We got a selection of speakers from the inaugural Customer Marketing Summit to answer some of your burning customer marketing and questions.

Let's not waste any time! Over to the experts...

Q: What's one top piece of advice you'd give to a team who're setting up a Customer Advisory Board?

"Before you begin, ensure you have cross-functional executive leadership participation and support."

Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy, Digital Experience at Adobe

"Don’t forget to set the goal for the CAB. And be sure to make it as diverse as possible - that makes the insights that more valuable."

Igor Kranjcec, Product Marketing Lead at Lemax

"Ensure that you engage the right level of customer contact within the CAB.  If their mandate is one of strategic input, it will be difficult to do that if you populated it with product users who’ll want to focus on feature ideas and feedback."

Ryan Tollofson, Director of Next Gen Communication & Implementation Services at TELUS Partner Solutions

Q: In your opinion, what is the key to success when it comes to turning customers into advocates?

"Allow them to get to know you! While this may sound like a lightweight or fluffy answer – it works. Members of an advocacy program want to know there’s a real human running the program who cares about their success. When you open up, allow customers into your world and share your ideas (crazy as they may be), they’ll do the same. They’ll provide honest feedback, and they’ll be there for you when you need them. They’ll become advocates! Any advocacy program that hopes to achieve success must start by building genuine relationships with customers. So open up, and let them get to know you. It will pay off!"

Jeni Asaba, Manager, Community Engagement and Advocacy at Jamf

"Make sure to provide value to the customer on each step of their customer journey. Coming from personal experience, when this happens, I’m more than glad to advocate for you. I see often companies trying to push becoming an advocate by giving discounts, incentives. That works, but it’s a one time thing. A happy customer does it on its own, and is happy to engage in all the advocate activities you have."

Igor Kranjcec, Product Marketing Lead at Lemax

"We've learned that our customers are most excited to advocate for Asana when we bring them together, understand their needs, and facilitate fruitful discussions. For example, when we launched our annual Anatomy of Work Index, an in-depth analysis into how people spend time at work and the factors shaping those habits, we brought leaders together to discuss the results and best practices in the world of distributed work."

Kalina Bryant, Head of Customer Advocacy at Asana

"Practice empathy and LISTEN more than you speak."

Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy, Digital Experience at Adobe

"Just ask. You’d be surprised how many customers are ready to be advocates, but they haven’t been asked and given meaningful opportunities to contribute. If they’re not ready to contribute, perhaps you’re asking the wrong person in the organization (find the champion who likes to get things done) or you haven’t helped them first (e.g. take their product feedback to your product team and report back on the response)."

Jeff Hardison, Head of Product Marketing at Calendly

"Keeping it human! When you focus on the human aspect of the customer relationship, it is easier to build trust because you have learned what your customers are most passionate about. When you understand your customers’ interests, they would feel empowered to share their success stories with you because you have nurtured that relationship with them in a genuine way."

Valeria Gomez, Senior Marketing Manager, Customer Marketing at Zendesk

Q: How do you measure the success of your customer marketing strategy, do you use OKRs or other metrics?

"OKRs, influence to churn/retention rates, upsell/cross-sell pipeline."

Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy, Digital Experience at Adobe

"OKRs, pipeline influence, customer participation in both marketing & sales activities."

Valeria Gomez, Senior Marketing Manager, Customer Marketing at Zendesk

Q: What method of collecting customer feedback do you find most valuable and why?

"Online review sites, NPS, and customer story interviews. Stellar reviews can be leveraged for marketing material. Negative reviews are actionable in that they provide an opportunity to activate customer success and support to address the challenge the reviewer is experiencing. NPS is an indicator of a customer's overall satisfaction. This can be used to determine which customers might be a good fit for your advocacy program. The customer interview is where you learn a lot of the insightful details about how the customer is using your product, how using the product has impacted their role and the impact it’s had on the business as a whole. The interviews are also a chance to hear about challenges or shortcomings in the product. I record all interviews and share the customer’s feedback with the appropriate team(s) across the business."

Andrew Sevillia, Director, Customer Marketing at Sage Intacct

"Simple and short satisfactions presented in product or right after a customer touchpoint is best."

Ryan Tollofson, Director of Next Gen Communication & Implementation Services at TELUS Partner Solutions

"I prefer NPS and CES (customer effort score) for setting the baseline and seeing trends. After receiving the score and/or feedback; i reach out to the customers that answered (both high and low scores) to schedule a deeper interview. Additionally, try to do it as much as possible in-app (for software companies), and make it contextual. We’ve managed to raise the response rate to 80% since we used in-app messaging."

Igor Kranjcec, Product Marketing Lead at Lemax

Q: Where does the role of customer marketing sit within your organization, who do you report to and which teams do you collaborate with most frequently?

"Our customer marketing team sits within the Global arm of our Enterprise Solutions team. We collaborate most frequently with our product and sales peers."

Ayush Sen, Director of Customer Marketing at TELUS Partner Solutions

"Product Marketing. We collaborate with the rest of the Marketing organization, Sales & Success, Investors Relations, etc."

Valeria Gomez, Senior Marketing Manager, Customer Marketing at Zendesk

Q: What's the best piece of advice you could give to someone looking to increase customer retention and reduce churn?

"Listen to what your customers are saying to you, identify where you can bring value to their success across the board and don’t be afraid to show them you have empathy for their situation. If you take the time to do these thing you will forge a strong relationship that has greater potential to withstand bumps in the road."

Jennifer Susinski, Customer Advocacy & Marketing Manager at HPE

"Focus on creating exceptional customer experiences designed to help your customers realize value quickly with your product/solution."

Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy, Digital Experience at Adobe

"Start worrying about churn as soon as someone becomes a customer, through the whole lifecycle. Don’t start providing value and communicating with your customer 2 months before renewal. When you do it all the time, it’s easier to spot potential churners, and renewals rates are higher."

Igor Kranjcec, Product Marketing Lead at Lemax

"In addition to the timeless advice of “create an excellent product,” spend time meeting with your customers. Particularly with those who—according to the in-app behavioral data—aren’t engaging with your product. If it’s an important logo for your company, and no one in CS is available (and they’re cool with it), why not reach out and see how the customer is doing, why they’re not using the product, and so on? By listening, you might turn around the relationship (just as CS does) and then make them not only a renewing customer but also an advocate for your customer programs."

Jeff Hardison, Head of Product Marketing at Calendly

Q: In your opinion, what is a key customer program that directly impacts closing an enterprise deal?

"It's key to partner with your sales organization to set up an engaging executive program. For example, Asana's executive briefing center brings together customer stakeholders and a team of Asana leaders and subject matter experts to explore near term opportunities and collaborate to accelerate transformations. Every six weeks, we partner with our AE's to run an engaging pitch week for key accounts. With this process, we set up our customers, internal executives, and account owners up for success."

Kalina Bryant, Head of Customer Advocacy at Asana

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