Marketers are bombarded with articles, thought leadership pieces, and messaging about how important customer loyalty and retention is to the success of their organizations. There are literally thousands of points of view and resources that marketers can scour, looking for advice. And we’re not going to argue; increasing customer loyalty and retention are incredibly important topics for lifecycle marketing strategies. In fact, we’ve even written a few articles on those topics ourselves.
But in this article, we’re going to take a different direction and explain to marketers what NOT to do when it comes to customer lifecycle marketing strategies. Sometimes, the best way to learn what works is to learn from what doesn’t work. In this article, we’ll provide four of the WORST customer lifecycle marketing strategies out there, and how your marketing team can avoid them:
Building Each Channel as a Separate Entity
When your organization builds out its offline and online presence, it determines which channels it will invest in and where it will build its presence. When doing so, it’s vital that the organization considers each channel as a united front of the brand and not a separate outlet.
A consumer should be able to interact with any of an organization’s channels, and the experience should be seamless, not only in how the channels look and feel, but also through the interactions and functionality that each channel offers. The experience a consumer gets while engaging via an app, in a brick and mortar store, or through a brand’s website, should all be a cohesive journey for the consumer.
The Bottom Line: Organizations that add channels ad hoc, or have a separate team overseeing each channel without a unified strategy, will suffer. Consumers expect organizations across all industries to present their brands as a united front across all channels, without exception. Anything less could result in confusion, a disjointed experience, and consumers that abandon an experience or brand altogether.
Treating Every Customer Exactly the Same
No matter your organization’s industry or size, consumers have become accustomed to being treated like unique individuals, no matter what. While many brands still have a long way to go in terms of advanced personalization, it’s crucial that they start somewhere, begin collecting data on each of their customers, and take the plunge to conduct basic segmentation on their audience.
The Bottom Line: Organizations and brands that use the ‘cookie cutter approach’ to treat every customer exactly the same will inevitably fall far behind their competition and eventually alienate their customers and prospective customers in the process.
Skipping the Call-to-Action and Value-Add
What action does an organization want its audience to take? Whether it be a current customer, prospect, vendor, or partner, brands should use customer lifecycle marketing strategies to promote an action or a value-add to its audience. Organizations should consider what it is that they want their consumers to be aware of, or what action they should take, whether in store, online, or via any other channel.
Many organizations and brands miss out on educating their audience and providing real value, simply by neglecting to include an appropriate call-to-action or value-add throughout each phase of the customer journey. Calls-to-action do not need to be sales pitches. In fact, many times they shouldn’t be. A call-to-action can urge consumers to “Read more”, “Learn why”, or even, “Tell us what you think”. Each communication or touchpoint can either draw a consumer in or turn them away.
Bottom Line: It’s all about adding value with every touchpoint or communication along the customer lifecycle. Whether it’s a call-to-action with a specific ask, or a simple value message, brands need to consider that their consumers have very little time, and therefore every touchpoint should matter and add value to their customer journey.
Radically Changing How You Communicate with Customers Once They’ve Converted
Just because a consumer has purchased something or has engaged with a service or product offering once before, that doesn’t mean your organization or brand should suddenly stop communicating with them. And it also doesn’t mean that your brand should take the purchase or interaction as a cue to increase the communication level, or to change the messaging altogether.
In fact, once a consumer does business or engages with an organization for the first time, they are beginning a journey, even if by just taking a small first step. Organizations and brands of all kinds need to be sensitive to consumer expectations and should approach the new relationship just like any meaningful relationship: with cautious intent. They should use the information they’ve gathered in the preliminary stages to communicate with the consumer in a timelier, more relevant, and more personalized manner.
Bottom Line: Once a prospective customer begins engaging with an organization in a new way, whether they actually purchased something, completed a transaction, or simply downloaded an item, that doesn’t mean that an organization’s communication strategy should radically change overnight. Consumers shouldn’t sense that a brand has “flipped the switch” after they’ve taken an action. Instead, organizations should carefully consider how the entire customer journey should evolve from that point forward.
Customer Lifecycle Marketing… The Right Way
In this article, we’ve pointed out a few of the WORST examples of customer lifecycle marketing that many organizations and brands get wrong when they begin executing their strategies.
Whether it’s treating every customer the same, building each channel as a separate entity, skipping the value-add, or communicating with newly converted customers in a radically different manner, there are better ways. Organizations and brands across all industries understand that it can be incredibly challenging to manage the customer lifecycle the right way, but it’s vital in order to keep consumers engaged with their communications and offerings.