The new responsibilities of customer marketing

Customer Marketers are no longer just librarians for reference management systems or event planners for user groups. They are being asked to expand into a much broader responsibility set in order to have a strategic impact on the customer journey. This evolution may not be a fit for existing Customer Marketers, but those with ambition will grow into highly strategic (and highly valued) position.

Here are the key areas that Customer Marketing is beginning to get involved in:

Engagement

Who engages with your customers throughout their journey?  Is the message consistent? Are we getting them what they need? Are both sides getting value out of every interaction? Customer Marketers will need to work to understand this and strategically craft those engagements so that customers are feeling 100% happy with your people and your product/service.

Cross Sell and Up Sell

Very few companies are doing well at this and strategic CEOs are realizing that Customer Marketing could play an important role. All of the engagements in the customer journey need to be architected so that opportunities for cross sell/up sell are raised or purposefully asked for during the journey. Customer Marketing will have a holistic view of this project and will therefore be able to bring to sales and client success the right process and technology to address this.

Referrals

Savvy Customer Marketers are realizing that their customers are more than willing to provide referrals if asked and appropriately recognized for their efforts. And because referrals directly impact the bottom line, this is often a great place for Customer Marketers to start.  Prove impact here and you’ll get resources to impact engagement more holistically. Lots of innovation has come around referral automation platforms that run referral programs at scale. Teaming up with Demand Generation and Sales will be a common occurrence as Customer Marketers see the direct impact on revenue. And a bonus, the high-end referral platforms can also be used for cross sell!

Advocacy

Customer Marketing has always played a role in references, but now technology is allowing for much more to be gained from customers. When specifically asked, they will review you on 3rd party sites, create content for you and yes, still provide sales references. But, instead of managing as a database, you manage as a community of advocates that you need to get the right content, right ask and right incentive at the right time. While not as high-impact as referrals, this will be an important area for

Recognition

Your customers go through a hell of a lot of work to buy your product.  They have to get dragged through a sales process (some can take over a year!). They have to then work through implementation and then are abruptly pushed out of the nest to see if they will fall or fly.  They deserve some recognition for this monumental accomplishment!  Customer Marketers are starting to get more purposeful about how to say thank you to customers in meaningful, yet inexpensive ways.  Some are sending gifts or hand written cards to new customers.  Others are recognizing advocacy or referrals with rewards and recognition.  Special achievements with product use are being awarded at user groups.  This is all a part of showing that you value your customers and is incredibly important.

Community

If you don’t yet have a user community, I guarantee that Customer Marketing will be looking to create one.  As they approach referrals and advocacy, they will naturally be developing communities of advocates (customers willing to do stuff in support of your brand).  This is going to be a big source of power for Customer Marketers as they will hold the keys to fulfilling the needs of Product Marketing, Sales and Demand Generation – all avenues for customer success.  For those who already have a user community, Customer Marketing will be looking to integrate and influence the community with increased engagement during the customer journey.  It is an excellent medium for giving value back to your customers while harvesting value from them in return.

 

There is much for Customer Marketing to tackle, but as you can see there is also a big impact to be made.  If you are a Customer Marketer working on any of these new areas or working on things I didn’t list, I’d love to hear your story!  Ping me on Twitter @TrishaWinter to continue the conversation.

 

What is brand advocacy?

 

Top 5 reasons I wish I was a Customer Marketer

Customer Marketing has gotten to be a VERY exciting role with in an organization.  Their responsibilities have changed from being librarians of reference systems to strategically owning the customer journey.  See this article about the new trends of customer obsessed marketing. On paper, it is just another job description, but anyone who knows how disparate the ownership of the customer journey is knows what an incredible challenge customer marketers have before them.

I’ve always loved a challenge and if I were in a different place in my career, I would definitely be vying for a Customer Marketing role.  Here’s why:

1. It’s highly strategic: In order to influence the entire customer journey, Customer Marketing will need to take a highly strategic approach and navigate the waters of the many departmental silos that interact with the customer along the way. This requires a clear vision for the overall value to the company and the ability to communicate that to each department. It takes a long time to prepare to climb Mount Everest. Customer Marketing needs to be the Sherpa.

2. They will lead a transformation: If Customer Marketing can indeed be the strategic Sherpa, then they will be leading their company through a radical transformation. But unlike the transformation that has happened to IT, no one has any idea where this transformation will lead. As a strategic approach is taken to engage the customer throughout their journey, we may see major departmental responsibility changes or big shifts in operational investment. As long as the customer experience is kept in focus, the change will all be good.

3. There will be a clear impact on revenue: Keeping customers more engaged just fundamentally sounds good, but there are many areas where customer Marketing will be involved in creating new revenue for the company. There is no greater job satisfaction then directly seeing your work create revenue. As Customer Marketing takes a key role in Advocacy solutions, they will be able to not just get reviews and content from customers, but also referrals – both for cross sell and new business. A smart demand generation marketer will align closely with Customer Marketing as they will wield some serious power.

4. They will harness new technology: In order to have an impact on things like advocacy and cross sell, new technology will be adopted. This means trying out the latest and greatest, figuring out how it integrates to existing systems and proving value. Solving business problems with technology is lots of work, but also lots of fun to see it come to fruition.

5. It will be a challenge: While it probably goes without saying (even though I’ve mentioned it multiple times), Customer Marketing faces a Goliath. To be successful, customer marketers will need to have the confidence to stand up to the plate and keep slinging focused shots at the giant project before them.

While I may never carry a Customer Marketer title, I will be a huge supporter of their cause. So get out there Customer Marketers and go create a new future for your companies where customer obsession is the norm! I can’t wait to see where the journey will take you!

Want to continue the discussion? Tweet me at @Trishawinter.

What is brand advocacy?