Profitable Customer Life Stages in Relationship Marketing

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Building a consistent customer base through strong relationships with your clients is the foundation of all relationship marketing plans. Focusing on understanding the customer’s perspective, as well as delivering products and services that address a client’s specific needs, will help give your company an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Attracting new customers, gaining new business, and maintaining these ties throughout a lengthy period of time is often referred to as a “customer life cycle,” or as “customer life stages.” These terms are part of a relationship marketing platform that presupposes an extended affiliation with a client.

The goal of every marketing plan is to get a new prospective client into a relationship with your company so a customer life cycle can be developed. Thinking of your customers in terms of a long standing relationship will determine how you approach your prospects.

At the beginning of your relationship, it is a good idea to have a customer life cycle method in place. This will target your strategic thinking in a different way than if you were looking only to develop clients in a short term relationship. If you approach and engage a client as though he will be with you for a long time, the chances are higher that this relationship will be realized.

A customer life cycle strategy is a system that keeps the customer as the center of importance through the lifetime of your company’s relationship with the client. There are a few key points to keep in mind when developing a plan for a customer life cycle.

Satisfaction vs. Loyalty

It is important to keep in mind that customer satisfaction is not the same as customer loyalty. Customers may feel completely satisfied with your products and services, but not feel a sense of loyalty to your company – a loyalty that would inspire them to purchase from you each time, instead of one of your competitors.

An important part of a successful relationship marketing plan is to engage a customer in a life cycle so he will be both loyal and satisfied. This is a subtle distinction, but one well worth keeping in mind: satisfied customers are not necessarily loyal customers.

Product Purchase vs. Product Consumption

Product purchase and product consumption are two distinct phases in the customer life cycle, and it is important to keep this in mind. A customer may purchase a product, but may not immediately use or consume the product.

Getting a clear idea of the relationship between purchase time and consumption time for each of your customers will help you to better facilitate a successful long term relationship with your clients. You may need to alter your company newsletters, emails and re-order reminders based on the purchase/consumption relationship. For example, let’s say your company sells contact lenses online. If a particular customer tends to buy a repeat order of lenses several weeks before he needs them, you will have to make sure your email re-order reminders are in sync with this customers purchase and consumption habits to help you maintain him as a loyal customer.

Understanding the customer life cycle and these subtle distinctions are one step towards building a successful relationship marketing strategy, and ensuring the longevity of your business.

christian fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A joint venture marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.

To discover more joint venture marketing Strategies join his free Joint Venture Marketing Wealth Report

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