What percentage of your customers could you reach out to individually right now just to check in and say hello? If your answer is less than 20%, you have some work to do! As a customer marketing team of one like me (shoutout to the mighty teams of one!), it isn’t always easy to get customer face time.

I can hear you asking: How am I supposed to find time between a plethora of other priorities to chat with customers on a weekly basis?!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to help you with that as we go on. In this article I'll be covering:

How the customer voice drives program creation

I challenge myself to spend at least two hours each week learning new customer stories. These stories don’t always have to be scheduled interviews. Sometimes I listen to Gong recordings, gather learnings from Gainsight, or join check in calls with the Customer Success Manager.

The 1:1 time I spend with customers makes a huge difference in how I create programs. It gives me the opportunity to ask some of my most burning questions:

  • Do they like certain messaging?
  • Did they hate a recent incentive?
  • Do they want to see different information included in our customer newsletter?

All of these insights help me gut check current programs and make updates to keep things interesting. Creating customer emails and webinar programs can become muscle memory, but it’s important to keep things new and fresh.

Your customers' stories are constantly changing and evolving. It’s crucial to meet customers where they are and understand what they set out to do with your product and how they’re progressing towards those goals.

Ask yourself: How does their story align to the core use cases of our product?

Connecting the two helps craft rich customer stories.

Creating personal connections

Now let’s keep things real for a second - of course you’ll never be able to address every single customer need, but compiling feedback on a regular basis helps draw broader insights about your user base.

Interviewing users with different job titles and backgrounds uncovers some really interesting information that you might not have known before. There are likely a lot of cool use cases outside of your top personas that are good to document. Making note of these helps with pulling niche sales reference requests, blog quotes, webinar speakers, and more.

Not only do I learn how our top customers use our product, but I also learn about their personal lives and their hobbies. So come the holidays, I send them a personalized jersey from their favorite sports team, or a monogrammed cheese board if I know they like to entertain.

Customers really appreciate that I take this time to get to know them. It is a very low risk, high reward part of my job.

Building a customer led community

We recently launched a customer community and the first thing I did after I got budget approval was bring together our customer advisory board and ask them what they’d want to see in a community.

This made the vendor evaluation process so much easier because I had an idea of what our “need to haves” were thanks to customer feedback.

The main questions I asked were along the lines of:

  • What would you want to see within a community?
  • What type of content within the community would prompt you to engage?
  • What role would you want to play in this community? (Discussion leader, helping hand, etc.)

We had over 25% of our customer accounts register for the community within the first week of launch. The response has been overwhelmingly positive about the UI, content, and structure which I largely attribute to the customer feedback included in the strategy.

Socializing customer stories across the team

Understanding customer stories is important for other people on the marketing team, too! It allows any person on the marketing team to better align to what customers (and prospects!) want from your product and brand.

I encourage all teams across the company to share customer stories, quotes and feedback with me regularly. We have a specific Slack channel where folks are encouraged to share customer quotes and feedback. It’s a gold mine in there!

I’m easily able to identify our newest and happiest customers and reach out to the account manager to see how we can work with the customer to get their story shared externally. Piecing these insights together helps me keep a pulse on what folks are loving, what they don’t like and what they want to see next.

We also have an internal customer stories matrix that categorizes all of our case studies, video testimonials, and blogs by use cases, industry and company size. The matrix really helps our team understand what customers are specifically happy about and also helps identify story gaps so we know who to go after for net new content.

Everyone at your company knows what you sell and why people buy, but the customer is so much more complex than that. Sharing out customer anecdotes on a regular basis through all-hands meetings or via a recap email can be instrumental in ensuring that everyone is inside the customer’s head.

Being an active listener

More than anything, humans want to be heard and understood in all aspects of life.

Leading with curiosity, actively listening, and following up with these customers enables them to positively move along their customer journey.

Tying customer needs back to your product vision helps you evolve with customer led growth.