Considering our purpose as marketers, we should be placing customers at the center of our marketing efforts. That's truer today than ever before, because customers have more choices, more control, more ways to connect, and more access information.

No wonder marketers everywhere are scrambling to develop content and make use of the myriad of channels to reach and connect with prospects and customers.

Many marketers have gotten so caught up in the creation of content, however, that they have forgotten how important it is to match marketing content with the customer buying journey and lifecycle. Content delivered in the right channel at the wrong time can be a wasted touchpoint.

Too few marketers have mapped their customer's buying journey and moved from profiles to personas, and therefore few clearly understand their customer's lifecycle.

Because keeping a customer is more cost effective and profitable than acquire a new customer, knowing both the buying journey and the customer lifecycle is important.

The Customer Lifecycle

One common definition of customer lifecycle is "the progression of steps a customer goes through when considering, purchasing, using, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service." The key point is to recognize that the lifecycle defines an ongoing relationship and continuous dialogue.

Forrester defines the customer lifecycle as follows: "The customers' relationship with a brand as they continue to discover new options, explore their needs, make purchases, and engage with the product experience and their peers." In our company, we talk about the Six Cs associated with this process:

  1. Contact
  2. Connection
  3. Conversation
  4. Consideration
  5. Consumption
  6. Community

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM