Your marketing team spends a lot of time (and money) to attract potential customers. Your business development team spends a lot of time on winning new business for your company. But is your company putting forth those same efforts to keep customers?
Reducing customer attrition, or churn, should be the focus of any organization, regardless of their business model. However, in this post we’ll examine how to reduce customer churn for B2B organizations.
Understanding the Customer Lifecycle
The first time a prospective customer learns about your brand may be through an article, blog post or social media update. Something about your brand peaks their interest and they click through to visit your website. With good marketing, these anonymous visitors become identified through downloads and web forms. From this moment forward, your brand is building a relationship.
Relationships build revenue because over time trust strengthens between the brand and the customer. Once trust is broken the relationship is over so there is a direct correlation between a trusted and valued customer relationship and an organization’s bottom line. But how can a business build a relationship after the sale has been made?
If all of your clients are sitting in a “customer” bucket somewhere and receiving the same types of communications regardless of how long they’ve been a customer or how much they have spent with your brand, you’re doing it wrong. Every brand has a very specific customer lifecycle and I can assure you, it’s not a single stage.
For example, consider the types of customers that exist in a database. There are new customers and first-time buyers, and they may reside in a stage of the lifecycle that is for single purchase buyers who have been in the database for less than one year. Another customer stage could be full of repeat buyers who have been a part of the customer database for over one year. Finally, a customer advocate stage may include repeat buyers who have been customers for more than three years and provided the company with a case study or testimonial. Each of these stages have distinct parameters that not only trigger stage movement but also determine different types of communication via various formats.
Promoting Lifecycle Stage Movement
Lifecycle stages should not be permanent residences. Organizations don’t want customers to be “one and done” with them. In the example above, the company will market to the new customers and first-time buyers in a way that encourages them to make more purchases. Once those customers move into the repeat buyers stage, they are communicated to in a way that encourages them to continue making purchases and provide a testimonial of some kind. It’s a constant journey and brands with passionate customer advocates are great at this.
Consider Starbucks. Pretend for a minute that you’ve only made a Starbucks purchase when you’re at an airport, otherwise you brew your own coffee. A friend gives you a Starbucks gift card and tells you there’s an app you can enter the gift card information into and only use your smart phone for purchases. Curious, you download the app and enter in your card. After paying for your first coffee with your new app, you see that you can earn rewards for every 12 purchases you make with the app. You find yourself going back more frequently and even adding money to your gift card so you can earn your free beverage. Talk about promoting lifecycle stage movement. Starbucks encouraged a one-time buyer to become a rewards customer with the downloading of an app. Nifty idea, huh?
Reducing Customer Churn with Lifecycle Marketing
With lifecycle marketing, businesses can visualize their customer lifecycle and create marketing campaigns for specific stages of the lifecycle that encourage movement and retention. With targeted and timely communications, customers continue to build trust with brands and trust builds relationships. Relationships are the basis of customer loyalty – and loyalty should always lead to advocacy.
By communicating with customers the way they want to communicate with messages that encourage their lifecycle journey to customer advocacy, businesses can reduce churn and increase sales.
Get started with Lifecycle Marketing today. Download the Complete Guide for B2B Lifecycle Content Marketing today.