With our first State of Customer Marketing report released this summer, we gained a lot of insights into customer marketing, its common processes, and how it’s used in companies today. This article will go through the main findings concerning team structures.
Here’s the overview of what we’ll be talking about:
- The role of customer marketing within a company,
- The size of customer marketing teams,
- Who customer marketers report to, and cross-functional collaboration,
- The people customer marketers interact with, and
- A few example structures from our Slack community.
Role in a company
When we asked our participants “Which department does customer marketing fall under?”, the overwhelming majority were in marketing and product marketing, at 59.3% and 33.3% respectively.
Customer marketing seems to have found a home within the umbrella of marketing. Customer marketing is still a role looking to cement itself into a specific department, and the results suggest its place is within marketing.
But, due to the variety of its responsibilities, we also found that customer marketing is housed under customer success (3.7%) and customer experience (3.7%).
When we put this question to our Customer Marketing Alliance Slack community, we also got answers that included corporate marketing communications, demand generation, revenue, and sales.
Noting this, there’s obviously some way to go before customer marketing becomes unified under one department, and, with its cross-functional nature, it can fit well and collaborate with all of these different departments.
Our article “The marketing organizational structure: Where does customer marketing fit?”, collates and analyzes all of these comments together for your viewing.
The size of a customer marketing team
Next, we asked about the size of customer marketing teams. The majority of participants answered that their team was made up of only them (44.4%). Teams of two to three (25.9%), and teams of three to five (25.9%) came in at a joint distant second. Teams of 5-10 brought up the rear, making up only 3.8% of answers.
When comparing team size and company size, there seemed to be no correlation between the two. Enterprise companies have teams of both one person, 2-3 people, and teams of 3-5 working in the customer marketing department. The same can be said for mid-growth/scale-up companies. Mid-growth companies have teams of one, 2-3, 3-5, and 5-10.
It’s interesting to note that, despite only a small percentage of survey responders coming from small-scale/start-up companies, the majority of customer marketers are working solo. However, this may answer why most customer marketers have a high level of work experience prior to taking on this role.
It seems that companies may be experimenting with customer marketing by having a single experienced customer marketer on board. It’ll be interesting to see how/if this number changes in the coming years.
Who do customer marketers report to?
Knowing the general sizes of customer marketing teams, it’s also important to understand who they report to within the overall organizational structure.
The largest proportion, by a small margin, was made up of those who report to senior management, at a total of 53.9%. These include Head of Marketing (7.7%), Head of Product Marketing (23.1%), Head of Customer Marketing (19.2%), and Head of Customer Success (3.9%) respectively.
A total of 30.8% of our respondents said they report to people directly in C-suite positions, such as CMO at 23% and CEO at 7.7%.
15.4% of our respondents chose ‘Other’. Their answers included, for the majority, positions linked to lifecycle management, such as Director of Lifecycle Management and Lifecycle Management Manager. This is something worth noting as it brings up another area in which customer marketers are utilized.
Whether it’s the lifecycle management of a product or a customer, customer marketers have a foot in both camps, so to speak. With responsibilities such as cross-selling and upselling products, and a customer marketer’s close relationship with existing customers and advocates, it’s not surprising that lifecycle management is connected.
We also asked our customer marketers “Who reports to you?”. The majority said that no one reports to them, which is understandable given that the majority of participants work alone, or in very small teams.
Those that do have people reporting to them included a majority of other customer marketing positions such as Customer Marketers, Customer Marketing Managers, Marketing Executives, and Customer Advocacy Managers. There were also other support roles mentioned, such as Coordinator, Editor, and Events.
Outside of customer marketing and marketing in general, there’re a few other departments which customer marketers work closely with. Interestingly enough, for our group of survey respondents, the team they work most closely with was customer success (50%).
30.8% said product marketing is the team they work most closely with, and the remaining 19.2% said they work mostly with sales.
This is an interesting point given that so few answer to the Head of Customer Success. It seems that, though collaboration between these two departments is most important, this isn’t reflected within the team structure.
This can suggest that, while it’s important for these departments to interact, their roles are distinct enough for their structures to be mostly separate.
If this is the case, then product marketing would be a closer role to customer marketing, given that a higher percentage of customer marketers answer to the Head of Product Marketing, and that 30.7% of participants collaborate most closely with product marketing.
How many people do customer marketers collaborate with?
We asked, “On average, outside of your customer marketing team, how many internal people are you interacting with each day?”. Using percentages, we found that 30.7% thought that 30-40% of their role involved cross-collaboration.
On either side of this range, 30.8% spend 30% or less of their time collaborating with other departments, and 38.5% spend 40% or more of their time collaborating.
With customer marketing being a role that relies a lot on communication, both internal and external, it’s good to see that it’s an integral part of most customer marketers’ roles. We’ll hopefully be seeing that percentage increase over the coming years.
When we put this same question to our Slack community, a few members were kind enough to go through the structure their teams currently use:
1. CMO > Customer Marketing Director > one Customer Marketing Manager and one Senior Customer Marketing Associate
“Very, very broadly... As the CMD, I oversee all of Advocacy, plus renewal and growth initiatives. In addition to advocacy, CMM owns events (we hope to add an events coordinator under her in the future). SCMA also works on growth campaigns.”
2. Director of Customer Advocacy -> Advocacy Program Manager.
“We’re currently exploring expansion into customer marketing initiatives. I think the team at Samsara has a great team set-up!”
3. I report to our VP of Portfolio Marketing -> CMO.
“On my team I have 5 roles separated into 2 disciplines: References and Case Studies (2FT EEs) and Community (3FT EEs).
The Community discipline covers Community Management (online and offline like events), Customer Programs (i.e. advocacy, CAB), and Customer Retention & Communications.”
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