This article serves as a sneak peek into our State of Customer Marketing report 2022, and our conversations with our community members and survey responders.
With customer marketing being such a diverse role, we wanted to get some advice on how newly established customer marketers can advance in their roles. So, we went directly to the source. We asked, “What’s your number one customer marketing tip?”, and our participants delivered.
Take advantage of cross-functional relationships
“Build meaningful cross-functional relationships – with teams like Industry Marketing, Product Marketing, Sales, Press Relations, and Events – to accelerate the scale and impact of customer marketing.” - Liz Greer, Product and Customer Marketing Manager at Salesforce
“Share the content that you’re curating for customers with your account teams. It just might inspire them with ideas that help boost revenue or improve retention.”
“Work closely together with your Customer Success team and ensure alignment on programs, key activities, and goals & objectives.”
Cross-functional relationships are at the heart of customer marketing responsibilities. With such a close relationship with customers, a lot of the information gathered can be used to improve internal processes across your company.
Relationships with other departments also help align your strategies with others to make sure that the picture of your brand presented to customers is consistent across the board.
Our report also found that there was still a big divide between those whose companies they felt had a good understanding of customer marketing and those that didn’t. Only 3.8% of customer marketers felt they were 100% understood.
Consistent collaboration can help with this confusion, proving to stakeholders and other departments that your work is invaluable.
Ask your customers
“The golden rule of customer marketing: if you are ever in doubt, ask your customers. Said in another way... Not sure about something? Ask your customers. Pretty sure? Ask your customers. Absolutely sure? ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS!” - Dave Hansen, Customer Marketing Director at LRN
“Take the time to meet with your customers and understand their roles.”
Your customers make up the biggest data source for marketing; feedback, reviews, and other stats are what will help inform where teams will develop their customer marketing in the future.
So, you must be able to identify and understand who makes up your customer base, which customer segments they belong to, and why they are spending money with you in the first place.
No one is a good enough mind reader to create programs and strategies for your customers without needing to ask them first, about their likes and dislikes, their pain points, and needs.
You are there to help your customers, and they are there to help you. So don’t be afraid of reaching out!
Track acts of advocacy
“Track your acts of advocacy! As much as you can, make sure you are tracking all sales reference calls, case study interviews, speaking events, market research, etc. Reporting on acts of advocacy is a pillar to building your case for customer marketing at your organization. It also sets you up in a good position to ensure you’re not over-tapping customers and build fun programs like customer awards.” - Aunalisa Arellano, Head of Customer Marketing at Filevine
Where your customers are your best sources of data, this is no good if you don’t then do something with the data you collect. And of course, doing too much data collection will also put a drain on your customers.
For advocates, this is especially true. These will be customers who are enthusiastic about helping you and your brand in any way they can, but even they can experience burnout when it comes to offering you acts of advocacy.
So keep track of the data you’ve collected, and contributions made, and make sure to thank and reward your biggest contributors.
“Consistently offer value to your customers and they will be willing to help you. Don’t overlook engagement strategies and jump straight to asks and sells!”
This is kind of a no-brainer, but when marketing to your existing customers – heck, when marketing in general – you must display and provide value to. The main piece of information your marketing should display is how your product benefits your customer.
Trying to sell any product without creating a valuable relationship with your customers will come across as a demand for them to spend money with you, rather than a mutual exchange.
“Network and make yourself visible internally to customer-facing teams. Get as much air-time with customers as possible to both build your advocacy network and to holistically understand your customer’s pain points, and how your company partners with its customers to solve real-world challenges.”
Making yourself visible to others within your organization, and those outside of your organization (but within your industry), is a huge benefit to developing your personal professional journey, and how you interact with your customers.
For example, our community Slack channel offers the opportunity to connect with other customer marketers around the globe to get unique insights and questions answered.
Communities are invaluable resources for improving your work processes, so take advantage of that.
Find the right way to measure your performance
“Work out how to prove what you are doing is working. Tie revenue back to onboarding & educating customers, link it to product usage, expansion, and customer advocacy.”
For stakeholders, the most important thing is to make sure that your efforts are proven to be working. Metrics, internal collaboration, and data collection can all help with this, but being able to apply how your work not only improves your own area of responsibility but other stages within the customer lifecycle as well, goes a long way to justify your importance.
“Keep trying. A lot of new programs require internal and external education. It takes time.”
Again, with customer marketing being a position that’s still maturing, many customer marketers have to justify their position within their organization. This can be disheartening, but being persistent and believing in your programs is vital to ensure your customer marketing team will be successful.
“Hold the line on what you own... it is still a pretty nuanced role and teammates and leaders will try to define it for you.”
Customer marketing is a role that tends to overlap with a variety of other positions - Customer Success, Product Marketing, Customer Service etc. Often, it may seem like you’re stepping on people’s toes, but if you have a good understanding of what your role requires, don’t be afraid to stand your ground, and own it.
Want to read more?
This article is a sneak peek into our State of Customer Marketing Report for 2022.
You can download the full report using the button below and unlock 70+ pages of unique insights into the current state of customer marketing and how it fits in with the rest of the market.