It’s that spooky time of the year when we are all talking about…Lifecycle Marketing? Yes, in fact. I want to share a simple story that illustrates what Lifecycle Marketing really is and why it’s critical for your business.

I have a toddler. He doesn't really understand what Halloween is, nor does he understand the concept of "dressing up" quite yet. Because he has an opinion about everything these days, I go through the motion of asking my 2 year-old what he wants to be for Halloween. I start with the characters he is most familiar with...Buddy from Dinosaur Train (emphatic 'No'), Chase from Paw Patrol (slightly less annoyed, but 'No'), and to address his latest obsession...Lightning McQueen from Cars. Ding Ding Ding!

Now starts the search for a costume. Between Target, Amazon, Goodwill, party supply stores and numerous Halloween pop up stores, where do I start? I really wish the best option would find me… 

If I had a Halloween pop up store as my client, I would advise them to take full advantage of Lifecycle Marketing during their peak sales season. Why? Because as a Halloween shop you have every right to flat out own the season. You should be the authority on costume ideation, the store with the largest selection and the one that helps consumers post-holiday.

In order to own the season, the Halloween stores really need to understand their customer’s entire journey. In this case, the journey is relatively short so the Halloween stores will, in the end, have a lot of activity taking place in a short time across a variety of channels.

Where should you start?

Well, the Strategy team at Three Deep Marketing starts with understanding the customer journey, so we can then identify the messaging and tactics to employ at each stage of that journey. It’s critical to start with this step and not jump straight to tactics. If you skip the strategy, it’s sort of like your kid getting a LEGOS Death Star for his birthday with no directions. It has only 3,803 pieces, should be easy enough, right?

Here is our process to understanding the customer journey:

  1. Define your audience. We dig deep into the customer motivations and pain points. In my personal example of Halloween costume shopping, a high level definition could be: A mom, who is always on her iPhone, very busy and is getting back into Halloween now because of her child(ren). She wants this to be a positive experience for her kid(s), so she is willing to spend a decent amount of money make that happen.
  2. Next we map the consumer against their journey. A good basic framework for the lifecycle phases are: Awareness--Consideration--Purchase--Post Purchase. Each phase is mapped against what the target audience is thinking, feeling and doing in each of those phases.
  3. Identify themes that surface during the journey mapping. Through this exercise we notice themes start to emerge. These are opportunities to address the consumer. Does this mom search for a certain type of content in the Awareness phase? What tools does she need in the Consideration phase to ultimately make a purchase? What is her experience post-purchase?
  4. Identify campaigns to address those themes. What does this Halloween business need to say at each phase to move mom along the purchase path?
  5. Develop the plan and execute. And finally we can get into channels. Identify where each message is best communicated based on mom’s habits.

An important note here is that concepts like Marketing Automation and CRM don’t lead this conversation. These are often used interchangeably with Lifecycle Marketing, but they shouldn’t be. Remember to lead with strategy, not systems.

For a Halloween pop up store, here’s are some examples of what the customer journey and campaigns could look like:

  1. Awareness: Mom doesn’t have time to shop around and we know she is always on her iPhone and social media. As a Halloween store you could OWN the ideation phase. A potential campaign could be around costume ideas for kids, executed on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Consideration: Mom is going through options with their kids. The Halloween store website could have a wish list functionality. Then when products are about to go out of stock/or back in stock, the price drops, etc. email campaigns could be triggered to increase urgency and purchase.
  3. Purchase: Mom wants to have confidence in her purchase, even though she doesn’t want to shop around. Use social proof and/or reviews (discounts help too!) to encourage a purchase. Or offer free shipping or in-store discounts on remaining merchandise close to the holiday. Both can be executed on paid media, social, email or direct mail (although this one is tricky due to lead time to put a piece together).
  4. Post-Purchase: Mom now has a costume that she probably won’t need again…and not to mention a stupid amount of candy that she wants out of the house. You could partner with a charity to be a drop off location for the candy and costume and in return get put on a list for a coupon towards next year’s purchase. Email execution is probably best here, and BTW, this email wouldn’t go out until the following September or early October.

We know this works because we’ve done it for many brands, including Red Wing Shoes. You can also learn more about our approach with our Marketing Automation eBook. Happy strategizing! 

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