August 11, 2010

Lifecycle Marketing Series Part 3: Honing Your Message


Hostway Team

By Buffy Cranford

Nike shoes, Sony televisions and Swiss watches are examples of products with a steady customer lifecycle, whereas Converse shoes and Swatch watches wavered in popularity the last 30 years. Perhaps with correctly timed email marketing messages, these brands could have maintained constant regrowth.

As a product moves through the stages of a customer lifecycle, marketing techniques should focus on analytics, timing, relevance and personalization. Whether you are using a hosting system or an in-house software package, utilizing analytics is essential. With analytics and a customer relationship management (CRM) database, you can easily produce reports. For example you can track if consumers are reading one or two of the five emails sent every month.

There are four stages of a customer lifecycle, and each stage requires a different methodology for marketing your product.


During the introduction stage, your email marketing campaign should be filled with promotions as you seek new consumers. Consumers who frequently read emails from your company are in the Introduction stage. Your product has caught their attention and they want to receive the latest offers.

Sephora offers an excellent example for introductory lifecycle marketing. When consumers purchase cosmetics at a Sephora store, they can enroll in a rewards program. The customer provides minimal information (name, address, birth date, Email, phone) and sometimes a discount on their purchases with registration. Then the customer receives a welcome email and weekly promotional email. As birthdays or holidays approach, the marketing emails are designed for the occasion.


Consumers in the product growth stage make purchases consistently and still read emails regularly. During this stage, timing is the key for successful marketing. These consumers should be receiving emails during lifecycle events such as birthdays, seasonal celebrations (Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc.).

This type of email campaign keeps your product at the forefront as consumers celebrate important events, and they will likely find value in this type of communication.


Data should drive your email marketing during the Maturity stage. At this point consumers may read your emails occasionally, once a month, or once every two months, and they expect relevant emails. Analyze past and current purchases and deliver a personalized email with products they may enjoy. For example, if someone purchased a hat, you might send a personalized email with special savings on sunglasses.

The consumer in this stage knows your product, but often needs encouragement. Offers of free shipping or new product offerings may grab their attention.


When consumers no longer open your marketing emails, or only open one out of 15, the lifecycle is declining. During this stage messages should consist of aggressive coupons, contests or even surveys to determine consumer interest. These consumers will either take advantage of the new offer or opt-out of future offers.

Eventually, you have to say good-bye to some consumers as they end their lifecycle stage. Then launch a new campaign for attracting new customers and complete the lifecycle process again.

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 has over 20 years of experience in writing and publishing. Her writing background includes newspaper journalism and reviewing and researching computer software and hardware for Smart Computing and PC Today magazines. She has worked with established companies such as Dell, IBM and Acer.

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