The customer lifecycle is how a person progresses through different statuses in relation to a brand. Roughly these statuses can be being in the target audience, being a prospect/ lead, becoming a customer, becoming a loyal customer, and brand advocate.
The company’s marketing plans out the optimal customer lifecycle and makes efforts to drive people on it – that is the sales funnel. It is about what you do to move people further down.
Marketing varies across the different stages of the customer lifecycle and that’s why marketers need the distinction. Marketing activities are planned in line to move from one stage of the lifecycle to the next. For example, what do we do with a lead? We nurture them via content-rich emails to win their trust in the brand. What do we do with a loyal customer? We give the preferential treatment and special perks so they stick with us.
The connection with the customer journey is the following: you need to be aware of the possible journeys and try to align them to the ideal lifecycle. This would optimize your efforts and make the experience as pleasant and useful as possible for the customer.