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Leveraging Lifecycle Beyond CRM


June 15, 2023


June 15, 2023

Traditionally, lifecycle marketing has often been limited within the confines of push, email, and SMS. More recently though, major shifts in tech growth structures have expanded the impact of lifecycle marketers. As businesses mature, or when funding is restricted, the focus often shifts from paid acquisition to engagement and retention—and lifecycle marketing pros are uniquely positioned to optimize your growth in this landscape.

Lifecycle marketers will likely have the most comprehensive view of your users’ journey with your product. Their work spans from acquisition through winback, following your users throughout their entire experience on your platform. So why are lifecycle efforts so often siloed to CRM channels?

We’ve done lifecycle marketing for early-stage startups up to Fortune 100 companies and have some recommendations on the ways you can lean on your lifecycle marketing team to increase LTV, support product-led growth, and accelerate your roadmap.

lifecycle marketing team objectives

Integrating Lifecycle Marketing Throughout Your Growth Team

How often is your CRM team looped in as an execution arm of your GTM team? Many times, CRM teams are approached to build campaigns contributing to a launch without being consulted during the strategy phase. Why does this often fail?

  • Targeting: Strategy team wants to target a persona that their data can’t accurately identify
  • User Flow: The user experience from opening the email/push/SMS, to clicking the CTA, to accessing the feature is broken
  • Message/Recipient Match: Thinking through all of the variations in copy and experience for the nuanced subsets of the audience doesn't always happen
  • Isolated Measurement: Considerations for targeting your message broadly while still respecting experiment/ramp holdouts as well as channel- and campaign-level controls are not considered until it’s too late

In all four examples, these are issues that could have been avoided or easily fixed with the right people at the table. By including your lifecycle marketing manager in the strategy phase of GTM planning, you can proactively address deeplink or data issues, be more intentional with segmentation and messaging strategy, and ultimately deliver a better user experience.

In summary, lifecycle marketers are thinking deeply about problems that could be solved proactively but are often left to deliver in suboptimal conditions when their deep understanding of the user experience isn’t valued.

Lifecycle Marketing to Maximize ROI of New Features

Supporting the growth and adoption of your features and services doesn’t stop at launch. Think back to a launch you did three months ago, and think of your addressable audience today. Do 100% of your users know about that new feature or service? And did they learn about it at the time where it would be most contextually relevant to them? When your GTM team moves on to the next launch, lifecycle marketers can carry the torch to maximize adoption and retention. 

For example, a major music streaming app released a selection of live radio shows on their platform. The GTM focused on making a splashy launch and plugging the content into evergreen programs, such as the welcome series. However, after six weeks, the content had not reached key milestones and was no longer leveraged as a growth lever. What this launch missed was:

  • Targeting users at the point in their lifecycle when the content was most relevant (avoiding new users who are still acclimating to the platform, instead target users who have shown interest in podcasts)
  • Considering acquisition channel (users coming from an in-car free trial/subscription were more likely to be familiar with the content, as they’ve indicated that they listen in the car)
  • Weighing radio show content recommendations with the same weight as podcasts in 1:1 personalized comms, including in-app surfaces (radio content was siloed as its own product and relied on the user adopting a new product)

While all of this can be done post-launch, you would have a better chance of hitting the goals if a lifecycle team were consulted on the use cases for the product at different stages of the customer journey. By leveraging lifecycle expertise, you can amplify the success of your launch and drive adoption beyond the launch phase.

Lifestyle Marketing to Expand Your Experimentation Pipeline 

Backlogs—we all have them. Tackling every hypothesis on your list is already aspirational, but add in the complexity and risk of running these tests through your product and you’ll be innovating at a rate that can’t keep up with growth goals. Consider, then, that CRM channels are often more agile than making product changes, but can offer similar testing opportunities, accelerating your product iteration. Your lifecycle team is already data-driven and measuring their incremental impact, making them savvy at experimentation.

At a high level, consider habit loops. These can be more easily tested via push notifications or email drip campaigns than by building out a new product feature. Not to mention, CRM targeting often exceeds the capability of product A/B tests.

At a major food delivery app, we hypothesized about the impact of surfacing a user’s account credit at different times in the shopping experience to drive incremental orders. Getting this on the product roadmap to test was not looking promising, so the CRM team began testing different messaging via push and email, including abandoned cart notifications. This uncovered data to back up the hypothesis and led to testing it via some in-app modal surfaces. Armed with this data, which we were able to gather in weeks with no product or design lift and no delay time waiting for app releases, we were able to justify getting this on the product roadmap by showing real impact.

Look at your backlog or wishlist and consider which things could be vetted by a lifecycle team. And then break down the silos that separate lifecycle marketers from product managers and product marketers. You’ll find that all three are thinking about many of the same things, like user experience, product fit, messaging, and adoption.

Unlocking Efficiency with Lifecycle Marketing

The takeaway of these stories and recommendations is to break down your silos around CRM. The north star of this arm of marketing is the customer experience and the pillars are to deliver the right message or product to the right user at the right time. How much overlap does that have with your product team? Consider the efficiency that you can open up for your company by leveraging the expertise you already have on hand.

In addition to operational efficiency, lifecycle marketing is an efficient investment. As the economy continues to tighten, many marketing leaders are facing how to diversify their marketing budgets beyond paid. When you have funding, a quick route to growth is to buy it via CPM and PPC channels. However, the CPA of your own owned channels can be the most efficient and drive more long term impact. When done in conjunction with your paid campaigns, you can maximize your investment across all channels and it will reflect in LTV.

Ultimately, one of the most important things you can do is to break down your own preconceptions about lifecycle marketing as an execution-focused utility function. The approach of a lifecycle marketer is to think cross-channel, focus on the user experience, and be driven by data, all traits that should overlap and permeate into your entire growth org. Consider the unique skill set of your teammates and work collaboratively with them. You’ll find dividends in both your metrics and your culture!

Interested in empowering your lifecycle marketing team to accelerate growth? Shoot us a line at growth@rightsideup.co to talk to one of our experts.

Based in San Francisco, Meghan has worked both in-house and as a consultant building data-driven engagement and retention programs. After starting in the live music industry, a term at a music app transitioned her into tech where she now loves experimentation, product, and driving growth. Offline, catch her travelling with her husband, walking her dog through Golden Gate Park, or glued to her Kindle.

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