Beyond Acquisition: 7 Ways B2B Marketers Can Lift Customer Retention and Lifetime Value



The article discusses the vital role marketing plays not only in customer acquisition but also in customer retention and increasing lifetime value. It emphasizes the need for businesses to shift their focus from solely acquiring new customers to nurturing existing ones. B2B marketers can apply these seven steps to create a customer experience that grows loyal customers and profitable customer relationships.

By Maria Geokezas, Chief Operating Officer at Heinz Marketing

We all know getting new customers through the door is important. But what we sometimes forget is getting them in the door is only the beginning. The true magic lies in keeping those customers. That’s where a shift in the way we see marketing can make a difference.

By shifting marketing’s focus from attracting new faces to nurturing the relationships businesses already have, marketing teams can unlock new ways to improve customer retention.

Here, we look at how marketing can play a larger role in customer retention through advanced strategies that keep existing customers engaged, satisfied, and primed for opportunities that increase lifetime value.

Why Customer Retention Matters

Customer retention isn’t just a feel-good metric; it’s the lifeblood of sustainable growth. Here’s why:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Acquiring new customers is significantly more expensive than retaining existing ones. In fact, research shows that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.
  • Increased Lifetime Value (LTV): Retained customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, spend more per transaction, and become brand advocates, ultimately leading to a higher LTV.
  • Enhanced Brand Loyalty: Positive customer experiences build loyalty, leading to positive word-of-mouth marketing and increased brand recognition—making attracting future customers easier and less costly.

How B2B Marketers Can Help: Real Strategies for Customer Retention and Expansion

Now that we’ve established the importance of customer retention, let’s explore how marketing can help boost customer loyalty and overall lifetime value:

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1. Segmentation and Personalization

Messages designed for everyone speak to no one. Instead, marketing can leverage customer data to segment audiences based on demographics, purchase history, and behavior. That way, you can deliver targeted campaigns that speak directly to a customer’s specific needs and preferences.

When teams utilize tools like marketing automation platforms, they can better understand what personalized knowledge and educational resources each customer needs. Then, that information is handed off to your sales team so they know to demonstrate your product’s most valuable features for each user.

2. Prioritize Customer Onboarding

First impressions matter. You need a smooth onboarding process to set the stage for long-term customer satisfaction.  Marketers can help develop a comprehensive onboarding program that provides clear instructions and ongoing support to ensure customers derive maximum value from your product or service.

For example, you could create a series of interactive tutorials that guide new users through the platform functionalities, showcasing relevant features and how to use them.

3. Building Customer Relationships

Good marketing doesn’t just grab a customer’s attention once. It should build relationships. You want to invite communication beyond transaction points that build a unique customer experience.

Marketing teams can do this by crafting engaging content that educates, entertains, and positions your brand as a trusted resource. Teams that utilize channels like social media platforms to interact directly with their audience open a continuous feedback loop that you can use to improve your product.

Events such as “Ask Me Anything” sessions provide valuable insights and build trust with your audience.

4. The Power of Content Marketing

Helpful content is a cornerstone of customer retention. Marketers can form a content strategy that caters to the different stages of your customer journey. A comprehensive content strategy offers educational resources for new customers, provides in-depth guides for existing users, and creates exclusive content for loyal customers.

A great way to retain customers through content is to build a library of “how-to” articles or videos that cater to customers who have already purchased your product and are looking to expand their knowledge.

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5. Create Ongoing Opportunities for Feedback

Customer feedback is a goldmine for actionable insights. Marketing should actively solicit feedback through surveys and polls at common churn points, such as at the point of an auto-renewal.

More importantly, they should act on this feedback by improving the marketing materials around customers’ reported sticking points.

6. The Power of Advocacy

Marketing can help turn satisfied customers into brand advocates to attract more best-fit customers. Utilizing tactics such as encouraging customer reviews on social media and running referral programs can incentivize existing customers to recommend your business to their network.

Marketing can also set up partnerships with customers who may be industry influencers to create co-branded content to showcase the benefits of their products, leveraging the influencer’s credibility and reach to generate brand awareness and attract new customers who trust the influencer’s recommendations.

7. Measure What Matters

Marketers must go beyond vanity metrics. Set up systems to track your customer retention rate, churn rate,  net promoter score (NPS), and lifetime value (LTV) to gauge the effectiveness of your retention efforts.

This way, marketing can report on these metrics to company leadership and marketing stakeholders to highlight the impact of customer retention on overall business success.

Marketers who demonstrate the positive impact of their efforts on retention and lifetime value create new opportunities to become more involved in the customer lifecycle—building a marketing flywheel of success.

Of course, these are just a few examples. There are numerous strategies your team can deploy. But the core principle remains:  marketing – when focused on nurturing existing relationships – is a powerful force driving customer retention and expansion.

Reach out to learn more about customer-led growth strategies and how we build positive customer experiences that help drive business growth.