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Getting Strategic with Customer Marketing

As Net Dollar Retention starts taking center stage as a top SaaS metric, it’s time for marketing leaders to ask themselves: What’s the role of marketing post-sale?

With the Customer Marketing Manager role rising in popularity, it’s time to start thinking strategically about how we market post-sale.

Here are three pillars we need to adhere to in Customer Marketing to truly see this function be successful:

1. Customer Marketing Needs to Be Holistic

For years, marketers have been performing some of the core responsibilities of a Customer Marketing Manager without the title. Instead, they were called Customer Reference Managers or Customer Advocacy Managers. They were Product Marketers or Content Marketers focused on customer stories and case studies. 

But these activities were largely that: activities. They happened piecemeal and were often performed by separate teams. The result of this approach is a disjointed customer experience. Without realizing it, companies have inundated customers with messaging and requests because they lacked centralized governance.

This siloed approach is a lot like how pre-sales marketing used to be: We focused on channels over integrated marketing strategy. This resulted in channels that were individually successful but that failed to work cohesively with other channels to drive revenue.

Over the last decade, we’ve seen marketing presale make a shift toward taking a more integrated approach. Post-sale, or Customer Marketing, needs to do the same. 

Customer Marketing needs to be holistic, meaning it all works together as one function toward a common goal: Creating customers for life.

Customer Marketing needs to be holistic, meaning it all works together as one function toward a common goal: Creating customers for life.

2. Customer Marketing Needs an Overarching Strategy

Many Customer Marketing teams function as a task center. What the team does is dictated by other teams or executive leadership. This leads to programming that’s task-based—but not strategic. 

We see this reflected in goal descriptions:

  • Create a Customer Advisory Board
  • Get us 50 new reviews on G2
  • Develop a customer awards program
  • Write and send customer communications

It’s not that any of these responsibilities are wrong or outside the role of a Customer Marketing Manager. It’s that each of these activities needs to be tied to an overarching strategy and business goal—otherwise your Customer Marketing team is running off in a million directions and not providing clear value to your business.

Rather than thinking about what programs you want to launch, think about what your main business goals and problems to solve are. Usually this relates to increase in retention, expansion, and new revenue. From there, what are the biggest areas of opportunity? Where can Customer Marketing really move the needle? That will help you prioritize which programs to run—and keep your team from merely executing on a delegated list of tasks.

Rather than thinking about what programs you want to launch, think about what your main business goals and problems to solve are.

3. Customer Marketing Should Be Revenue-Driven

Like other parts of marketing, Customer Marketing should own a number.

Yes, we can’t always tie our programs directly to a number (like retention). There are many factors at play. But there are ways we can measure if what we’re doing has an impact. 

In the same way presales marketing has built attribution models, we need to introduce this concept post-sale to understand what’s driving retention, expansion, and advocacy. Data analysts and business intelligence can be great partners here. It will take time to build this out, but it’s the only way we’ll really be able to show and prove the value of customer marketing—and get the right resources attributed to it to continue growing.

Customer Marketing is Key to Customer-Led Growth

B2B marketing is changing. More and more, we are coming back to the conclusion that your best customers are your current customers. Not only is it easier to retain and grow existing accounts than it is to bring in new ones, but word of mouth is also one of the biggest drivers of new business. This is Customer-Led Growth—leveraging customers as a strategic lever for growth. And it’s only possible with a thoughtful, strategic, and well-resourced Customer Marketing team.

In the same way presales marketing has built attribution models, we need to introduce this concept post-sale to understand what’s driving retention, expansion, and advocacy.

Want to transform customer advocacy into customer-generated growth and revenue?

Join the inaugural Obsession Summit, powered by Crowdvocate. This three-day event is created for and led by customer marketing, reference management teams, and CMOs.
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