With our first State of Customer Marketing report released this summer, we gained a lot of insights into customer marketing, its standard processes, and how it’s used in companies today. This article will go through the main findings concerning the leadership team's involvement in customer marketing.

Here’s what we’ll be talking about:

The influence of customer marketing

With customer marketing still considered a relatively new addition to how businesses run, we wanted to know a little more about how customer marketers currently feel in their position.

Influence on company goals and strategy

First off, we asked, “On a scale of 0-10, how much influence do you feel you have on your company’s goals and strategy?”. In this case, zero means ‘I have no influence at all’, and 10 means ‘I have a lot of influence’.

It seems that customer marketers think they have a relatively decent influence on their companies’ goals, with the majority (65.4%) rating it at a six or above. On average, respondents rate themselves at a 6/10.

Influence on revenue from existing customers

We then asked, “On a scale of 0–10, how much influence do you feel you have in driving the revenue existing customers make for your company?”. 53.7% rated themselves as a six or above, with an average rate of 5.6/10.

Are customer marketers satisfied with their ability to meet KPIs?

We next asked how satisfied customer marketers are with their ability to meet KPIs. When we asked about how they measured performance and what metrics they used, there seemed to be a big variety of answers.

But, in the case of KPIs, this doesn’t seem to be the case. At the current largest majority, 84.6% of participants said they feel somewhat successful, 11.5% said they feel neither successful nor unsuccessful, and 3.9% said they felt somewhat unsuccessful. It’s important to note that no one selected that they feel ‘100% successful’ or ‘100% unsuccessful’.

From what we’ve already uncovered, it seems that a lot of the things holding customer marketers back from being 100% successful in meeting their KPIs is a problem of resources.

With budgets varying wildly, and the majority of customer marketers coming from one-person teams, customer marketers are currently making do with what they have access to.

Team size also seems to have an effect on the ability of customer marketing departments to meet KPIs. 100% of those in teams of 3-10 found their ability to meet KPIs ‘Somewhat successful’. Those with teams between 1-3 were where answers swayed more negatively.

And it seems from the results of this question that customer marketers are generally confident in their own abilities to meet KPIs, so as the stance of customer marketing changes, we’ll hopefully see an even higher percentage next year.

Are customer marketers invited to leadership meetings?

Along the same lines as the previous sections, we wanted to cover our basis for how customer marketing is considered in all areas; this includes leadership. When we asked our survey respondents if they ever got invited to leadership meetings, the results were evenly divided.

34.6% said they never get invited to leadership meetings, and an equal 34.6% said they did. 30.8% said they only get invited sometimes.

Again, the divide here is telling. It seems that there’s a lack of cohesion on whether customer marketers should be invited to meetings, and if they should be invited each time. As customer marketing has an impact on a significant portion of the customer journey, having customer marketing insights (even with subjects such as onboarding or product) can be invaluable.

With the value of customer marketing diminishing depending on how other teams and stakeholders understand customer marketing, it’s vital that customer marketers be given a space to teach others. With only 34.6% of customer marketers being invited to leadership meetings, this change needs to come from the top.

It’ll be good to see more customer marketers invited to offer their expertise at these types of meetings in the upcoming year.

The importance of customer marketing and customer-obsession

The question of whether or not customer marketers are valued by the leadership of an organization often comes down to how customer-centric the core values of the organization are.

This customer-focused business is now commonly referred to as being “customer-obsessed”. This definition is directly related to customer experience. It describes companies that are constantly looking to improve and evolve their customer experience strategy with their consumer base.

As such, a customer-obsessed company will be more focused on existing customer satisfaction than trying to obtain new customers. As customer experience is one of the most important differentiators between companies, this should be a priority.

If you’d like a comprehensive report on the current state of customer obsession, Forrester released a recent report covering some of this.

Customer-obsessed companies will prioritize customer retention over customer acquisition, often the company's work focus will revolve around customer success and other customer-facing teams, and have customer feedback as a primary source of data collection.

These companies should have leadership teams that can put themselves into their customers’ shoes, should be able to listen and act on customer insights and prioritize them over their own opinions. This is only possible if they’re accurately informed about their customer base from the teams that work with them on a daily basis.

Customer marketers fit this bill to a T and, as such, should be able to have access to, and discuss the state of the company's customer base with the leadership team - which means being invited to meeting with them on the regular.

A Slack community member pointed out this vital quote from Geoffrey Moore which encompasses the importance of this concept:

“In a world where supply exceeds demand, product is no longer king. Customers are now the scarce ingredient in the economic equation and vendors need to become more skilled as courtiers; they need to invest as much capital in relationships as they do in product.”

To become a part of invaluable discussions, come along and check out our Slack community where we consider points such as this on the regular.

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 a whole 70+ pages of unique insights into the current state of customer marketing and how it fits in with the rest of the market.