This is what you’re all here for, the answer to the ultimate question. We are here to help you with all things customer marketing, but let’s start with the basics.

In this article you will discover:

What is customer marketing?

So, let’s dive in - what exactly is customer marketing? The truth of the matter is that it really looks quite different depending on an organization, and its internal structure and goals.

There are a lot of common threads though, Let’s break it down a little bit further.

One way to look at customer marketing is:

Turning customers into advocates who expand and renew their relationship with the business. Where product marketers are responsible for overall go-to-market strategy, customer marketing plays a role in driving go-to-customer strategy.

The aim of customer marketing

The aims of customer marketing is to:

Provide an audience with the types of communications and experiences they need, want, or like as they move from prospects to customers then, ideally, to advocates.

The dust is beginning to settle when it comes to defining what customer marketing is and should be. It’s expanding its scope and remit; in years gone by, it has been primarily associated with advocacy and loyalty, but this is evolving to active involvement throughout the post purchase customer journey, as customer marketers seek to inject the significance of customer experience at all stages.

They are essentially a customer expert and look to influence the overall lifetime value of a customer. They will have a hand in most customer-facing tasks, to make sure that the voice of the company is consistent in any interaction. In a nutshell, customer marketing seeks to implement:

  • Activity across the customer journey that forges meaningful connections and relationships to drive functions such as customer advocacy, retention, education, community, and referrals and references, as well as driving cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
  • Establish clear channels of communication and collaboration between different teams, like sales, product, and customer support.
  • Encourage customer-centered alignment across an organization

Customer marketers are often also at the intersection of product marketing and customer success, shaping conversations to support adoption, as well as gaining important feedback.

The role of the customer marketer is a truly cross-functional, collaborative one. Looking forward, customer marketing will increasingly be a fundamental, strategic resource for any business.

Why is customer marketing so important?

Customer marketing has gained such traction as markets become more and more flooded and companies struggle to break through the noise. By fine-tuning an exceptional, personalized customer experience, a business can simultaneously retain its existing customers while hopefully attracting prospects, which is great news for revenue.

Driving down things like churn rate and powering up the average customer lifetime value means that it’s much more cost-effective to work on your existing customer base. Statistics from Forbes suggest that US companies lose over 136 million dollars due to avoidable customer loss. That’s right, loss that could have been avoided.

Returning customers are over five times more likely to repurchase, and similarly, are likely to forgive a company error, four times more likely to recommend, and seven times more likely to try out new products.  Retention is absolutely crucial.

Coupled with advocacy tactics and programs, this can provide invaluable insights because customers are more likely to leave feedback and complete surveys - giving you more information at your disposal to inform strategy, as well as feeding into overall customer lifetime value, and driving expansion.

Customer marketing will also have a significant role to play to identify customers for case studies or customer stories - shining the light on their successes with your brand, as well as possibly elements of the onboarding and adoption process.

As customer marketers have such a deep understanding of their customers, tailoring these areas of the customer experience so that they’re as optimized and personal as can be is a key differentiator, and also lays the groundwork for successful product adoption and engagement.

The bottom line is: customer marketing grows a business.

The customer journey

The customer journey is made up of several steps - beginning even before purchase with ‘awareness' of your brand. Ideally, this journey has no end - instead, it is more like a series of positive, personalized interactions that culminates in customers becoming a loyal following that shout about you from the rooftops.

For customer marketers, it’s key to understand and truly embody the customer journey, as they consider how the importance of each stage or microstage feeds into overall customer experience, and how the implications it can have for other teams too, such as customer success or sales.

Depending on how your organization is set up, customer marketing will typically have a role to play in the following areas:

Adoption

Adoption is encouraging a user to understand the value of a product. This applies to both new users and existing users, for example as new features are added.

Good strategy here will encourage users to embrace your offering with open arms, even in the face of alternatives from competitors. As we just mentioned, if onboarding is personalized, frictionless and engaging, you’re setting your customers up for success early on.

Retention and engagement

Of course, existing customers are one of the chief aims of a customer marketer - giving them a memorable, engaging experience that genuinely addresses their pain points and makes their life better will keep customers coming back for more.

Content, education, communications

This is all about the information that is conveyed to the customer, prior to and post-purchase  - this enables them to make calculated and informed decisions. The key here is building trust and confidence: are you seen as an authority in your sector?

Do you have an understanding of what your customers like to engage with and where? What issues are they having at the moment? The answers to questions like these make for communications that strike a chord at the right moment.

Advocacy

Advocates are those customers who are the stalwarts of your brand. Their activity might take a range of forms - testimonials, speaking at events, guest blogging, a customer story, to name but a few.

In a very crowded marketplace, social proof is one of the most significant arenas for marketers right now - how customers and advocates talk about you and represent your business is a key differentiating factor.

Where to go from here

Now that you understand what customer marketing is, take the next step to kicking -off customer marketing at your company by reading our article on it. In it you will find out:

🌟 Where customer marketers fit into marketing strategies

🔧  What their relationship with other departments is,

👏  We share the best principles of a successful customer marketer, and

🚲  A few key tactics to get you started.