There’s no denying that the importance of customer marketing is growing. The 2017 State of Customer Marketing Report indicates that over the next year, 93% of organizations expect that their customer marketing efforts will take on greater importance, and 62% will increase their staff or budgets in the customer marketing area.
However, there isn’t a lot of clarity about what organizations need to do in order to benefit from this trend.
That’s why we asked some of our customers—many of whom are successful customer marketers themselves—to look in their crystal balls and tell us what they see in customer marketing’s future. Here are their predictions!
Customer marketing will move into the spotlight
Although customer marketing has often taken a backseat to other marketing functions, many customer marketers believe that it will take on a much larger role in the upcoming year.
“I think that customer marketing will become essential to the success of a company. Companies will realize that customers are at the center of everything, and customer marketing helps to build relationships with customers and drive value to the business. Win, win!”
–Jessica Mitchell, Customer Marketing Manager at HeroK12
“Customer marketing will continue to be the star player in marketing. CMOs realize that customer marketers hold the key to advocacy, retention and renewal. Competition is tougher than ever and our role can make more of a difference than many other roles.”
–Liz Pedro, Director of Customer Marketing at Five9
“Customer marketing is evolving. It is a discipline of its own now. It’s more than sending an email or letting customers know about new deals and offers. Customer marketing is about retention, yes, but it’s also about relationship-building and letting customers take part in the process of marketing with your company. It really does include customer advocacy. It’s more than saying thank you to your customers at the holidays or just devoting 10% of designated time to the area. Customer marketing requires just as much attention as lead generation.”
–Natalie Gullatt, Marketing Specialist at LivePerson
Customer marketing will harness new technology
Many of our respondents noted that technology will be playing a much greater role in their customer marketing next year. There will also be a larger focus on metrics and tracking. Now more than ever, organizations want to know how customer marketing activities are contributing to their bottom line.
“Gamification makes customer marketing more fun for the customer. The integration of different softwares is a must. The ability to streamline and scale tasks is something that we’re definitely looking for and something that only technology can help us overcome.”
–Emily Ely, Member Marketing Specialist at WebPT
“Data and analytics are becoming increasingly important, so I think that having a way to track customer content is going to be a big focus this year. Sales Enablement platforms give companies the ability to track what content sales is sending to prospects as well as how much time that prospect is spending reading or watching that content. This will be crucial for customer marketing departments or teams to really show the value of what they are creating.”
–Carly Snyder, Associate Marketing Program Manager at Blackbaud
Customer marketing will take on a wider role within the organization
Our respondents predict that customer marketing will continue to grow and become more tactical. It won’t just be restricted to just one department, but will instead be strategically aligned across their organization. They also predict a closer alignment with customer success, as customer experience rises up the list of priorities.
“The customer marketer is no longer a tactical role checking off boxes like references and referrals. Now, they are strategic partners to every department, thinking long-term and finding ways to involve customers in everything from product roadmaps to user conferences to content creation.”
–Amy Rosenberg, Community Marketing Manager at Namely
“No one team or person will own “customer marketing.” It will be a part of many employees’ roles within the organization. For example, at PGi we have a customer advocacy senior marketing manager who manages our Influitive AdvocateHub, but we also have an implementation and customer success team as well as a base marketing team that own different pieces of customer marketing.”
–Kara McClain, Senior Director of Sales Enablement at PGi
“The customer marketer was not always there, and I think this is the biggest change. Instead of marketers advertising to customers, there is a relationship expected where customer marketers need to be in constant communication with their customers to ensure they are happy. The customer marketing funnel doesn’t stop once the product is sold. Now the customer marketer is expected to continue to facilitate a relationship with the customer, which was not the case in the past.”
–Natasha Ulanowski, Advocacy Marketing Specialist at SAS
What do you think the future holds for customer marketing at your organization? Let us know in the comments!