Being a marketer in the 21st century is no piece of cake. The attention span of an average person has shrunk to less than 10 seconds, yet people still like to get constant content updates and expect their favorite brands to interact with them.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn have become the top platforms that consumers use to find information about brands and make their final purchase decisions.
And with the ever-growing product and service variety that is available in the market and floods the social media feed comes the main marketing challenge: how to get people to stop scrolling past your brand and turn simple followers into actual product users and ultimately brand ambassadors?
The answer is: lifecycle marketing or what we understand as a total customer engagement mechanism that leads to close company-client relations and customer retention.
It’s no secret that it costs less to retain the existing customer rather than obtain a new one. Which is why inbound marketing has been outlined as the most sustainable marketing strategy in the years to come. But it’s still not enough.
Source: Abundant Solutions
It’s not enough to attract prospects through personalized and targeted posts or even sponsored ads that hit them right at the moment when they are in an active search of, let’s say, a new mobile service provider or a nutritious supplement product.
In order to retain a customer for more than just one purchase and have them share their experiences with others, we need to offer MORE. More than what they expected. We need to WOW them.
One way to wow customers is thru what they call experiential marketing. This is a type of strategy that engages the customer by creating a real-life experience that makes them remember the brand. It lets customers experience your brand.
While social media marketing is all about sharing a brand, and experiential marketing is all about experiencing a brand, when combining the two, magic happens.
Source: Smart Insights
Listen to Followers
What it means in the world of social media is going the extra mile and providing added value through quick and contextualized responses to comments and especially negative reviews by offering additional services (i.e. free delivery) or incentives (i.e. discount code or merchandise credit) as a solution to negative experiences.
It also means following your customers’ footsteps (who they follow, what they like and share) to understand what their pain-points are and what kind of new products or services should be developed for them in the future.
That is why lifecycle marketing entails consistent social media monitoring – listening to what people have to say about your brand and taking care of them.
While it may not be such a time-consuming activity for young businesses that have just started and haven’t gained many followers, larger companies may find it more effective to use tools like Social Mention or HootSuite to get alerts whenever their brand gets mentioned.
Finally, for a customer to become a true brand advocate, there needs to be additional motivation behind it. People won’t go around telling everyone how much they love your brand (except for an occasional friend or family member) if they don’t see anything beneficial coming out of it.
Creating a rewards system like Starbucks did or an exclusive brand community that gives additional perks like access to members only events or special discounts will make people feel special and connected to your brand. And people love sharing something that wows them or sets them apart from others.
This can also be something as simple as recognizing and giving a shout-out to followers who have liked the most posts or who have followed you since the early days of business.
All of these activities encourage referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, the most influential promotional tool there is. In this way, your customers unconsciously become your brand ambassadors and get more and more people to join the cycle (Keep in mind, lifecycle marketing is not the same as influencer marketing which is paid).
As brand advocates become your organic marketing channels, you will be spending less time, money and resources of your own to get the word out about your brand which in turn generates a high yield in return. This should essentially be the ultimate goal of any brand marketer in 2020 and beyond.
by Agnese Zimele,
Blogger and Marketing Assistant