August 9, 2010

Lifecycle Marketing Series Part 1: Getting Started


Hostway Team

By Buffy Cranford

As the number of technology-savvy consumers increases, product marketing has grown from television and print media to Internet and email-based lifecycle marketing campaigns. In the next five years, Forrester Research predicts this wave of interactive marketing “will near $55 billion and represent 21% of all marketing spending.” A lifecycle marketing plan includes the following stages:

  • Product Introduction
  • Product Growth
  • Product Maturity
  • Product Decline

Product Introduction

Once you have a product, your marketing campaign should include promotions for initial purchases. Promotions help build brand awareness, and when accompanied by case studies or testimonials, can educate potential customers on your product.

When a consumer purchases your product, the next phase of introductory marketing begins. Your new customer should receive a warm, yet brief email welcome message. The email should include a thank-you, and if the recipient opted to receive additional emails, the welcome message outlines future communication they will receive from your company. For example, recipients might receive special offers and promotions, exclusive opportunities for purchasing products, and even members-only sale days on your Web site.

Product Growth

After those initial purchases, the product growth period offers a time to build brand loyalty, but consumers often need a reminder about your products or services. Ideally, customers have opted-in to receive news and promotions, and you can occasionally send marketing emails with a variety of offers. According to Forrester Research in “The ROI of Email Relevance, 2009” report, the return on investment per email delivered a 46% success rate.

However, keep in mind that customers are barraged with marketing emails daily, and if you send communications too frequently, they may opt-out of your email contacts.

Product Maturity

During the product maturity period, your advertising can be subtle, yet warm and inviting. At this point in the program lifecycle, your customer base has been established, but you still should continue offering incentives. Promotions during this growth period may include service alerts such as oil change reminders, renewal notices of subscription or membership services or upcoming sales promotions for long-term customers.

If you are using lifecycle marketing software with analytics, you can trace repeat customer statistics and individualize promotions. You can also add valuable news briefs or instructions in email newsletters with additional case studies and special incentives. For example, if you are selling hardware peripherals, you could send articles with tips for reformatting hard drives or installing a video card for dual monitors.

Product Decline

A product lifecycle eventually encounters a decline or plateau, and revenues decrease. Most companies at this point have another product planned and launch the lifecycle again, but you still have current services and inventory available. During this period in the lifecycle, you can offer new, lower prices to reduce inventory.

Before you launch your product, review these guidelines for building a successful lifecycle marketing program. A warm welcome message, creative promotions for each level of the lifecycle and using analytics for targeting a specific audience can build product recognition and a customer base.

Read the full series:
Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Email Design Elements
Part 3: Honing Your Message
Part 4: Measuring Success
Part 5: Why It Works for Small Businesses

About the Author

Buffy Cranford writing background includes newspaper journalism and reviewing and researching computer software and hardware for Smart Computing and PC Today magazines. She has reviewed products for established companies such as Dell, IBM and Acer.

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