Managing Customer Life Stages and Events Can Super-Charge Your Marketing Effectiveness

Why Knowing Your Customer’s ‘Life Stage’ & Associated Events are Crucial to Delivering Effective Marketing

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Life Stage Overview

Customer Life Stage Marketing Can Help You Deliver the Right Promotions with the Right Offers, at the Right Time and Via the Right Channel

Here are some important questions to bring into perspective how important it is to track and recognize your customer’s life-stages and events:

  • Would you forget to celebrate a school graduation for an important relative?
  • Would you forget to celebrate the birthday of a spouse or significant other?
  • Would you forget to recognize the birth of the first child of a couple that is close to you?
  • Would you miss noticing the retirement of a person that is very special to you?

If not, then why would you miss these important milestones for your valuable and long-time customers as these all represent significant and extremely meaningful life-stage events for them?!

A Statement on Life-Stage Marketing to Remember: “Marketing without Considering Your Customer’s Life Stages is Comparable to Marketing to Them With A Blindfold On”

For this reason, your segmentation strategy must take into account an array of customer profile variables including customer life stages. The following chart depicts how customers follow normal life stages and are grouped into life stage segments. As customers evolve to the next life stage segment, their consumer spending evolves and generally increases until they reach the most mature life stages. {Click on Chart for a Larger Image}:

Customer Life Stage Segments

Customer Life Stage Segments

As your customers age and evolve through their normal life-cycles, their customer profile changes along with this evolution including:

1) Needs & Preferences

2) Propensity to spend at higher levels 

3) Desire for higher quality products and services

4) Growing insensitivity to higher product pricing in exchange for premium service

The next chart highlights the significant life stage events that are associated when a customer migrates from one life stage segment to another. These are the life-events you should track and recognize in order to build stronger and more meaningful relationship with your customers. Customers have reported that they feel “appreciated” or “valued” 31% more from companies that take the time to acknowledge a significant life stage event vs. those who do not recognize these events.  {Click on Chart for a Larger Image}:

Customer Life Stage Events

Customer Life Stage Events

How do you obtain insights into the above major customer life events? The simple answer is that you ask them. Customers are very willing to share their preferences and life events since volunteering this information builds the potential for a better relationship with your company. This also demonstrates that, as a company, you care and listen to your customers. 

By using preference and life event subscription portals, world-class companies allow their customers take control of their relationship with your company by self-reporting their contact preferences (preferred topics they want to hear about, maximum frequency of communication, preferred communications channels, exception events that allow you to contact them even when there is a previous “do not contact” preference set,  etc.). These same relationship preference portals also allow customers to report either known or as they occur life stage events (birthdays, anniversaries, expected graduation dates, job promotions, etc.) in exchange for being recognized and appreciated (discounts, upgrades) for supplying this relationship enhancing and sensitive information.

The next chart illustrates how customer’s needs for products and services evolves as they migrate through their natural customer life stages. By offering products and services that are right for the customer’s associated life-stage, companies can experience a much higher offer acceptance rates (8-47%).  {Click on Chart for a Larger Image}:

Types of Products Offered Should VMatch Customers Life Stages

Types of Products Offered Should Match Customers Life Stages

The following chart illustrates how your marketing promotions and offers must be in total alignment with their life-stage segment needs.  {Click on Chart for a Larger Image}:

Marketing & Promotional Offers Should Match Your Customer's Life-Stages

Marketing & Promotional Offers Should Match Your Customer’s Life-Stages

The above two charts depict how both products and offers must be in total alignment with your customer’s life-stage in order to be effective. This ensures products/services and marketing offers are at the right time, with the right content and are at the right time and via the right channel (by collecting and managing life-stage channel preferences). {Click on Chart for a Larger Image}:

Customer Life Stages Segments with Matched Products, Offers, Spend

Customer Life Stages Segments with Matched Products, Offers, Spend

Bottom-line: If you are not taking your customer’s life stages and associated events into your segmentation and marketing strategy, then you are marketing with a blindfold on and not recognizing what is most important or relevant to your customers. A large US bank where I implemented this life stage segmentation schema and associated customer life-stage marketing management program witnessed a 25% increase in customer offer acceptance as well as a 18% increase in overall customer loyalty as measured by the reduction of customer defection rates.

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