The closing of 2023 saw the launch of our State of Customer Marketing Report and with it, we revealed a host of fascinating insights about customer marketing professionals and their impact on company success.
The influence of customer marketing
We wanted to see if customer marketing and advocacy sentiments toward their role have changed. We asked, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how much do you feel like your role as a customer marketer is valued at your company?” (0=Least valued, 10=Most valued).
This year, we saw a slight, yet wonderful increase in how customer marketing professionals rated this question. 76.9% of participants rated it at a 6 or above, a 3.8% increase from last year. However, the average answer remained the same at 6.6/10. The most common numbers chosen were 7 and 8 this year, compared to last year’s 6 and 7.
Do people understand customer marketing?
Adding to this question, we also asked whether or not customer marketers felt other teams and stakeholders understood them. 68.1% said that some do have a good understanding and some don’t, which is an increase from 53.9% from last year. And when combining the other answers it seems a very similar amount say their company has a good understanding (16% “Yes 100% and “Yes they have a good understanding”) versus those who say it is a constant challenge.
This is an area in which we hope to see an improvement in the coming months and years. With over half of our participants saying that not all of the people they work with understand their role, there is a risk that these teams won’t get the right kind of support needed. We explore customer marketing pain points in part seven of this report.
While customer marketing professionals do feel valued in their position, this lack of understanding from other teams and stakeholders can cause unnecessary friction and even siloing. As with all things a customer marketer does, this is a two-way street.
While customer marketers should be able to prove, justify, and explain their importance in a variety of situations, the same should be said of those they collaborate with.
Now, this doesn’t mean these teams should know all of the ins and outs of these types of roles (that’s not realistic for anyone!) but they should be able to understand how these kinds of roles fit in with the organization as a whole, and how they fit within their immediate cross-functional collaboration.
Customer marketing helps in a variety of ways:
• 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
• A 5% increase in your customer retention rate can lead to an increase of 25%-90% in profit.
• 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.
• Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more,
when compared to new customers.
You can learn more about proving your value in our article below:
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.
Ability to achieve KPIs
Looking inward, we asked, “How would you rate your team’s abilities to meet and exceed your KPIs/targets?”. This year we got a majority, 65.2%, that said they were somewhat successful in hitting their KPIs.
11.6% were neither successful nor unsuccessful (close to identical to last year’s results) and 5.8% said they felt they were somewhat unsuccessful, an increase of 1.9% from last year.
It’s also important to note that last year none of our participants chose ‘100% successful’, a notable change, as 11.6% selected it this year.
Are customer marketers invited to leadership meetings?
When considering the relationship between customer marketing and leadership, we asked each respondent if they, or someone else from their team got invited to leadership meetings. Last year the results were very evenly divided between the three answers.
Though those that responded ‘no’ remained essentially the same at 34.8% this year, the other two answers changed. Those who said they sometimes get invited dropped from 34.6% to 26.1%. Those who said they do get invited increased from 30.8% to 39.1%.
As we mentioned last year, customer marketing has an impact on every part of the customer journey due to their close relationship with existing customers, providing unique and invaluable insights into stages in both the pre-purchase and post-purchase phases.
With the increase of those regularly invited to leadership meetings, it seems that this value is now beginning to be recognized more at the C-suite level. Yet with the percentage of those that never get invited to leadership meetings staying the same, it speaks to some companies not opening this avenue for their customer marketers.
Such insights could be missed in leadership talks, and so, we hope to see more customer marketing representation in leadership meetings in the future.
Influence on company goals and strategy
Noting the answers to the last question, we also asked our participants to what extent they felt they influenced their company’s goals and strategies. In this case, zero means ‘I have no influence at all’, and 10 means ‘I have a lot of influence’.
This year there was an extremely close split between those who rated their influence at a 6 or above and those who rated it five and below, with a mere 0.8% difference between the two sides. The average rating for our participants dropped to 5.1/10 from 6/10 last year.
There may be a variety of factors driving this change; though it may be a simple effect of getting a larger data pool to examine this year, there are other factors that go into a customer marketer's ability to produce their work.
This could be another effect of the economic climate as it is right now, making an impact has become that much harder. This could limit available resources, impact a customer’s willingness to engage, and more. We go into more detail about specific pain points in part seven of this report.
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?” While the rating for impact on company goals dropped from last year, the percentage of those who rated themselves as a six or above when it came to impacting revenue increased.
Specifically, those who rated themselves a 6 or above increased from 53.9% to 58.2%, with an average rate of 5.7/10.
While this is only an increase of 0.1 when it comes to the average rating, it is an increase nonetheless. As customer marketing performance metrics begin to solidify alongside the role, the more likely we’ll be able to begin drawing a direct line from customer marketing processes to revenue impact.
Meeting revenue goals
This year, we wanted to get a closer look at the relationship between company revenue and customer marketing/advocacy positions. We asked, “Did your organization hit its revenue goals for the last financial year?”
We’ve mentioned it a few times throughout this report but, It is not perhaps surprising that a large portion of companies in our data pool did not hit their goals. The economic state of many countries right now is having a significant impact on many industries within the business.
41.5% said that this year their company revenue fell. Although that makes up the largest individual percentage, 52.8% either met or exceeded their revenue goals for the year.
This is still a rather small percentage, as there is a very clear split in our data, where half met their goals and close to half did not. We compared company culture, and if internal teams have a good understanding of customer marketing, but there seemed to be no correlation between these factors and revenue.
Looking to the future
So what does this mean for the coming year?
Seeing the increase in those who think they have a good level of influence within their company bodes well for customer marketing roles.
While there was an increase of those who felt they had been somewhat unsuccessful in achieving thei KPIs in the last year, over half of customer marketers felt the opposite, remaining the majority since 2022.
The development for customer marketing continues to improve when we look at the percentage of those who get invited to leadership meetings. We saw a very nice increase from 2022 of close to 10%.
Looking at the changes in these percentages, customer marketing value and understanding seems to have improved over the last year, setting up customer marketing and its surrounding professions for a more successful 2024.
If you’re interesting in looking deeper into these stats, as well as other analytics concerning things like team structure, team budgets, and metrics, make sure to nab yourself a copy of the full report using the link below!