The Rise of Customer Marketing

5 minute read

January 25, 2022

The Rise of Customer Marketing

If employees are willing to leave at a moment’s notice, then customers surely must be too. The combination of having fewer people to market your product due to the Great Resignation and the general volatility of customers is making it clear that no one can rest on their laurels.  

They need to take action and one action everyone should consider is customer marketing.  

Landing page book-1


This year, we’ve produced the State of Customer Success 2022. This complimentary eBook is your guide to customer success this year and beyond. Check it out, for free, to find out how Customer Marketing and other trends are going to take off and shape the future for organizations. 

What is customer marketing?  

Customer marketing is more or less what it sounds like: the act of marketing to current customers. There are a number of tactics, and approaches you can take. Unlike more traditional marketing efforts, some customer marketing tactics may be a formalized campaign, whereas others are more informal and rely on one to one communication.  

Why is customer marketing important?  

These days, no matter what industry you’re in, or what product you sell, there’s more competition than ever. With that being the case, keeping customers around is more difficult than ever.  

Customer marketing is a way to help you better retain, and create loyal, customers so you have a great foundation to grow your business from. However that’s not all:    

  • Loyal customers spend more than others – one study found loyal customers eventually spend as much as 67% more than customers who aren’t loyal to your company. 

  • Long term customers are more likely to try new offerings –  when someone is a customer for a long period of time their trust in you increases, making them more likely to try out new product offerings.  

  • It costs much more to attract a new customer than retain a current one – it’s become a borderline cliche stat, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. The cost to acquire a new customer is 5-20x more than to retain an existing one. And as any financial expert will tell you, one of the best ways to increase profits is by cutting costs.  

By putting energy and effort into engaging with current customers through customer marketing you show how valuable they are to you.  

5 tactics to use in your customer marketing 

There are a litany of different ways you may decide to do customer marketing. And depending on your specific business, product, and customer base, some tactics may be better suited, or more practical, than others.  

That said, the below options should be viable customer marketing solutions for most any business.  


Depending on the type of product or service you sell, upselling might involve some different things. Generally speaking is an effort to get a customer to switch to a more premium offering of your product, add additional features, or expand the number of people using the product.  

Though there’s no one surefire way to close an upsell, the best approach is to tailor your pitch to each specific customer. Based on their specific wants, needs, and goals, you should be able to create a compelling case for a bigger investment from them.  

Loyalty / referral programs 

Loyalty and referral programs are powerful in a couple of different ways. First, they encourage customers to do business with because they get something additional in return. The second benefit is that the more times someone makes a certain choice, the more likely they are to continue making that choice.  

There are millions different ways to approach loyalty and referral programs but there are a few key things to keep in mind:  

  • Make it valuable – if your loyalty and referral programs only offer nominal benefits, or are very hard to earn rewards through, chances are people won’t participate.  

  • Make it easy – the lower amount of effort someone has to put in to do something, the better. If it’s too difficult to sign-up, you may stop people from even starting.   

  • Make it shareable – consider adding in incentives for people to share about being a member. It’ll help further engage them and help spread the word to others. 

Online community 

Online communities can be a powerful tool for customer marketing. They give a natural platform to engage customers directly. Insights from your community data could also point you in the direction of people who could be good targets for those efforts.  

For example, if you see someone asking a lot of questions about a certain topic or feature, you could use it as a segway to get into some upselling conversations. Or, if you notice someone is particularly active as a responder, you could give them more information about a referral or loyalty program to help them get the most out of their efforts.  

Reviews campaign 

Positive reviews can help create a very strong case for why someone should become a customer, as well as why someone should continue doing business with you. In fact over 90% of people read online reviews prior to making a purchase.   

Though how positive your reviews are certainly impacts perception, the amount of reviews does, too. If you only have a couple, even if they’re positive, people may still be sceptical. Make sure you’re asking for reviews regularly. Some people even pay for reviews, but that can be a slippery slope, so be careful if you’re considering it.  

Virtual events  

One of the most powerful things you can do for a customer is help them be successful with your product. You could rely on written documentation and wait for customers to reach out, or you could take the initiative.   

Virtual events are great ways to offer value to current, and potential, customers. They’re much easier to attend than in-person events, and depending on how you conduct the event, they could be recorded and used as valuable digital assets for years to come.  

Final thoughts  

If 2021 has taught us anything it’s that complacency will get you nowhere. So, make an investment in those who’ve invested in you. If you’re constantly trying to replace customers lost to competition, chances are you won’t be around long. Creating loyal customers is how you’ll build a solid foundation to move forward in your current efforts and grow for years to come. 

Want to know more about Customer Marketing and what it looks like in 2022 and beyond? The State of Customer Success 2022: Part 1 discusses just that with 10 customer success leaders. Find out how you can implement customer marketing in your organization and why it’s so important for the future of business. Download your free copy here!  



Community Customer Success

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Nuala Cronin

Written by Nuala Cronin

Nuala is the Content Marketing Manager at Vanilla by Higher Logic. She has adored writing since a young age and graduated with a Master's Degree in Publishing and Literature from the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Have an Article for Vanilla's Blog?

Send us an email to [email protected] with your topic idea and we'll circle back with our publishing guidelines.

Subscribe to the Community Corner Newsletter and get expert insight and analysis on how to get the most out of your online community every Friday.
[contact-form-7 id="5700" title="Newsletter Form"]

Request a Demo

Schedule a product demo now.

Contact Us