Customer marketing differs from traditional marketing in the ways that it prioritizes existing customers over new ones. Still relatively new, the value of customer marketing can easily be underestimated. Proving its value is a vital part of securely establishing it as a part of your business funnel.

In this article we cover:

Why customer marketers are worth it

Even though the mindset is beginning to change, many businesses still prioritize customer acquisition over customer retention.

Customer marketing is a proven aid to growth strategies and is used by big name companies such as Amazon and Apple. They know that existing customers form the bread and butter of effective growth. Not only that, but when used effectively, it has the power to stabilize and improve your bottom line.

Most companies already have the tools used by a customer marketer such as customer feedback streams, data collection on existing customers, and information on the customer journey.

Data about your existing customers is constantly being collected; customer marketers take this data that’s left underutilized in spreadsheets and turn it into an effective tool for increasing revenue.

80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.Customer marketers aim to market to existing customers, which involves different tools and strategies of marketing than used by teams that market to new customers such as sales and product marketing.

A 5% increase in your customer retention rate can lead to an increase of 25%-90% in profit. Once a customer has brought your product or service, we know that they’ve made that purchase because they had a need that was addressed. When that need arises again, customer marketers are there to make sure that your brand is where they return.

Selling to an existing customer is 60-70% likely to happen which is a significant difference from the 5-25% chance of selling to a new customer. Customer marketers are in the best position to cross-sell and upsell your other products. They’re in the best position to learn about which products best suit which customers, increasing the chance of the sale being successful.

Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, when compared to new customers.When customers trust your brand, the longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to feel confident in making larger purchases. It’s customer marketers that nurture this relationship in the first place.  

Despite this, a very small number of companies actually prioritize it, and it’s mostly due to a lack of methodology on how to address these existing customers.

Customer churn becomes a huge problem for these companies as they rely on generalized automated emails and communication forms which mean existing customers getting caught up and lost in the stream of customer turnover.

There are a variety of ways you can reduce churn, and it’s imperative for companies to familiarize themselves with these methods to protect their client base and enhance the likelihood of repeat custom.

The value to your customers

It’s in the name, customer marketer, that this role is centered around customers. This is true of all marketing but what differentiates customer marketers from the others is that their role bridges the gap between product marketing and customer success.

Along the customer journey, customer marketers interact with and assess the customer experience after buying a product, but before the relationship between them and your business concludes.

They’re designed to help you communicate with the very people you’re making your business for.

In the competitive market a positive customer experience could be the only thing differentiating you between your competitor, and these positive experiences are incredibly important to customers.

A whopping 76% of people will immediately switch to a competitor after just 1 bad experience, so we’re not exaggerating when we say that it’s vital that customer experience isn’t only consistent across the whole of the custom journey, but is consistently positive.

Any false step made in handling your customers is handled by your customer service team. Customer marketers can find those pain points before they become the catalyst for customer leaving.

The value to your organization

As a customer marketer, you need to be able to make a case for yourself so that you can do your job effectively. To de-silo the way your team works with other parts of your organization, you must be able to effectively communicate the importance of the information you bring to the table.

Each team will have continually shifting goals and priorities, and keeping up with that can be a challenging task. Navigating and supporting this environment is a key skill for customer marketers.

hourglass graph indicating the stages of the customer journey both pre and post purchase.


Adoption is the moment your product is first used by a customer. This stage can be expressed in the percentage of users who perform a certain set of behaviors after discovering your product for the first time.

86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them after they’ve bought. Tracking the adoption process ensures that you can understand the pain points of the onboarding process for your products and services.

Customer marketers can help identify which processes lead to churn and which lead to advocacy by helping your company better understand their customer base.

One of the ways to do this is by developing personas, where customer marketers and product marketers can work together to provide an in-depth example of the type of customer most likely to make a purchase based on existing customers.

Customer retention

Customer retention is the stage where consumers who have used your product once, return to purchase or continue using a product or service. This’s most commonly measured using customer retention rate.

82% of companies agree that retention is in fact cheaper than acquisition. Despite this, many companies don’t utilize the departments that can make this happen for them.

Customer marketers have the skills and connections to understand why and how to improve retention, and the information they collect from existing customers can then be utilized by other departments in other areas of the customer journey.

How to calculate customer retention rate

Customer marketers can use a calculation to determine the retention rate of your company over a given time period. The formula is this:

[(E-N)/S] x 100 = Customer Retention Rate (CRR)

This is what the letters represent:

S = Your existing customers at the beginning of your chosen time period.

E =  The total number of customers at the end of the time period.

N = The total number of new customers gained within the time period.

So let's say you had 100 at the beginning of the time period, and you had 100 customers at the end of the time period. If you gained 12 new customers during that time period, the calculation would look like this:

[(100-12)/100] x 100 = 88.

During that period you would have a customer retention rate of 88%.


Expansion covers the part of the journey when companies grow and, you guessed it, expand their business. This is mostly done by businesses reaching out to other markets after successfully capturing the interest of their target market.

Knowing where best to expand is a collaborative process between all departments, but customer marketers are the ones best situated to understand your company's current audience, and what other markets would best suit your expansion, without alienating your current audience.

When 70-95% of revenue comes from upsells and renewals on average (for companies who offer them), you’re going to want to understand where your existing customers interests lie so the effort of expansion isn’t wasted.

Customer advocacy

The customer advocacy stage begins once the customers have been satisfied with your business and are now providing referrals and recommendations for your products and services.

Roger Bielicke, Executive Partner at Atomic Revenue points out that “Customer advocacy provides the highest return on investment (ROI) with the lowest marketing expenditure.” With this in mind, though there’re advocacy specific positions, customer marketers are vital in fostering these types of relationships for your business.

They provide the support for customers to transition from loyal customers to advocates themselves. They’re the point of contact that ensures retention and advocacy are seamlessly integrated together and meet the needs of these customers.

Cross-functional work relationships

Customer marketers will often make reference to the cross-functional nature of their role  - it’s something that’s critical to ensure that the customer is at the beating heart of an organization.

Navigating the various and shifting priorities of customer success, support, product marketing and management, onboarding, and sales all on the same page is no easy task.

Here you can explore more:

🤝   Tips for making communication clear and transparent.

💼   An example of how these can be used within your business, and

🤖   Why you should pay attention to the shift from B2B or B2C to B2H (business to human).