Customer Lifecycle Marketing: Is Your Content Binge-Worthy?
Why is the customer lifecycle so important to us as marketers in the B2B realm?
Ultimately, because it impacts the bottom line. Ideally it’s about developing a great relationship with the customer and creating loyalty with the goal of maximizing their lifetime value. It’s giving people what they want, how and when they want it. Sounds simple, right? It’s an idea our kids understand and are on board with. So why do we struggle with this concept? Because it is a departure from the old philosophy of “funneling” prospects into customers, where we could lead our customer to a decision. Where we had more control of the message and outcome. Now, that control has shifted to the customer. Scary, right? Yes, a little bit. Like any problem, it helps to break it into small pieces and understand the parts. So we’ve gathered some content for you to binge on in your effort to become binge-worthy to your customers.
What the heck is the customer lifecycle?
The experts at Forrester define it as “Customers’ relationship with a brand as they continue to discover new needs, explore their options, make purchases, and engage with the product or service experience.” Whew! This infographic breaks down customer lifecycle triggers and marketing responses. See you later, funnel; it’s been a fun ride.
How do marketers create content that resonates with customers?
Know what your audience wants; to do this, have a deep, real-time relationship with your data. Put your customers at the center of your marketing and view them as individuals, not just as segments. Understand and speak to them in a voice that resonates with them, and they will respect you more for it. Joe Cordo and the AMA break it down into 5 trends, but our key takeaway was to get on board with your customers—you are going on the journey together.
You also need to be disruptive and engaging with your content. Most of all tell a good story, even if it involves taking a risk. Don’t be afraid to let that story evolve over time, and align your ROI goals accordingly. Take a cue from Kevin Spacey and check out his insights on content marketing. Is your story good enough to binge on? Thirteen straight hours of House of Cards, no waiting, with a gallon of Cherry Garcia on the side? Anyone?
When do you engage with your customer?
Throughout their journey. Remember this is about your customer, not about you. Laura Patterson serves up a great approach for mapping the customer journey and lifecycle.
The challenge is to be prepared when the customer is ready to interact with you and your brand. So channel your inner Motel 6 and leave the light on.
Circling back to the original idea, if you intentionally focus on giving customers content they want, how they want it, and when they want it, they will keep coming back, binge on your content, and be loyal to your product, service, and/or brand. They will literally consume all you are willing to give them as long as it stays on their terms.
So what do we binge on?
One of my favorites is White House Black Market. From a content standpoint, they market to women from a woman’s mindset, including the need to build a flexible, universal wardrobe and find solutions for different body shapes and those “trouble areas.” Their customer experience is also exceptional. They get it—we have very little time and want to enjoy shopping. Stores are small-scale, and they work with you personally to build an outfit or fill your closet. They treat customers as individuals and take the time to look up your buying history to proactively understand preferences and make sure you get earned discounts. And how about a drink while you shop? A seasonal featured color with mix-and-match, quality clothing choices keeps me eager to see what’s next and build on my collection. It’s a great story that evolves all the time. And finally, their loyalty program is strong. The rewards are timely and tiered with many surprises throughout the year to keep me stopping by. How many clothing stores host catered appreciation events for their top customers and personally call with an invitation? Our status is definitely “in a relationship.”
—Ginger Durbin, Senior Account Director, Oden