Customer Life Cycle (CLC) is an oft-used term in Marketing to describe the progression of steps a customer goes through when considering, purchasing, using, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. The firm which pitches the product/service to the customer typically has the following stages in a marketing campaign:
Reach —> Acquisition —> Conversion —>Retention —>Loyalty
Firms follow different strategies to target different sets of customers at different stages in the CLC.
Let me illustrate this with an example.
A wedding planner cannot increase business if he just targets marketing about conducting weddings. Sure, he can reach and acquire the customers who want to get married. However, marriage is usually a one-time affair for most, and hence if the wedding planner intends to pitch in only for conducting weddings, his business too will be limited.
However, consider the concept of Lifecycle messaging. If the wedding planner is smart enough, he can customize messages to his customers and secure more business. How about marketing an anniversary planning message to couples who got married a year earlier? When the couple starts having children, why not customize messages for conducting birthday parties and so on and so forth.
The Web is an important channel to connect to your customers in this increasingly interconnected, Facebook economy world. The usage, rather under-usage of the Web today in the CLC through Lifecycle Messaging is shocking, to say the least. I am appalled by different email marketing messages I am bombarded with – not only from unwanted sources but from stores I bought a product from previously. I am bombarded by the same message if I bought a computer or if I had bought a mixer. I am showered with the same message irrespective of me being a new customer, a one-time purchaser or a long-time purchaser. Isn’t there an opportunity here to apply the concept of Lifecycle messaging and secure more business. Let me use some examples again to drive home the beauty of this very simple but very effective concept –
1) The first and a universally known example is the Loyalty card. An enterprise wide implementation of this Loyalty card concept would exactly pinpoint the stage of Lifecycle in which the customer is in, and the kind of usage (which would indicate profitability, another sub-category where the messaging can be even more personalized).
2) Customized Email messaging to credit card customers to shop at places where they shopped before to get more points. Different messages to new customers vis-à-vis a year-old customers vis-à-vis a 5 year old customer. Same messaging may be effective, but not as effective as messaging according to the Lifecycle.
3) Online web portals displaying different prices and different products depending on the customer lifecycle stage and new customer/repeat customer basis.
Those were but a few of the many examples that Lifecycle messaging can be implemented. From a local grocery store to a huge organization, from a B2C business to a B2B business, a fundamental concept such as Lifecycle messaging would prove very effective in improving business in a significant manner.
Other interesting links which have a great insight into this topic
– By Joshua Porter
To round this post off, here is an image from the Wired magazine which beautifully illustrates the concept of remembrance, an inherent component of Lifecycle messaging.