TL;DR: What Is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)?

Customer Lifetime Value, often referred to as CLV, is the average monetary value received per customer over their lifetime as a customer. It serves as a crucial metric for understanding a customer's long-term value to your business. At its core, CLV encapsulates the entire journey a customer embarks upon with your brand, shedding light on their financial contribution over time.

Customer Lifetime Value enables informed decision-making, judicious resource allocation, and the creation of experiences that resonate with the target audience.

How to Calculate CLV

  1. Gather Data: Start by collecting essential data, including average purchase value, purchase frequency, and customer lifespan.
  2. Calculate Average Purchase Value: Determine the average amount a customer spends in a single transaction.
  3. Find Purchase Frequency: Calculate how often, on average, a customer makes a purchase within a specific time frame.
  4. Customer Lifespan: Estimate how long a customer typically stays engaged with your brand.
  5. CLV Formula: Use the following formula to calculate CLV: CLV = Average Purchase Value x Purchase Frequency x Customer Lifespan.
  6. Analysis and Action: Once you have your CLV, analyze it. Identify segments of high and low CLV customers. This analysis can guide you in tailoring your marketing efforts effectively.

By following these steps, you can calculate your Customer Lifetime Value and gain a deeper understanding of the value each customer brings to your business.

How CLV Impacts Your Business

At 97th Floor, we understand that CLV isn't just a metric; it's a strategic compass that can steer your business towards success. Here's how it impacts your operations:

Impact on revenue and profitability

CLV directly affects your bottom line. By identifying high-value customers and nurturing those relationships, you can increase revenue and profitability. It's not just about acquiring new customers; it's about maximizing the value of your existing ones.

Improved forecasting and business strategy

When you have a clear understanding of CLV, you can make more accurate forecasts and develop sound business strategies. This helps in resource allocation, product development, and marketing campaigns, ensuring that your efforts are aligned with long-term growth.

Understanding loyal customers

Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any business. CLV allows you to identify and appreciate these customers, helping you build stronger, lasting relationships. By recognizing and rewarding their loyalty, you can turn them into brand advocates who drive organic growth through word-of-mouth.

By embracing CLV, you not only boost your financial performance but also cultivate a customer-centric mindset that can be a game-changer for your business.

Advantages of Understanding CLV

In the digital marketing realm, where we thrive, knowing the worth of each customer over their entire journey with your brand is invaluable. Here are some advantages of embracing CLV:

  • Improved Decision Making: CLV empowers you to make data-driven decisions. With this insight, you can allocate your resources wisely and optimize your marketing efforts.
  • Enhanced Customer Engagement: Understanding the value of long-term customer relationships allows you to create tailored experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
  • Profitability Insights: By calculating CLV, you gain insights into your revenue streams, enabling you to identify high-value customers and focus your efforts on retaining and nurturing them.
  • Sustainability: CLV encourages you to look beyond short-term gains and focus on building lasting relationships with your customers, ensuring the sustainability of your business.

Ways to Improve Customer Lifetime Value

At 97th Floor, we're all about elevating your marketing strategies, and improving CLV is no exception. Here are some actionable ways to boost CLV:

Improve onboarding process

Streamline the onboarding experience for new customers. Make it as smooth and delightful as possible. Provide clear guidance and support to help them get the most out of your products or services right from the start.

Personalize customer experiences

Leverage data and customer insights to deliver personalized experiences. Tailor your marketing messages, recommendations, and promotions to each customer's preferences and behavior.

Focus on driving sales

Implement strategies to increase sales within your existing customer base. This might involve upselling or cross-selling complementary products or services. Encourage repeat purchases and loyalty.

By putting these strategies into action, you can not only enhance CLV but also create a stronger bond between your brand and your customers.

Common Mistakes in CLV Analysis

Understanding CLV is essential, but it's equally important to avoid pitfalls that can lead you astray. Here are some common mistakes to steer clear of:

Lack of segmentation

One of the most prevalent errors is treating all customers as a homogeneous group. Without proper segmentation based on behavior, demographics, or other relevant factors, your CLV calculations may lack accuracy. Segment your customer base to gain deeper insights and tailor your strategies effectively.

Wrong segmentation

While segmentation is crucial, choosing the wrong criteria can be just as detrimental. Using irrelevant or poorly defined segments can lead to misguided marketing efforts. It's essential to carefully select segmentation criteria that align with your business goals.

Unrealistic CLV targeting

Setting unrealistic CLV targets can be counterproductive. Expecting all customers to have a high CLV may lead to overinvestment in low-value segments or overaggressive marketing tactics. Balance your expectations with the actual potential of each customer segment.

Failure to be flexible

The market is dynamic, and customer behavior can change. Failing to adapt your CLV analysis and strategies accordingly can be a significant mistake. Keep your CLV models up-to-date and be prepared to pivot when necessary.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can ensure that your CLV analysis remains accurate and actionable.


What's the formula for calculating CLV? 

The CLV formula is: CLV = Average Purchase Value x Purchase Frequency x Customer Lifespan.

How can I increase CLV for my business? 

Increasing CLV involves strategies like improving customer onboarding, personalizing experiences, and focusing on driving additional sales within your existing customer base. It's all about nurturing and retaining loyal customers.

What are the qualities of customers with a high CLV?

High CLV customers tend to make frequent purchases, spend more per transaction, and stay engaged with your brand for an extended period. They are also more likely to refer others and become brand advocates.

Is CLV the same as ROI (Return on Investment)? 

No, CLV focuses on the long-term value of a customer, while ROI measures the profitability of a specific marketing campaign or investment. CLV provides insights into the overall value of a customer relationship.

How often should I recalculate CLV? 

It's advisable to recalculate CLV regularly, especially when significant changes occur in your business or customer behavior. Quarterly or annually is a good starting point, but more frequent updates may be necessary in dynamic industries.

Is CLV applicable only to e-commerce businesses? 

No, CLV is applicable to a wide range of businesses, including brick-and-mortar stores, service providers, and subscription-based businesses. Any company with customers can benefit from understanding and improving CLV.

Can CLV be used for customer segmentation?

Absolutely, CLV is a powerful tool for customer segmentation. It helps you identify and categorize customers based on their value to your business, allowing for targeted marketing efforts.

Does CLV consider customer referrals and word-of-mouth marketing? 

Yes, CLV can account for customer referrals and word-of-mouth marketing when estimating the value of loyal customers. Loyal customers often bring in new business through recommendations.

What role does CLV play in customer retention strategies? 

CLV is at the core of effective customer retention strategies. It helps you identify which customers are most valuable and guides you in creating retention initiatives that focus on preserving and growing these valuable relationships.