What is B2B lifecycle marketing?

As the global market changes and evolves, holding onto customers might seem more difficult than ever. Unfortunately, maintaining high customer retention is what’s going to keep your business profitable - it’s a lot cheaper and a lot less hassle to retain a roster of loyal customers than to constantly spend resources finding new ones. 

This is where B2B lifecycle marketing comes in. B2B Marketing focuses on retaining existing customers, developing long-term relationships with customers and encouraging positive word-of-mouth about your business. 

If you’re wondering: “what is B2B lifecycle marketing?” This article will explain everything you need to know about this form of marketing, and what it can do for your business. 

What is B2B lifecycle marketing?

So, what is B2B lifecycle marketing?

B2B lifecycle marketing is a marketing strategy that modifies the typical AIDA Model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) by adding a fifth important step: Retention. Put simply, this last step in the AIDA model focuses on keeping customers loyal to your brand or services through a series of initiatives such as referral schemes, loyalty cards and various other customer loyalty schemes.

B2B lifecycle marketing is a marketing strategy that modifies the typical AIDA Model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) by adding a fifth important step: Retention. ”

AIDA Model:

Awareness

The first step in any marketing campaign is “awareness.” During the “awareness” stage of any marketing campaign, the relationship with the customer is relatively limited or non-existent, so you’ll probably need to do a lot of social media marketing, cold-calling and cold emailing. 

Marketing campaigns will typically make use of social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube, depending on your business niche and target audience. 

Interest and Desire

In the interest phase of a marketing campaign, your customer is engaging with your brand or service in a non-committal way. This is the time to up the anté with free content (again, using social media or email) in order to nurture your leads and turn interest into desire. 

Interest can also be nurtured via developing communities online, such as Facebook groups and Youtube channels with interactive comment sections and streaming events.

Action

The action phase of your marketing campaign is typically when your leads (that have been nurtured in the interest/desire phase) have turned into purchases. Encouraging leads to action can be achieved through the following tactics:

  • Social Proof - ‘Social Proof’ means showing off reviews and testimonials from customers or clients,
  • Trust Indicators - Showing off important trust indicators, such as high-profile clients, or verified purchase reviews - will help you establish confidence in a potential customer. It’s natural for people to be inherently skeptical when parting with money for a new business or service, so it’s your job to inspire trust and confidence.

B2B Lifecycle Marketing Step 5: Retention

What differentiates B2B lifecycle marketing from standard marketing is the focus on customer retention; aka, how many customers will keep engaging with your business or services and make repeat purchases. While traditional sales funnel models would stop after the call-to-action objectives have been achieved, B2B Lifecycle marketing focuses heavily on customer retention. 

As we already explained above, customer retention is what’s going to keep your business profitable and scalable. It costs around 4-5 times more resources to find a new customer than to hold onto an old one, so this strategy is ideal for use when you’re trying to increase your scaling efforts.

What are some examples of B2B lifecycle marketing?

If you want to focus on customer retention for your business, here are some of the most popular customer retention strategies that you can make use of:

Loyalty Schemes

Introducing a loyalty schemse is a great way to build not just a loyal customer base but increase sales. You can encourage sales via promotions, discounts, and intelligent email marketing strategies. 

Referral Schemes

Referral schemes involve motivating your current customers to sign up their friends to your service; in return, they’ll receive a store credit sum, a gift card or a discount on their next order. 

Referral schemes are great for two reasons: 1, they introduce new people to your business, and 2, they encourage current customers to continue making purchases and using your services (in exchange for a discount, store credit or a free gift.)

Membership Bonuses & VIP Exclusives 

A great way to encourage current customers to engage with your business is to create membership bonuses and VIP exclusives for paid members. And you don’t need to be selling a service in order to offer a VIP membership: even middleman websites can have VIP memberships that offer privileges such as extra samples with every order, early access to services and exclusive VIP discount codes. 

Early Access

Continuing on the theme of exclusivity and demand generation, Early Access schemes are also a great way to encourage your old customers to re-engage with your business. Early access promotions will help nurture a feeling of community and exclusivity within your customer base, and help to nourish a real relationship between the customer and the business.
 

And the most important…A Great Customer Experience!

Overall, one of the best ways to ensure high customer retention and positive word-of-mouth is by offering a great customer experience. 

This means ensuring that your B2B product or service itself is up to scratch and already garnering positive reviews before you try to scale your business. It also means having functioning customer services available, should your customers run into problems with the product or service they’ve bought.

It’s also a good idea that you try your hardest to personalise the customer experience. Calling your customers by their name in your emails, not spamming their inboxes every day, and offering genuine promotions and discounts is the best way to get people talking about your business - in a good way!

Related Reading

Everything you need to know about the B2B sales funnel

What is vertical marketing in B2B?

What is B2B marketing segmentation? 

Top B2B sales prospecting tools.