This was a talk transcribed from one of our sister community events. If you’re interested in seeing these kinds of talks in person, we’re coming to New York, December 3rd.

About our panelists

Margot Leong: I'm Margo Leong. And I'm the host of Beating the Drum, a podcast about the art and science of customer advocacy. I’m so thrilled to be able to interview my good friend Lindsay Molina. She is an absolutely breathtaking, incredible customer marketer, but I'm gonna let her introduce herself.

Lindsay Molina: Thanks, Margot. I don't know what to say after that lovely intro, but I'm Lindsay Molina. I currently the Director of Corporate Marketing at Webflow. Prior to that, I was head of customer marketing at Slack for two and a half years, I led customer marketing teams at MuleSoft, and I was in customer marketing at Poly, previously Polycom. I’ve been in the customer marketing biz for about eight years now, and I just love learning from and networking with other customer marketers.

How COVID changed the world of customer marketing

Margot Leong: Lindsay and I were thinking about what would be the best topic to focus on amidst all of these other amazing topics. What we landed on was the future of work and how engagement has changed now we're all interacting remotely.

As we all know, this has been an insane time. COVID has changed everything, but when it comes to customer marketing specifically, it's changed not only the way that we tell our customer stories, but also the ways that we engage with them in the first place. That's where I would love to kick off the conversation.

Lindsay, I’d love for you to take us back to when this all started and give us a sense of how you and the team were feeling and how you thought things might change.

Lindsay Molina: If I transport myself back to right before lockdown happened for us in San Francisco, we were about to do our big global sales kickoff. That pivoted to a virtual conference, which was a taste of what was to come for the rest of the year.

But I think the biggest shift for us, and what we had to realize overnight, was it was less about the stories we wanted to tell and more about how we rally around our customers during this difficult time.

There was no playbook for how to operate your businesses during a pandemic, so the first thought was, “How do we support our customers? What do they need from us right now?” We made that priority number one and tabled some of the other stuff. As an organization, Slack did a great job of that, so it was reassuring to be part of that culture.

We used it as a time to reach out to a lot of our champions like, “Hey, how are you guys doing? What do you need? Can we give you guys some tips?” No one had done fully remote work before, but at Slack, we had some experience with remote and hybrid offices, so we were able to help set customers up for success.

Through that process, we found some hero stories. A couple of weeks in, some of our customers were like, “We got this. We have what we need to make our employees feel connected and be productive,” so there were some interesting stories around the shift to remote work and how these businesses rose to the occasion.

After the initial trough of despair, these customers were kicking butt, so we needed to tell those stories through this new lens. We saw certain customers responding to us quickly to do these things because they knew this was a unique opportunity to get their brand story out there. So yeah, it was a little terrifying at first, as it was for everyone, and then we found a way to pivot.