Customer Lifecycle, LLC


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Karin Ferenz
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Article: Get Better Business Results from the 4 Stages of Your Customer Lifecycle -- Acquisition by Karin A Ferenz
Published 11/29/2018

Identify Unique Needs and Opportunities at Each Lifecycle Stage

It’s a given that having good customers is a critical requirement for business success in any market.  And companies spend millions of dollars on business development to get customers, convinced that more is better.  But more is not necessarily better, because not all customers are the same in terms of their contribution to revenue and profitability. 

As the cost of acquiring new customers increases, acquisition efforts need to focus on those customers with the highest potential to become profitable.  Most companies constantly look for ways to expand their pool of pro?table customers, with the ultimate goal of optimizing each customer’s lifetime value.

Each stage in the customer lifecycle — acquisition, service, growth, retention — has its own unique customer needs, attitudes and behaviors.  This creates the opportunity to identify and measure competitive performance requirements and metrics for both a particular stage and its relationship to the entire lifecycle.

This is the first in a series of four papers that will discuss how to get the best business results from each of these stages.

Stage 1- Acquisition











            Fig 1 – The Customer Lifecycle

The goal for customer acquisition should be deciding which prospects most closely match a company’s "ideal prospect" profile and also deciding which prospects don’t meet the company’s criteria for acquisition and eliminating them as acquisition targets.  This simple decision helps focus marketing and acquisition efforts while saving costs and increasing return on acquisition investment.


Who is an ideal customer and why is it important to define them?

Defining an ideal customer in a target market, either a company or an individual, is the first step in developing a successful marketing strategy.  It is necessary to reduce the definition to one single type of prospect that best fits a company’s core competencies, its product and service value proposition, and its culture.  By spending time researching the ideal customer, marketing strategy will be much more effective, and focus on a market niche may produce the best business development results.

Clarity on an ideal customer in a target market makes it possible to:

  • Focus marketing efforts strategically in attracting the best prospects;
  • Invest marketing dollars efficiently in reaching  ideal customers;
  • Establish expertise in  a target market or niche; and
  • Create differentiation in a fragmented market.











How to identify an ideal customer

Careful research is the key to identifying the prospects that may be the best fit with a company’s products or services.  Secondary research on the Internet can provide a wealth of useful information about target market prospects, and primary research on market sizing can provide quantitative measures of market characteristics and niche opportunities.

The complexity of a company’s sale cycle is a key consideration in determining the fit between a company’s products or services and the ideal customer. Typical sales cycle challenges for startups are discussed in How Sales Complexity impacts your Startup’s Viability.