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What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and how can you benefit from it?

Rob Horton, CEO

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is the metric you need to measure the value of customers over the entire duration of their relationship with your organisation.

What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)?

Customer lifetime value is a metric used to measure the total revenue from a customer over their entire relationship with an organisation. Some tools will typically measure customer value through their initial acquisition value, CLTV allows you to see the customers value over the entirety of their relationship with you. CLTV is not to be mistaken for Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value (RFM) which refers to the metric that measures the current relationship a customer has with your business.

How to calculate CLTV?

You can determine the CLTV in a simplistic way by taking the average order total, multiplying it by the average number of purchases in a year, then multiplying that number by average customer retention time in years.

Order Total X Average no of purchases/yr X Av customer Retention Yrs = £CLTV

Of course, as marketers we know that applying one value across an entire data set is not that simple. The behaviour of customers by segment, customer type, or by the brand through which you service that customer, is often completely different, and as such marketers can and should treat them differently.

How do order returns effect CLTV?

The nuances are even further complicated when customer returns are considered. How does this affect the customer lifetime value? Should the value of the return be deducted from the customer value? Should you add-in consideration for the cost to the business that is associated with a return? Should you apply values appropriate to each product’s profitability and cost to serve, as not all products are equal?  

To sum it up.

Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is a metric used to measure customer value over the entire duration of their relationship with a business. It is a key metric that is used to support decision making and the measurement of marketing performance. If you knew the CLTV by brand, segment, or by product, would you:

•Optimise budget and campaigns accordingly?

•Apply different strategies to each segment?

•Confirm or refute a need for a retention strategy?

If you want to learn more about how CLTV can benefit your business, download your free copy of our eBook.

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About the Author

Rob Horton, CEO
Rob is co-founder and a digital marketing technology expert. He has spent the last 20+ years working with marketing teams of all shapes and sizes, to take their operational marketing needs and deliver successful technology-backed solutions. Rob sets the strategic direction for the company and works closely with clients and partners to ensure we continue to innovate faster than our competitors.
Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.

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