Customer Lifecycle: Lifecycle Messaging

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 Josh Kopelman Link 1, Link 2

– 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.

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Not just businesses, even basic health care uses this model! E.g. In primary health care its just what you said but like this.. problem->educating the patient (pt)->ownership (of the problem by the pt!)-> maintenance of knowledge of what to do (by sending in periodic letters from the practice i.e. Retention)->compliance!! I can go on about how it is used in medical practices higher up from primary care, but can totally imagine the agony felt by the writer/readers in reading this… so I stop :)

All this ranting is because someone told someone that someone might not be interested in the current blog since its too business oriented 😀 I guess these are the basics of any field dealing with people, and free will :) (yup, free will :))..)

@Rose – Haha, I never knew that this was another way of eliciting comments. I can always follow this strategy with ease 😉
Coming to the point of the post, it was more to do with Messaging your customers depending on the Lifecycle and hence earning more revenue, rather than CLC per se. The closest I think healthcare comes to the messaging part is to market yearly health checkups and send in reminders every year than anything else. Healthcare is more word-of-mouth than any specific marketing/messaging.(Unless, you want to send in periodic reminders of the latest diseases in the market :P; that’ll just be bad branding of course)

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