What is customer activation?

Customer activation is the process of motivating prospects or customers to take the next step in the customer journey or customer lifecycle. This is sometimes referred to as user activation.

Whether interacting with new customers or helping to re-engage dormant ones, customer activation is a crucial initiative designed to help people get the most value out of your business. 

Typically, it involves thinking through the customer lifecycle, cultivating relationships, and tailoring marketing efforts for each unique stage of the journey – whether that’s targeted ads, engaging storytelling, or special deals.

Left to their own devices, customers may move through the customer journey on their own, or they may reach a certain stage and drop off. That could mean a new lead hesitating to convert because of the cost, or it could mean an existing customer going dormant because they no longer see the value in your product or service. 

When this happens, customer activation is critical. It may include campaigns designed to spur specific actions – for example, product promotions or free trial periods can motivate prospects to try your offering, whereas informative content, customer support, or discounts on renewals can bring past customers back.

What is customer activation in marketing?

There are a range of tactics that can help brands move customers or prospects towards conversion, and they can be deployed at any phase of the customer journey – from first website visit to the final point of sale. But when these tactics are embedded in external, public-facing campaigns, this is called customer activation in marketing.

“Whatever the goal, the activation needs to be tailor-made for a particular audience”

  • Do you want to motivate price-conscious customers to upgrade their subscription? A customer activation in marketing might involve a discount for current subscribers.
  • Do you want more customers to leave online reviews about your product or service offering? You could design an email marketing campaign aimed at recent purchasers.

Whatever the goal, the activation needs to be tailor-made for a particular audience, and delivered strategically through the right channels and the right touchpoints at the right moments. This requires an intimate knowledge of prospects and customers, including their preferences and needs.

What is a customer activation campaign?

Some marketing campaigns are geared towards brand recognition and reputation, while others are focused on growing revenue. The ones that are specifically designed to inspire leads and customers to take an important, predetermined step in the customer journey are categorized as customer activation campaigns. 

Directly or indirectly, customers may be spurred to make a purchase, subscribe to a service, sign up for future marketing communications, join a loyalty program, or start a free trial period. Whatever the objective, for a marketing initiative to be a customer activation campaign, it must be purpose-built around a clear, strategic call to action.