The Secret to Successful Customer Lifecycle Marketing

Brands with successful customer lifecycle marketing strategies in place recognize two simple truths. One, that customers' needs are constantly changing. And, two, that the experiences and interests of different users vary based on where they are in their unique customer journey. The goals of first-time users, for one, are likely to be vastly different than long-time loyalists of a given company's products and services.

But the unfortunate reality is that too many brands still utilize one-size-fits-all, batch-and-blast marketing campaigns to engage with consumers.

If marketing is the process of acquiring new customers and building relationships with them over time, the truth is that many companies focus on the first half—investing heavily in growth and acquisition campaigns, while neglecting retention efforts altogether.

That's an expensive and losing proposition. Acquiring first-time customers on repeat is an easy way to burn through the marketing budget. It's much more efficient to hang onto the customers you've already won over and encourage them to refer their friends and make additional purchases.

After all, the longer customers stick around, the higher their customer lifetime value.

So just what's the secret to effective lifecycle marketing? Successful customer lifecycle marketing requires listening to customers, understanding them deeply, and acting on that understanding in ways that are human and personal.

Let's dive in further to discuss what that looks like step by step and walk through real examples from leading brands who excel at customer lifecycle marketing.

What Is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?

Lifecycle marketing is an effective marketing approach that involves tailoring your customer messaging for your audience based on their specific stage in the customer funnel, from those first becoming aware of and considering your products and services to those loyal fans and champions of your brand.

While many businesses focus on messaging geared toward fueling growth and acquisition, creating content for those at the early stages of the marketing funnel, companies with a comprehensive approach to lifecycle marketing consider what it takes to meet and engage customers wherever they are in their journey. Recognizing that customers have different wants and needs as they move along their customer journeys, customer lifecycle marketers consider their audience segments and develop specific campaign flows that are uniquely customized for:

  • New users

  • Active users

  • Lapsing users

  • Loyal users/advocates

  • …and more

Why Is Lifecycle Marketing Important?

Customers don't have time to waste on interacting with brands that aren't meeting their needs. These days, it's easier than ever for consumers to switch to competitors. That's why brands need to prioritize building long-term customer relationships right from the start, leveraging lifecycle marketing designed to deliver relevant, engaging customer experiences that drive retention.

Engaging users at key points in their customer journeys with targeted customer lifecycle messaging leads to higher engagement, retention, monetization, and loyalty. Ultimately, these efforts maximize customer lifetime value (LTV), critical to overall business outcomes. After all, brands succeed when the ratio of customer acquisition cost (CAC) to LTV is 1:3.

As part of our 2022 Customer Engagement Review we found that leading brands that invest in lifecycle marketing achieve gains in important engagement KPIs like activity, win-backs, and transactions.

Braze Inspiration Guide

Braze Inspiration Guide

Looking for effective ways to engage your users across channels and across the customer lifecycle? Find 40 campaign templates and strategies that will help your brand increase customer activation, monetization, and retention.

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Top Steps of Lifecycle Marketing

Ready to switch from a one-size-fits-all mindset to a customer-centric lifecycle marketing approach? Already have a lifecycle marketing strategy and want to ensure you're doing everything you can to strengthen your customer relationships and maximize your results? Here are the 9 steps to take to ensure your lifecycle marketing truly delivers.

Step 1: Capture customer signals, such as behavior and interests, to understand the personality traits, values, and needs of your user base.

Step 2: Translate these customer insights into patterns, backed by your brand's real-time, first-party data.

Step 3: Map out your customer journeys: Create flows for your key personas/customer categories, such as loyal users, active users, lapsing users, and inactive users to support the broader goal of boosting customer engagement and LTV.

Step 4: Identify high value actions (HVAs) that are important to your business at each customer lifecycle stage.

Step 5: Build lifecycle marketing campaigns that maximize every user action, align to your key HVAs, and encourage users to advance in their customer lifecycle to enhance LTV.

Step 6: Define your goals and KPIs tailored to each stage of the lifecycle.

Step 7: Reach customers at relevant moments and act on their in-the-moment behavior, such as offering a personalized recommendation after a customer finishes watching a show, reading an article, playing a game, or buying a product.

Step 8: Consider the customer journey across channels: Just as customers have different needs at different lifecycle stages, different customers have different engagement rates with your brand across different channels. Using cross-channel marketing ensures you'll reach customers where they're most likely to engage.

Step 9: Test, iterate, and optimize: Be sure to analyze user trends over time, identify the natural lifecycles your audience follows, and create journeys that encourage engagement and lifetime value.

Examples of Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns from Top Brands

  • Lifecycle Marketing and the Braze Canvas Difference

    Lifecycle Marketing and the Braze Canvas Difference

  • Clipchamp Turned To Braze To Fight Churn And Boost Engagement 600%

    Clipchamp Turned To Braze To Fight Churn And Boost Engagement 600%

  • REA Group Ushers in a New Era of Customer Engagement With Braze

    REA Group Ushers in a New Era of Customer Engagement With Braze

  • Showmax Used Smart Segmentation to Increase Subscribers by 204%

    Showmax Used Smart Segmentation to Increase Subscribers by 204%

  • FREE NOW Activates Drivers and Reduces Ride Cancellations With In-App Messages and SMS from Braze

    FREE NOW Activates Drivers and Reduces Ride Cancellations With In-App Messages and SMS from Braze

Get step-by-step instructions for the best way to map your customer journeys and how to connect your campaigns to each stage of the customer lifecycle using customer journey mapping best practices. Plus, unlock 33 stand-out campaigns to fuel customer engagement across the customer lifecycle.

Lifecycle Marketing Best Practices: 33 Campaigns to Drive Customer Engagement

Find out how embracing cross-channel marketing can help your brand increase your users' lifetimes by up to 76% with the definitive guide to cross-channel marketing. Plus, discover the top messaging channels and how to get the most out of each.

Mix and Match: Supercharge Engagement, Monetization, and Retention with Cross-Channel Experiences