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Customer lifecycle 101: What you need to know

Understanding your business’s personal customer lifecycle is a crucial first step in creating a long-term customer experience strategy, which should be a priority for any business or brand invested in their own future.

But first, what exactly is the customer lifecycle? In a nutshell, it’s a tool that tracks and details the various stages a consumer goes through before, during and after they complete a transaction, from the moment they identify a need for your product or service to their level of loyalty post-purchase.

Why customer lifecycles are important

Rather than walking the traditional linear path of selling a product, with no thought given to the consumer’s experience, the concept of customer lifecycle management is a long-term approach that focuses on building and nurturing relationships with your customers.

The ultimate goal of this approach is to foster strong brand loyalty and to turn your customers into advocates for your company, referring your product or service to others. By designing your customer’s journey as a loop and taking a holistic approach towards building your sales and marketing funnel, you can develop your customer experience in a way that builds brand loyalty.

“The whole customer experience is connected, and an individual part cannot be effective without understanding the impact to the overall experience.”

Peter Drum, Idea Science CEO

The basic customer lifecycle formula

Many customer lifecycles follow the same basic 4-step formula – reach, act, convert and engage. This is based on the typical stages in a customer’s buying journey, which include exploration, decision making, purchasing, and advocacy.

But the form your own business’s lifecycle takes is going to depend on a number of other factors, including whether you operate on a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer (B2C) platform. B2B companies, where transactions are made between businesses, differ from B2C in that the focus for the client during the purchasing process is more heavily based on a return on investment (ROI).

An example of a B2B customer lifecycle.

B2C marketing in general, meanwhile, relies on the promotion of the product or service being offered and works on the assumption that most purchases have an emotional element.

These essential differences can have a great impact on the customer’s buying journey and therefore the customer lifecycle. For B2C models, this can mean a greater emphasis on the customer experience during and after the initial purchase. For B2B models, relationship building at the outset is a key focus.

A standard B2C customer lifecycle.

Customer lifecycles can also differ greatly according to the resources and platforms a particular business uses to sell their products.

While it’s important to understand these basics, it’s also beneficial to note that going one step further, and mapping your organisation’s own customer lifecycle, can help you ensure potential customers don’t drop off along the buying journey.

Understanding your unique customer lifecycle can also help you plan your marketing and communications strategy with more precision, develop a continuous conversation with your existing customers, and nurture leads through the sales funnel with targeted automated marketing.

How do I find my personal customer lifecycle?

While there are some helpful online tools, the best way to get a comprehensive breakdown of your customer journey or lifecycle is to enlist the help of a customer experience expert.

Ready to map your organisation’s own customer lifecycle? Talk to Idea Science's experts now.


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