The goal of all marketing is to continually generate leads or make sales day after day.
However, it costs far less to sell to an existing customer than to a new one. That’s why businesses go to great lengths to keep their customers coming back for more.
Part of maintaining this relationship is knowing what a customer needs at various points in their relationship with your business.
That’s where lifecycle marketing comes into the picture.
If you want to get more return for your marketing investment, consider adopting a lifecycle marketing strategy.
What is lifecycle marketing?
Lifecycle marketing offers a more holistic approach to customer relationships. Instead of focusing on customer needs one transaction at a time, you look at what customers need now and what they may need in the future.
Many B2B companies employ lifecycle marketing because potential clients have multiple needs and often operate on long sales cycles that include multiple transactions.
However, B2C companies are starting to adopt lifecycle marketing practices as well — like Amazon — to keep customers coming back based on what they’ve previously purchased.
Why should companies adopt lifecycle marketing?
Lifecycle marketing takes a lot of planning and attention to detail, but the benefits are worth the time and effort.
According to one Nielsen study, 60 percent of consumers prefer to buy new products from a brand they know.
When launching new products, you’ll get better responses — and better ROI — from existing customers than from new ones.
A perfect company would meet a consumer’s every need.
Of course, that company doesn’t exist, but your ability to meet a certain set of needs over a lifetime will ensure an edge over competitors that offer a more limited selection.
Greater customer loyalty
When your business can anticipate and meet customers’ changing needs, those customers no longer need to look for products and services from other companies.
As an added bonus, they’re more likely to recommend your business to friends and family looking for the same types of products.
How to Implement a Lifecycle Marketing Strategy
Like any other relationship, a customer relationship requires knowing what they need at different times and striving to meet those needs.
You can meet those needs by following a few simple steps.
1. Understand Customer Behavior
Your target customers use a variety of criteria to research, evaluate, and choose to purchase a product. You need to identify these criteria and understand the processes they use to make a purchase decision.
The best way to gain this understanding is to engage with customers and identify their priorities, their concerns, and their pain points.
This will help you craft your outreach strategy — not just to make the first sale, but to make additional sales later as well.
2. Sell Categories, Not Products
Many marketing initiatives focus on one product at a time.
If you want to keep customers over the long term, though, you need to show them more than just the thing they want to buy right now.
End the first sale by trying to make the second through cross-selling or upselling. When customers know the breadth of products and services you offer, they’ll be more open to buying them when the time comes.
3. Data, Data, and More Data
You may have an idea of what resonates with customers, but they can surprise you from time to time.
That’s why data is so important in lifecycle marketing. If you know what worked or didn’t work during one interaction, you can refine subsequent efforts — not just for that particular customer, but also for other customers, too.
Your customers will change over time, and so will their needs. Unless your company has a plan for meeting these needs, the customer relationship will have a short shelf life. Put a lifecycle marketing plan in place and keep more customers for a lifetime.