In the past, we were taught that a customer lifecycle follows a clear, predictable pattern.
Today, each customer lifecycle is a journey fraught with many lefts, rights, ups, and downs. That fact should be viewed as an invitation to stand by your customer's side, engaging them with appropriate messaging that's personal and relevant to them at whatever point they are in their journey.
You need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the different paths available to your customers. That means applying your knowledge of customer pathways to nudge, upsell, and reward at the right time.
In short, you need to engage your customers before, during, and way after they encounter your brand, presenting them with tailored information specific to their needs that they'll come back to time and again.
That's why it's important to use customer communities to help guide them through their journey.
Consider this everyday situation:
Joey, a rookie photographer, is in the market for a good camera lens. He's never bought one before, and his first instinct is to turn to Google. So, when several search results pop up, including advertisements and company marketing materials, he filters those out because he wants more objective information. This customer is aware, connected, and informed. He's also weary of review sites that are biased toward certain brands. He may have questions related to a product, but he's looking for unbiased accounts from existing customers or third parties who express themselves openly. If you're looking to grow your business through word-of-mouth, these types of engaged customers are the ones you want to focus on acquiring.