The Importance of Asking “So What?” in Customer Marketing
“Marketing is easy!” is a statement I often hear from people who work outside of marketing. They think all the marketing department does is create ads, blast email campaigns, chat it up at sponsored events and Tweet memes to our hearts’ content. “Anyone can do that,” is what they tell me.
Wrong. Marketing is not rainbows and butterflies.
Marketing is one of the toughest jobs in B2B today. And that’s not just my opinion. Not only do marketers manage a million and one initiatives to drive new business, keeping current customers engaged, and support sales with tailored content and hot leads (not to mention doing it all within budget)—but they’re also held responsible to the revenue goals set by executives. These days, your VP of Marketing probably knows the revenue number they have to hit this quarter just as intimately as your VP of Sales.
If you’re here reading Influitive’s blog, odds are that you’re engaged in customer marketing. Which means you touch everything from customer reviews to customer references, and have to create magic on a shoestring budget. But more than that, because of what you do and HOW you do it, you are actually one of the most crucial employees at your company.
That is why the arrival of Advocamp is so exciting. Its mission is all about taking you and what you do to the next level. It’s a one-of-a-kind summit for celebrating how important customer marketing is, and it’s the place to be for networking with other like-minded, customer-crazed marketers. It’s a quick way to gather tons of actionable ideas to bring back to your desk…and do it while eating s’mores around a campfire inside a 5-star hotel.
What is a great experience?
Advocamp is chalk-full of amazing thought leaders—both on stage and sitting in the chair next to you in the audience! Get to know some of them, like Marie Ross, Founder of Next Level Customer Marketing who is giving an AMP talk on Wednesday at 10:05 am (see the full schedule here):
The Real Mission of Customer Marketers
Customer marketers are like marketing Jedi. They know how to use their company’s strongest marketing asset—happy customers—and harness customer advocacy like “the force” to hit those revenue targets the marketing department is held accountable to.
Certainly building the database of happy, engaged, loyal advocates is important. Knowing how to leverage that database in the right ways is a critical skillset of any customer marketer. But then what? Customer marketing is not a “build it and they will come” scenario. If those happy customers aren’t helping you drive new revenue, and you can’t clearly prove that to those “nay-sayers” I mentioned at the beginning of this post, then there’s no point!
Here are a couple of ideas on “cracking the revenue code” when it comes to customer marketing:
Share “Revenue Influenced” data on customer referrals
Customer referrals are one of the strongest marketing lead sources you can get. Most of the time they are fast-tracked to sales qualified, and they have the added bonus of being primed by the advocacy of the customer referring them.
One way to encourage customers to give more great referrals is to share the dollar impact their referral activity actually had on your business. When you have the right tools in place, it is possible to track that lead from referral, through the sales cycle, all the way to closed. When it closes you can go back to your referring customer with some hard numbers and say, “Hey John, did you know the two referrals you gave us last quarter drove $63,579 in new revenue this month? That’s amazing! We are honored that you see value in our solution and want you to know your advocacy truly has an impact on our business.”
Tracking customer referral revenue can help you attribute ROI to customer advocates in a totally different—yet truly powerful—way. That kind of analysis also can help you target your strongest customer referrals dollar-for-dollar, and find a highly motivating way to get customers to give you even more referrals.
Share “Dollars Impacted” with the Board
Your Executives and Board of Directors want to know where to invest budget in order to generate the largest amount of revenue possible. Don’t be shy about reminding them of the impact customer marketing has had on revenue. Here are some examples real RO Innovation customers* shared at their recent board meetings. The numbers below specifically reflect new revenue on deals that were influenced by customer references during the sales cycle:
- One of the largest Fortune 500 IT companies in the world: $904,507,674 in new revenue over last 12 months
- Enterprise HR Technology company: $93,224,399 in new revenue over the last 5 months
- One of the top Marketing Automation providers: $33,080,314 in new revenue over the last year
*Note: Company names have been white labeled to protect customer privacy.
With the right customer reference technology, tracking and reporting this kind of revenue influence is a breeze! It’s also a way to prove with hard numbers the impact customer marketing activities—like customer reference management—have on lead-to-revenue lifecycles, and give you the fodder you need to convince your leadership team to increase your customer marketing budget!
Ideas like these are truly just the tip of the iceberg. Come continue the revenue conversation with RO Innovation at Advocamp. Register today (there’s only a few spots left!) to hear more tips like these from top thought leaders in the customer marketing industry.
I, for one, can’t wait for this conference and really hope to see you there!
This eBook explores the changes taking place in customer marketing from the perspective of customer marketers themselves. This free eBook features insights on:
- The role of the customer marketer: Then vs. now
- Top challenges facing customer marketers today
- Key metrics for customer marketing success
- A crowd-sourced list of tools and must-read resources