The idea of lifecycle marketing evolved in leaps-and-bounds last year. But brands are still having a difficult time when it comes to execution.
According to a new study by Koyne, only 61% of companies are satisfied with their customer marketing efforts, and more than 90% of respondents agreed that lifecycle marketing is very important to their success.
Yet for many brands, creating a fully realized strategy is too complicated in a highly fragmented, cross-channel world.
Lifecycle marketing is more complex than it sounds. Brands need to have the right foundation in place to be successful.
So what does that look like?
Attribution is arguably the single-most important initiative for any brand right now. Technologies and channels are popping up like Whack-A-Mole and it’s very difficult to stay on top of each one. The ability to accredit revenue and key metrics to the right channel and customer path is paramount. It’s importance in producing a lifecycle journey is also understated. It’s essential to understanding what that customer lifecycle truly looks like.
A robust email platform is also needed for a lifecycle journey. Specifically, the ability to perform trigger emails. It will also need to have strong segmentation capabilities.
Strong integrations are critical to lifecycle success. Think about all the systems your teams utilize among ecommerce, store POS, email, digital, mobile, loyalty, CRM and social. They need to be able to talk to each other to truly understand consumer behavior. At the very least, email needs to talk to each of those for a successful post-purchase program.
Have all the hardware? Because that’s the easy part. Designing a strategy is where you’ll really need to focus on the data, how it switches from channel-to-channel, and identify customer cohorts.
There’s an old rule that has illuminated a lot of ideas within retail called Pareto’s Principle. It states—in retail terms—that 80% of your business will come from only 20% of your customer base.
In fact, the truth for retailers is even more extreme. According to RJ Metrics, the top one-percent of customers spend five times more than the average customer. They also make four times as many purchases as the average customer.
That’s where lifecycle programs need to focus.
There are three main goals to a lifecycle program based on RFM analysis (Recency, Frequency, Monetary):
-Retain and increase frequency of your most valuable cohorts.
-Transition customers into the valuable cohort segments.
-Avoid losing customers that are about to lapse out of the brand.
There are many ways to accomplish those goals and the tactics will be tailored to each brand differently. Below are some tried-and-true ideas:
The easiest way to get someone in the door is by providing incentive. Nothing is as motivating as a promotion. Bounce-backs are a great way to improve frequency, and you’re much more likely to get a recent buyer back in the door. Bounce-backs—both digital and physical—are a measurable, low-hanging fruit to improve your post-purchase stream.
Customer Satisfaction & Unique Content
Another less measurable option that has shown positive results is simply improving customer satisfaction through email. In this instance, the brand emails customers within a targeted timeframe after purchase to make sure they’re happy with their purchase and to show that they appreciate them as a valuable consumer. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter to your most valuable members. There’s also an option to add exclusive content here to make it feel special.
Ratings & Reviews
Ratings or reviews can also be beneficial, even though many brands are scared to open themselves up to criticism. Amazon is the king of that tactic, emailing consistently after purchase for a product review. It’s another strategy to let the voice of the customer come through.
It seems counter-intuitive, but for most brands in the industry, you’re much more likely to get a recent purchaser to convert again than you are to re-engage a lapsed buyer. One great way to target recent buyers is product affinity or basket analysis. In this instance, you’ll need some deep-dives on data to understand what buyers mostly buy together.
If they buy jeans, do they usually by a t-shirt as well? Using that example, if I buy jeans from your company, you can then target me post-purchase with a “you’ll also love” message and email me some t-shirts that are often bought with jeans.
It’s important that brands continue to understand the importance of regular touch points with consumers that aren’t always product or promotionally driven. It’s also paramount for the industry to transition away from global promotions and move towards segmented marketing capabilities. This is the key to lifecycle marketing—and to creating effective gains for your brand.