What is Lifecycle Marketing?
You’ve probably heard the term thrown around in marketing circles over the last 12 months – but what does Lifecycle Marketing actually mean? The truth is there are countless definitions, any of which could be acceptable depending on your perspective.
But we’d like to explain what Lifecycle Marketing means to us here in the Andzen office, and why we’ve built a whole agency around it!
We tend to describe Lifecycle Marketing as the practice of speaking to your customers or subscribers as individuals – not as a collective. It’s about knowing where each individual fits into the buying cycle of a product or service, and speaking to them accordingly.
Successful Lifecycle Marketing makes the customer feel like they’re being contacted on a one-to-one basis with each piece of communication they receive; as if they have their own dedicated account manager attending to their every need.
As an agency whose roots lie in traditional email marketing, we’re all too familiar with the declining effectiveness of a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. We’ve seen client after client come to us with the same type of questions:
Why are my open rates gradually decreasing? Why are more people unsubscribing from my emails than ever before? Why aren’t I making as much money from email marketing as I was five years ago?
What it all boils down to is relevance. With inboxes and newsfeeds more crowded than ever, and the average consumer getting more tech savvy and time-poor by the second, expectations of how we should be marketed to are at an all-time high.
Your customers and prospects are expecting to receive your marketing messages (perhaps more so than ever), but they’re expecting a highly relevant, highly personalised experience. And if that’s not what you’re delivering, your messages will more than likely be skipped over.
How we do Lifecycle Marketing
The fundamental ingredient of any Lifecycle Marketing strategy is data.
So when we start working with a new client, data is the first thing we look at. We need to know where information is being captured (e.g. eCommerce checkout, website homepage, POS system), which platforms are storing this information (e.g. Shopify, MailChimp, Salesforce), and what data fields are available to us (e.g. contact info, purchase history, geographic location).
From here it’s a case of mapping out how the different platforms talk to one another (if at all) and identifying which system is going to function as our ‘single source of truth’ for marketing purposes. Our developers will then get to work on building the necessary integrations to facilitate the flow of data between platforms.
With the data puzzle solved, the fun part begins. We now get to work on building out the customer journey. This requires a deep understanding of the business as well as the buying behaviours of its customers. After hours buried in spreadsheets and flowcharts, our delivery team will get to work on implementing the flow we’ve come up with.
But this is never a ‘set and forget’ type of approach. Once everything is up and running, there’s a continual process of monitoring, adjusting and refining to ensure each piece of the puzzle is performing as well as it can.
Some examples of Lifecycle Marketing
Lead nurture is a style of automated email marketing, designed to nurture leads into customers. While typically referenced in service-based industries, the same concept also applies to retail and eCommerce. A welcome series, for instance, is a type of lead nurture tactic.
A simple lead nurture series may consist of just 4-5 emails, while a more complex program could contain up to 100 emails with several strands of alternatives for different personas or behaviours.
We’ll often incorporate a lead scoring mechanism into our nurture programs, to automatically notify a sales representative once a subscriber reaches a certain level of engagement or qualification.
Product replenishment reminders are great for retail and eCommerce stores who sell consumable or repeat order items. These automated notifications serve the purpose of reminding a customer when their product is running low or due for renewal.
For example, a pet supplies store might use replenishment reminders to alert a customer of their flea & tick prevention product reaching the end of its cycle. If the product had a 6-month lifecycle, the email would ideally be delivered around the 5-month mark, to give the customer adequate time to re-order.
This type of marketing works best when the product name is referenced within the email, and when a financial incentive is offered to the customer, such as a limited-time 10% discount on the item.
The days following a purchase are a great time to be regularly touching base, as the customer is still highly engaged with your brand and more likely than ever to open your emails. We recommend a series of 3-5 emails during this period.
Transactional emails such as receipts, shipping confirmations and delivery reminders are all opportunities to show some brand personality and incorporate some relevant marketing content such as compatible product recommendations or product care advice.
In addition to these, more personal emails, such as a welcome message from the founder or a simple ‘touching base’ email from a customer care representative, are a great way to build trust and increase the customer’s inclination to buy from your store again in the future.