole process.
You will be surprised to know how customers can help you improve. Some might point out the shortcomings of your customer service, while some might point out what’s missing from your website.
3. Track the KPIs
One of the standard practices of customer lifecycle optimization is defining the key performance indicators and tracking them. Look at the numbers obtained at every stage and find out ways how you can improve them.
These KPIs might differ according to your business. For example, if you are a D2C brand you would want to track how many people visit your site vs how many buy products from your site. However, if you also have offline stores, you would want to know the breakup between your offline & online sales.
4. Retention stage matters
Once a customer has purchased your brand, do not just leave them. The retention stage is a crucial one and can help increase your ROI. Many businesses have reported that it is easier (less costly) to retain customers than to find out, attract and convert new customers.
So, make sure that you are nurturing the post-purchase stage of the customer lifecycle. Send them an occasional email, make them feel valued by offering an insight into your next sale, or by offering them a discount and encouraging them to keep buying from your brand.
5. Prepare campaigns for each stage
Treat every customer lifecycle stage as a different marketing opportunity and create specific marketing campaigns for each stage. As I discussed above, every stage would have different messaging or communication. So once you start running different campaigns for different stages, the tailor-made communication requirement already gets taken care of.
Your end goal should be to ensure customer loyalty.
So, these were my five best practices on how you can optimize the customer lifecycle platform. Now, let me introduce you to CDP and show you how it can help in optimizing customer lifecycle management.
Some examples of customer life cycle journeys:
As soon as a user signs up on your website, do you wait for them to take an action? No! You send them an email to welcome them, then you ask them to follow you on social media and after a few days, show them the amazing things you sell!
By doing this, you give the customer incentive to add instead of waiting for them to come to you. The result? More sales, more business, without any time investment
Abandoned Cart Journey
Cart abandonment is simply when a user adds a product to the cart and then leaves it. With abandoned cart journeys in Xeno, you can remind them to complete their purchase before their intent wears off.
This simple shift itself will take your conversions off the roof. And now you can set it up in the Xeno Marketing Cloud itself.
Dormant customer journey
It is for those customers who have forgotten about your brand. They no longer respond to your sales and marketing approaches. As a result, they no longer buy from your brand. In this campaign, you can send a simple message to your dormant customer asking them to reconnect, you can send them surprise offers, or ask them to consider their subscriptions.
eReceipts & Feedback Journey
Gone are the days when an eReceipt used to be nothing more than a mere proof of payment. Today it is a marketing tool altogether.
It gives you the ability to enhance customer experience, create additional upsell opportunities, offer discounts, build a long-term relationship with your customers & so much more.
Feedbacks (if taken seriously) can prove to be the most effective way to understand what your customer thinks about your brand & your product.
When you listen to and acknowledge your customers, it signals that you value them. This leads to more positive customer experiences and higher customer retention rates. Not only that, collecting feedback & reviews will also help you improve conversion rates for new customers down the road. It’s a win-win right?
How a CDP Can Optimize Customer Lifecycle Management
A CDP or Customer Lifecycle Platform is created to manage and integrate customer data from various sources. With this data, marketers can create personalized campaigns for their customers and respond to their queries in real-time. Here’s how:
1. A CDP can find out which products are the most favorite while which ones are the least favorite.
2. It can help you identify which products are being bought the most so that you can check your inventory and keep up with the demands.
3. You can manage customer data, segment it properly and create 360-degree customer profiles to know more about your customers, their demographics, preferences, buying choices, interests, and more.
However, one major benefit of using a CDP for customer lifecycle management is that you can automate your customer journeys. Yes, automation is the driving force for businesses these days. It can do what you cannot expect from humans.
Automating customer journeys poses many benefits such as:
- 1-time process set up: You do not need to create ad-hoc processes anymore. Just set up the process once and the automated CDP will take care of your customer journey.
- Personalization: While your marketing team relied on segmentation and clustering of customer data, automated CDP can work on individual customer behavior and personalize their journey.
- Budget-friendly: You do not have to invest in a team, the CDP can be managed at much lower costs and can give better results.
- Impact: The automated procedures work on providing a long-term result, unlike your traditional marketing processes that have a short-term impact.
How you manage your customer lifecycle decides the success of your business
Taking control of the customer lifecycle can help you not only in understanding your customers better but also in providing them with a personalized shopping experience.
Optimizing the customer lifecycle would optimize your marketing campaigns and hence increase your sales and ROI. A CDP can help you tremendously here and can make it possible to maximize your revenue from loyal customers.