Things move fast in marketing. Marketing methodologies that were once hot, soon become outdated.

Marketing experts have to work hard to keep up. Sometimes this means they name drop the latest methods, without really explaining what they mean.

We aim to cut through the noise. No empty buzzwords here. Just clear explanations and practical tips.

In this blog post, we explain the fundamentals of customer lifecycle marketing and give you some top tips to feed into your strategy.

What is customer lifecycle marketing?

Customer lifecycle marketing is a marketing methodology originally invented by the CRM provider Infusionsoft.

A customer’s lifecycle describes their journey from prospect, to customer, to brand advocate. It includes all of the channels a customer encounters your brand through along the way.

Marketing automation is one part of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining contact with your customers.

Social media, content marketing, and paid advertising are just three of the many other touchpoints that your customer may encounter in their lifecycle.

Customer lifecycle marketing methodology breaks down the different stages of a customer’s journey. It helps marketers map out the touchpoints that are relevant at each stage.

This helps marketers plan how to use each interaction to move a customer along in their journey.

Smart Insights defines customer lifecycle marketing as:

“Creating a managed communications or contact strategy to prioritise and integrate the full range of marketing communications channels and experiences to support prospects and customers on their path-to-purchase using techniques such as persuasive personalised messaging and re-marketing.”

Marketers planning customer lifecycle strategy

Stages of customer lifecycle marketing

There are a number of different naming conventions for each stage in a customer’s lifecycle.

When the term customer lifecycle marketing was first coined, the three stages were called:

  • attract
  • sell
  • wow

Marketing experts have since expanded on these stages. Here’s our take on the lifecycle stages and an explanation of what they each mean:


This is the stage at which your customers discover you. Channels that aid discovery include:

  • content marketing
  • SEO
  • paid advertising
  • social media

Attraction stage of customer lifecycle


This is stage at which your customers are considering their options.

Your aim is to get them to form a preference for your brand. This could be via:

  • welcome emails
  • how to guides
  • product descriptions
  • comparison charts


This is the stage at which you persuade your customer to choose your brand and make a purchase. Important at this stage are:

  • product recommendations
  • cart abandonment campaigns
  • calls-to-action

Conversion stage of customer lifecycle


This is the stage at which marketers need to work hard to build loyalty and retain customers. The following may help:

  • loyalty schemes
  • product recommendations
  • VIP discounts


This is the stage at which smart marketers put processes in place to convert loyal customers into brand advocates. Social media and user-generated content are good ways to do this.

Advocacy stage of customer lifecycle


It is inevitable that some customers lapse. The win-back stage is when marketers employ tactics to win them back. Email marketing is crucial at this stage.

Seven ways to win at customer lifecycle marketing

Personalisation sits at the core of successful customer lifecycle marketing. Here’s how you can use it to your advantage to create a winning strategy.

1)    Welcome campaigns

Your content marketing has worked its magic. You’ve attracted someone to part with their email address in exchange for some juicy gated content.

Now, ease your new subscriber along to their first purchase with a welcome campaign.

A welcome campaign is an automated series of emails that’s triggered when someone joins your email list. It gives you the opportunity to introduce your brand and position your products in bite-sized chunks.

Design a series of messages that build a relationship between your brand and your potential customer. Help to nurture their initial interest, so it develops into an intention to purchase.

Here’s an engaging example of a welcome email from Office:

Office Welcome Email

2)    Reviews and ratings

Reviews and ratings aid customers in the consideration stage of their lifecycle.

They act as a form of social proof. This helps customers to feel confident that a product will meet their needs.

Here’s an example of how to integrate reviews and ratings onsite from AO:

Reviews and Ratings AO Example

3)    Browse and cart abandonment

Browse abandonment emails are triggered when your customer has been looking at a product but abandons their browser. This form of personalisation aims to entice the customer back to buy.

Cart abandonment emails are triggered when your customer puts an item in their basket but abandons your site without buying. Often, they include a discount to sweeten the deal.

These automations help to improve conversion rates and are key to the conversion stage of your strategy.

Here’s a great example from Kate Spade:

Cart abandonment email second email

4)    Personalised calls-to-action

Personalised calls-to-action in your emails and across your website are another way to increase conversions.

Despite being easy to implement, they are not that widely used. This allows your brand to stand out and adds to the persuasive nature of this tactic.

Very makes unique use of personalisation on its homepage:

Very Homepage Personalisation

5)    Product recommendations

Product recommendations are a form of personalisation that consistently deliver, throughout the customer lifecycle.

They are a way to show customers products they meet their needs (consideration). They entice customer to purchase (conversion). And they remind the customer why your brand it still relevant (retention).

Here’s a tempting product recommendation email from Clinique to inspire you:

Clinique Product Recommendation Email

6)    Countdown timers

Countdown timers are an eye-catching feature that you can add to your emails or your website.

A good way to use this feature is to countdown to the beginning of an exclusive offer, or to the end of a sale. The sense of urgency they create helps drive conversions.

We like this example from Lipsy of this tactic in action:

Lipsy Countdown Timer

7)    Re-engagement campaigns

An inevitable part of eCommerce marketing is that some customers will lapse. Re-engagement campaigns are an effective way to win-back those sleeping subscribers.

Whether you use “we miss you” messaging, list out benefits, or try something more tongue-in-cheek will depend on your brand’s voice.

Here’s an example of an re-engagement email from travel brand, Christmas re-engagement email


We hope this back to basics post has helped you get to grips with the fundamentals of customer lifecycle marketing.

Our seven ways to win at customer lifecycle marketing are super easy to implement. You just need the right technology in place.

If you’d like to see ours in action, the button below is for you.

Personalise your customer experience