What is the role of Customer Marketing?

Done well, and done strategically, Customer Marketing is one of the most important functions in any company. Unfortunately, the Customer Marketing profession doesn’t get the recognition, rewards, and resources it deserves. There are many reasons for this, but among them is that there is no standard definition of the role of Customer Marketing.

Here's the SlapFive team's job description for Customer Marketing

SlapFive is your one platform for automating and scaling each of these critical workstreams to drive Customer-Led Growth.

The New Role of Customer Marketing: Drive Customer-Led Growth

The New Role of Customer Marketing: Drive Customer-Led Growth

The Why? Drive your company’s Strategic Growth Initiatives

Like my favorite business guru Simon Sinek says, when defining the new role of Customer Marketing, “Start with Why?

If you’re not designing and executing Customer Marketing programs that explicitely accelerate the Strategic Growth Initiatives set you your C-level executives, then your C-level executives won’t care about your Customer Marketing programs, and you’ll constantly struggle for the 3 R’s: Respect, Recognition, and Resources.

Here’s what you need to do.

Find out what your company’s top 3 Strategic Growth Initiatives are. If you’re a public company, your CEO states these on your quarterly earnings calls. If you’re private, these are presented at your company’s all-hands meetings.

Then what?

Now you find out what the biggest obstacles are to achieving those SGIs. If you could wave your magic wand, what would you love customers to say about their experience working with your company that would overcome those obstacles. For more on this, read The Customer-Led Growth Manifesto, and consider doing The Customer-Led Growth Strategic Workshop.

The What? Market to, with, about, and for your customers

Now let’s talk about the scope and breadth of our work, and why the job title Customer Marketing is so appropriate.

Here’s how we look at what the Role of Customer Marketing needs to address:

  • Market To Your Customers: The hot phrase for this activity is Customer Lifecycle Marketing. This is where you make your customers successful and run Customer Campaigns that expand their customer lifetime value. It then entails capturing the voice of your customers on what their experience was like during onboarding, adoption, expansion, and renewal phases of their lifecycle with you, and then putting those amazing insights in front of customers who are at each of those phases themselves.
  • Market With Your Customers: This is when you design Customer Advocacy and Customer Reference programs that are a two-way exchange of value, in which you offer your customers opportunities to perform acts of advocacy that are mutually beneficial to your company and your customer. These opportunities should be hand-selected based on the rich Customer Profiles your customers have defined for their preferences and interests.
  • Market About Your Customer: This largely centers around creating amazing Customer Content that showcases the experience customers have working with you, and then infusing that content into all your marketing, sales and customer success initiatives. To do this at scale, you need a streamlined process to capture customer content in all formats, manage and organize it by the firmographic and demographic details of your customers, and publish it to all channels.
  • Market For Your Customers: Customer Marketing and Customer Advocacy are a two-way street. If you want your customers to advocate for you, you must also advocate for them. This means making the Shift from Paid Customer Advocacy to Earned Customer Advocacy. When doing this, you are creating intrinsic motivations for your customers to participate in your activities, by giving them opportunities to showcase their success and expand their reputations within their company and industry.

The When? Operate across the spectrum of reactive to proactive

The next dimension to take into account what triggers our work.

Think of it as a spectrum. At one end is the responsive, tactical work that will bury us if we let it. At the other end is the proactive, strategic work that will make us rock stars in our companies. From left to right:

  • The endless “Asks” from across the company: Everyone wants a piece of our customers. If you’re like most Customer Marketers, you get endless requests from people all around your company for customers to do things. While it is important to be responsive, you can’t let this keep you stuck in the weeds. You need to ask “why?” to some requests that don’t seem to add value. And you need to carve out time to work on the proactive activities.
  • Our own activity-based goals: Sure, it’s fine to set our own activity-based goals, like how many customers we add to our program, how many case studies we write, and how many peer reviews we garner each quarter. But look at these as a means-to-an-end, not the end game.
  • The needs of Sales for customer proof: We all want to help sales, as they are on the front line for bringing in revenue. And done well, we can certainly impact revenue by serving the needs of sales. We can do this reactively or proactively, and err on the latter.
  • The Magic Moments in the customer lifecycle: This is an emerging area enabled by Customer Marketing platforms like SlapFive, in which you map out your customer lifecycle, and design automated workflows that offer customers opportunities to engage, capture their experiences, and show appreciation at the critical milestones, events, and thresholds in their journey.
  • The desire to drive Strategic Growth Initiatives: This is the Holy Grail of Customer Marketing. This is when you proactively design Customer-Led Growth initiatives that drive the SGIs of your company.

The How? Perform our critical workstreams and use our tools

The final dimension is where too many Customer Marketers start, which is your Customer Marketing toolbox.

  • Customer Content: capture content in all formats, manage and organize it in a central library, and publish it across all channels.
  • Customer Advocacy: offer customers opportunities to speak, amplify, join, get quoted, write, etc. and track their engagement.
  • Customer Referrals: make it easy for customers to share their experiences with their friends who may decide to learn more about what you do.
  • Lifecycle Marketing: marketing to your customers at the magic moments to drive onboarding, adoption, usage, expansion, and retention.
  • Customer References: empower anyone to request a customer or content and easily match the best resources to the need.
  • Executive Engagement: engage the decision-makers and VP/C-level contacts at your customer sites in high-value activities like CABs.
  • Customer Events: host events at which your customers attend and/or speak like customer conferences and user group meetings.
  • Voice of the Customer: capture insights from your customers and infuse those insights into every fiber of your company.
  • Customer Community: bring your customers together in an online community that empowers them to share best practices and answer each other’s questions.

Ready to embrace and perform all these critical Customer Marketing workstream?