Running a successful business takes much more than just a repeat of one-time purchases. If you work hard to make a transaction from a new customer, why wouldn’t you work just as hard to keep them around? I’ll bet you didn’t know that, according to data from Gartner, nearly 80 percent of a company’s future profits come from 20 percent of their existing customers. Customer retention is crucial for success. Are you listening now?

In order to keep customers happy, it’s important to tailor your messaging from marketing and sales to the appropriate stage of the customer lifecycle. The best companies use the right messaging at the right time to create better customer relationships, equating to a longer customer lifecycle.

What Is a Customer Lifecycle?

The Marketo customer lifecycle is defined by six core stages, represented in a Venn diagram that concentrates at a common point at the base, allowing for complete customer flexibility and movement within the customer lifecycle. With this model, buyers are able to move from one stage to another at any moment, rather than dropping through the dated funnel in step-by-step stages.

The six core stages of Marketo’s lifecycle model are as follows:

  1. Awareness: When a potential buyer first learns about your business
  2. Engagement: When a potential buyer becomes a lead
  3. Purchase: When a buyer is ready to make a transaction
  4. Retention/Loyalty: When a customer purchases the product, uses it, and comes back for more
  5. Growth: When you identify cross-sell or upsell opportunities for the customer to continue to provide value
  6. Advocacy: When a customer loves the product so much that they become an advocate and influence others to consider purchasing, too

With these core stages in mind, along with complete flexibility of the model, customers are easily able to jump from one stage to another without imposing a logical order on their behavior.

What Is Customer Lifecycle Management?

Now that you’re aware of the core stages of the Marketo Customer lifecycle model. It’s important to define the activities of your customer to understand where they fit within each lifecycle stage (i.e., customer lifecycle management). While you’re building out your lifecycle stages, check out this helpful video about building the most effective B2B videos for every stage of your Buyer’s Journey.

Because customer lifecycle management is ultimately defined by company data, this gives you the opportunity to control your customers’ journey, backed by your own knowledge of the customer. In doing so, you’re able to make sure the right message gets to the right customer at the right time.

Understanding Revenue Cycle Models in Marketo

Understanding revenue cycle models in Marketo is one of two pieces to building the best engagement with your customers. This models all the stages of your entire revenue funnel and allows for complete customization across each customer lifecycle.

In my opinion, it’s a fairly easy process to set up. Once you create your first model in Marketo, you’ll immediately begin with six revenue stages across the success path. The success path is made up two elements:

  • Stages: Milestone markers on a lead’s journey
  • Transitions: Arrows showing how leads move between stages

Though this default model can indeed work by itself, it can also be extraordinarily customized to fit your needs and customer lifecycle management.

Understanding Program Builds

Once you’ve mapped out your customer lifecycle journey, you can then proceed to the program build, the second piece to the puzzle.

Program builds in Marketo are built through custom smart campaigns defined by your lifecycle stages. Each smart campaign then uses the personally defined transitions, or triggers, for the lead to flow. Once your criteria for a specific contact changes to a desired state defined by the transition, your contact will then flow smoothly to the next milestone.

It’s as easy as thinking of your lifecycle stages as a vehicle, and the transitioning process as the gas that powers the engine. You can find out more information regarding Marketo program types here. With a proper revenue cycle model fueled by your defined lifecycle stages, your company can ensure better engagement through the actions of the customer.


The customer experience has changed significantly in recent years. Customers are more empowered to make their own decisions on their own time. For businesses, this means being there for your customers with the right messaging and timing, every step of the way.

As automation software continues to become more intelligent to keep up with consumer demands, it’s important to always be looking at how your company can deliver impactful content to the consumer at the right time. With tools like Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Model as a visual representation, backed by different programs and data triggers, you’ll be ensuring your marketing and sales teams are synced, your data is sophisticated, and your marketing is strategized.