In today’s uber-competitive business landscape, a positive customer experience can often be the difference between closing a new deal or retaining a customer—more so than product features or price.
That’s why more companies are moving customer marketing higher up on their priority list. This role, traditionally a marketing backwater, is ripe for disruption—new tactics, strategies and technologies—in the same way that other roles have transformed over the last decade. As the costs to acquire a new customer increase and social proof continues to grow in importance, customer marketing is finally taking its rightful place alongside demand, content, social media, and product marketing.
New research by Koyne Marketing, sponsored by Influitive, reveals that 90% of business leaders surveyed believe customer marketing is important to the success of their businesses and slightly more (93%) agree that it will become even more important over the next year.
The 2017 State of Customer Marketing report takes a close look at how more than 200 companies view the importance of customer marketing, which activities drive the most revenue, metrics used most often, and best practices from companies enjoying the most success from their customer marketing efforts.
With a better understanding of customer marketing tactics that work, you can incorporate them into your own marketing strategy and watch your ROI rise. The key, as the research findings reveal, is to tie customer marketing to revenue and make a concerted effort to measure customer marketing activities as diligently as you track other marketing metrics.
Read on for some of the key findings, or download the entire report to learn about the tactics the most successful customer marketers are using to drive value for their companies.
Customer marketing still growing in importance
When we asked marketers about the importance of customer marketing a couple of years ago, 85% said it was somewhat or very important in generating revenue, with 84% noting it would grow importance over the next year. This year, more than 90% view customer marketing as important in generating revenue, and 93% say it will grow in importance over the next year.
Despite this growth trend, not all marketers are satisfied with their customer marketing efforts. Those who are most satisfied track revenue associated with customer marketing activities, and realize a moderate or significant contribution to revenue due to those activities.
“Leaders in the executive suite must ensure their marketing, sales and customer teams are working collaboratively on a strategy and plan to maximize the value of customer assets,” recommends the report, “and are implementing processes to measure performance of those efforts.”
Today’s top customer marketing activities
According to the report, the most-used customer marketing tactics include a mix of offline and online activities:
- 62% use customer references and testimonials
- 45% hold customer user groups or other events
- 41% send out newsletters
- 37% use advocate marketing
What many respondents may not know is that advocate marketing can encompass and amplify the results of many of the most common customer activities, including online customer communities, customer satisfaction and NPS, cross sell and upsell campaigns, referral programs, and more. For example, you can punch up your customer reference program by asking your advocates to participate and rewarding them appropriately. Or get more people to read your newsletter by incorporating user-generated content provided by your advocates.
How companies measure customer marketing success
When it comes to measuring the success of their customer marketing efforts, those surveyed named their top three metrics as:
- Upsell or cross sell revenue
- Renewal rate or churn
- Customer satisfaction
The report also reveals that almost 40% of those surveyed aren’t satisfied with the results of their customer marketing efforts. Companies that don’t track results of revenue contribution to customer marketing activities are shown to have the highest dissatisfaction levels.
For more customer marketing trends, including how companies plan to invest their resources, and staff skills needed to support these activities, download The State of Customer Marketing 2017.
Further reading: B2B customer marketing success stories
- Learn how Danielle Camara, Senior Manager, Customer Marketing at Marketo, used an advocate marketing program to boost customer retention to 95%.
- Find out how Mary-Leslie Davis, Director of Field Marketing and Customer Engagement at Staples Business Advantage, uses her advocate community to increase upsell opportunities.
- See how Mary Mallard, Social Media & Community Specialist at Grasshopper, increased customer satisfaction by converting 25% of the company’s passive NPS customers into promoters using an advocacy platform.