What is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?

Customer lifecycle marketing is a series of marketing activities that nurture your relationship with customers as they progress from lead to customer to advocate. Selling to your current/active customers can be very profitable; that's why marketers should add customer lifecycle marketing to their marketing strategy. With lifecycle marketing tools like Intercom, you can effectively drive conversions across every touchpoint of the customer lifecycle, closing more deals and increasing retention long term.

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The average clickthrough rate for in-app messages, compared to email's 3.48%


Users who churn 3 weeks before their monthly subscription finishes

70% higher

Intercom customers' 4-week user retention compared to the industry average

The benefits of lifecycle marketing

Marketers tend to focus on acquiring new customers. Yet according to Profitwell, retaining your current customers can increase your bottom line by 2x compared to acquiring new customers.

That’s why marketers need to take a lifecycle marketing approach, one that uses multiple marketing efforts like campaigns and other strategies to proactively engage with current customers as well as new leads. By giving your leads and customers the info they need to succeed at each stage of learning, you can prevent them from losing interest in your brand, reduce support requests and, ultimately, lower churn.

The 5 phases of lifecycle marketing

So what do leads and customers need throughout their lifecycle? Here are the key phases of the customer journey and the lifecycle marketing activities you should consider for each:

  • Acquisition

    Create awareness of your company and its products or services. Use carefully optimized blog posts, targeted ads and landing pages to bring potential customers and leads to your site from Google search.
  • Activation

    Help leads learn about the value of your brand. Touchpoints like live chat, email marketing and product pages increase interest, and strong social proof like customer reviews and testimonials pave the way for an eventual purchase.
  • Revenue

    Convert your leads into paying customers. Live chat with your sales team and personalized demos help provide the final nudge needed for a conversion.
  • Retention

    Create committed, paying customers and eventual brand advocates. Onboarding campaigns, product docs and marketing automation keep these customers happy and informed.
  • Referral

    Convince your customers to readily refer others to your company. Ongoing touchpoints like email, social media and instant support turn loyal customers into advocates eager to spread the word.

Best practices for lifecycle marketing campaigns

The most successful lifecycle marketing campaigns have no gaps in activities between each phase. From activation to referral, every phase of the lifecycle has multiple touchpoints between the customer and the brand. All of these touchpoints keep the customer engaged, interested and feeling valued. Follow these best practices:

  • Automated messages based on user behavior or intent

    The more relevant a message is to your potential buyer, the more likely they are to act on it. For example, you could send specific messages if a visitor is on a pricing page or has visited your site multiple times in a short period.
  • Timely in-app messages

    If your onboarding messages appear when they’re needed most – when your users are within the app – customers will be less likely to feel confused or need to contact support. Drive valuable actions by using in-app activity to trigger onboarding messages, tooltips or upsells in context.
  • Faster support via live chat

    Offering access to live chat or automated, AI-powered chatbots allows you to quickly solve issues and create customer success. Giving customers immediate access to live support or self-serve resources reduces frustration, and it’s much faster than email or phone support.
  • Proactive identification of churn risks or upsell opportunities

    If you can predict which customers are most likely to leave you, you can try to change their behavior before it happens. Use reports to identify inactive or highly active users, then display targeted messages to keep them engaged or offer access to support when they need it most.

Why you should use Intercom for lifecycle marketing

Intercom can help you take your lifecycle marketing initiatives to the next level. Here's how:

  • Rich customer data

    We offer powerful segmentation and message targeting based on specific user actions, including the page they're viewing, how long they've been on your site or when they signed up. Use customer data to qualify leads and get them to the right place instantly.
  • Smart campaign automation

    Automate your drip campaigns by displaying targeted messages on your website, in-app or within email. Users learn about your product organically using the medium they like best. Just add your messages, goals and rules; we'll take care of the rest.
  • Flexible message types

    Our wide range of message types — live chat, in-app messaging, email and chatbots — give you the most robust customer engagement toolkit possible. Reach your customers at each point of the lifecycle with the exact message they need to advance to the next stage.

"We trigger Visitor Auto Messages on our subscription cancellation page to proactively engage potential churn risks before they unsubscribe. 10% of churn saves come specifically from these proactive Intercom messages on the cancellation page."

Jesus Requena

Director of Paid Subscriptions at Unity