What is the customer lifecycle?
The customer lifecycle is the stages a customer goes through from becoming aware of a product or service to becoming a loyal advocate for it. It includes different phases such as acquisition, onboarding, engagement, and loyalty. Each phase has its own goals and objectives, and they must all be met in order to sustain customer relationships.
What are the five stages of the customer lifecycle?
The five stages of the customer lifecycle are:
Awareness: Potential customers become aware of a product or service.
Consideration: This stage involves exploring and learning more about the product or service.
Conversion: Customers purchase the product or service they have decided to buy.
Retention: Customers evaluate their purchase and return to place future orders.
Advocacy: Customers spread the word about your product or service, sharing their experience with friends and family.
Why is a customer lifecycle approach important?
Understanding the customer lifecycle is essential for any business that wants to build and maintain long-term relationships with its customers.
By understanding the 5 stages of the customer lifecycle, businesses can ensure they have an effective strategy for engaging their customers throughout their entire relationship.
The B2B vs B2C customer lifecycle
The customer lifecycle for a business-to-business (B2B) company is different from that of a business-to-consumer (B2C) company.
B2B companies tend to focus more on building relationships and nurturing leads over the mid-to-long term whereas B2C companies typically focus on quickly converting leads into customers.
Additionally, the onboarding process for B2B clients often includes more complex steps than those necessary for B2C clients.
Other differences between these customer lifecycles include the length of time it takes to complete each stage and the overall cost of acquisition and retention.
Ultimately, understanding how the customer lifecycle works in both types of businesses is essential in order to build meaningful customer relationships.
B2C customer lifecycle example
A real example of a B2C customer lifecycle could be seen in an e-commerce clothing store. At the awareness stage, potential customers may first come across the brand through influencer marketing campaigns and social media ads.
During the conversion stage, customers will visit the website or physical store and select items of interest to purchase.
The retention stage involves incentivizing customers to return for more purchases by offering rewards like points or discounted items, ensuring their loyalty and continued satisfaction.
Finally, in the advocacy stage, customers who have received a satisfying customer experience, feel valued, and are happy with their purchases may start advocating for the brand by recommending it to others.
Marketing tips for each lifecycle stage
Awareness: Employ a mix of traditional and digital marketing strategies such as PPC ads, influencer marketing, SEO, email campaigns, and social media posts to increase brand awareness.
Consideration: Showcase customer reviews, use product comparison tools, and create content that demonstrates the value of your products to convince customers they will be satisfied with your offerings.
Conversion: Focus on providing a seamless buying experience with intuitive checkout process, and consider discounts or special offers to encourage customers to purchase from your website.
Retention: Use personalized offers and tailor your content to each customer’s specific interests to keep them engaged with your brand. Foster loyalty and keep customers coming back for more by offering rewards such as points or discounts that can be applied to future purchases.
Advocacy: Strengthen relationships with loyal customers by creating referral programs or contests that reward customers for recommending your brand or sharing their experiences with others on social media.
Leading brands choose Emarsys to power their customer lifecycle marketing
Emarsys helps leading brands like PUMA, Pizza Hut, and Nike connect their sales, product and customer data so they can deliver better customer experiences and drive business results.