October 6, 2022

Digital marketing

Digital marketing Agency

How (And Why) to Build a Product Marketing Strategy Around Your Customer Lifecycle

3 min read

In the early days, my company sold one product.

Our flagship product. The bestseller. The one we’re known for. We built our business around the wired bra. And as a result, in ThirdLove’s building stages, we devoted all of our focus to  positioning and messaging around one key product.

Last year, we extended into a number of new categories.

Our original product marketing cadence focused exclusively on the flagship product. But with irons in so many fires, we found that our strategy had to evolve.

When you venture into new categories, customers will visit you (virtually and/or in person) at different stages of a lifecycle: new customers, repeat customers, and lifers. Each group has its own preferences and needs, which should be reflected in your product marketing strategy.

How to gear your product marketing strategy to your customer lifecycle:

  1. Understand what they prefer, and when. A company with many products is like a house with many rooms. Almost everyone enters through the front door, where they’re all greeted by your flagship product.

    You should look at your product marketing cadence through the eyes of new customers, repeat customers, and brand loyalists alike. Which of your products brings people in the front door. How can you tailor messaging funnels to the needs associated with that product? How do customers tend to move through your product’s secondary rooms? And how can your marketing be an effective tour guide?

    To see through customers’ eyes, you need to know how they think. Talk to them in focus groups and leverage data to understand at which stages of the lifecycle customers purchase which products. This is the power of product marketing personalization at work.

  2. Leverage personalization to amplify your strategy. Once you understand what customers want and when, make personalized modifications to your marketing imagery and content. This starts with your website’s hero images: How different customers are greeted when they land on your site.

    Generally speaking: Core products drive new business, while new products drive repeat business. So different categories of customers will respond to different types of hero images.

    When a new customer visits your site, they should see core products, core messaging, core imagery. When a repeat customer visits your site, they already know about your main products, so show them hero images of other parts of your product ecosystem. You’ve earned their trust with your main offering. Now extend that trust into other dimensions of their lives.

    Admittedly, with evolving web/cookie regulations, it may be challenging to break out web messaging this way. If you run into digital obstacles, default to core hero images for all site visitors.

  3. Preserve core narratives across different products. When we launched our active-wear, we launched three different collections: low, medium, and high-impact — all designed for different types of activity. Of those three, one sold much better than the others.

    Why? In retrospect, we determined that its high sales were due to the way its messaging mirrored our flagship product’s messaging. With this new product, we emphasized benefits very similar to those of our core products. What that told us was that when we’re putting new products into the market, we need to stay true to core tenets. The same will be true for all companies, especially with today’s values-forward standards. 

Romeo & Juliet notwithstanding, most people won’t enter your home by climbing the garden wall. Use quantitative and qualitative data to understand the path customers take from the front door to secondary rooms, and use your marketing cadence as a map from stage to stage. The better you understand each category of visitor, the more of a personalized, hospitable experience you’ll be able to give them.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.