What is the Customer Life Cycle?
The customer lifecycle outlines the steps taken by a customer as they progress through the marketing and sales funnel. It gives marketing, sales, and customer service teams a complete picture of the customer’s journey and highlights areas for improvement.
Why it is important when it comes to Digital marketing
The Customer Lifecycle Value is basically a prediction of how much value a business will gain from the entire course of their relationship with any given customer. Because you never know how long each customer relationship will last, the customer life cycle is basically a way for businesses to estimate a customer’s monetary worth over time. The customer life cycle is important because it helps companies determine how much money they want to spend on bringing in new customers and how much repeat business they can expect to gain from certain customers.
What are the different parts of the cycle and what do they mean?
Here is where your relationship with a customer begins. when they first become aware of the existence of your brand, product, or service. Without awareness the customer won’t have any knowledge that your product exists. The chances are that the customer has seen your post or advert multiple times before actually clicking on it too.
Every customer goes through some version of this stage, whether it’s months of research and comparison or just a quick “gut check” before making a decision. One of the most effective ways to stand out from your competitors at this point is by offering robust digital self-service. Just like customers seeking support, consumers who are evaluating products or services start by trying to find the answers themselves.
In our opinion this part is fairly similar to the research part of the cycle as customers will be comparing different products as part of their research. Retaining the customers attention during the comparison phase can be done by having the best deal, having the best quality product, being the easiest to buy from e.g. fastest delivery and much more. It’s important to consider all these factors as any drop in quality is likely to be picked up on.
Once a customer is set on using you as a company it’s important to make their potential selections very clear and understandable. Remember, just because a customer has chosen your company in the comparison phase doesn’t mean you’ll be able to retain them. Especially if your website isn’t clear and or a frustrating user experience.
This step may seem simple, the customer buys the product and that’s it. However, there are crucial parts to the purchase phase. Having a simple process for purchasing the product is imperative as you can still lose the customer if they can’t find a fast way to purchase the product. If they have a question before purchasing you might also want to have a live chat feature so the customer doesn’t have to back out of their purchase to answer their question.
Once the product has been purchased you want the customer to receive it as fast as possible. Having a delay in the delivery can really harm your reputation and even earn you a bad review. Equally, the product has to be as it is described on the website.
Having a customer buy from you is only half the battle, you want repeat custom from that sale. To do this you can follow up purchases with an email after a set period of time. E.g. A customer has just purchased toothpaste from your online store. In 6 weeks our automated mailing list will send a follow up email asking if they’d like to purchase the product again as they’ve likely gone through the tube of toothpaste by now.
Word of Mouth
Finally comes word of mouth. After your customer has bought from you and hopefully had a good experience they should spread the word about your company. You can help speed this process up by having a good loyalty/recommendation scheme. E.g. recommend this company to a friend and if they sign up you receive a free gift/voucher.
Hopefully you now understand the importance of the customer life cycle. You must fully understand this cycle during a digital marketing apprenticeship in order to be a successful digital marketer. It’s important to keep up to date with any changes to this cycle. When new technologies come out the cycle can change, or be interpreted in slightly different ways.