In most companies, customer success owns all things customer-related. As they're the ones who have the most interaction with customers, and are in communication with them most regularly, it makes sense that’s how things would go.
However, as customer marketing has become more and more prominent, there’s been some debate on who exactly should own that function. In this article we cover what customer marketing is, which teams might own it, and how you can best approach it to get the best results possible.
What is customer marketing?
Simply put, customer marketing is the act of marketing to customers who are already doing business with your company in some form or fashion. Customer marketing campaigns generally focus on things like account expansion through additional investment in current services and products, or by encouraging the purchase of new services or products.
You may be asking yourself, “why market to someone who’s already buying?” There are two main reasons. First, current customers are more likely to buy new products when compared to new customers. The main reason for this is they already have a baseline level of trust in your brand, making them more willing to invest further.
The second reason is it’s much more cost effective. With current customers you spend much less money to get messages in front of them. Combine that with the higher likelihood that they’ll convert, and it’s easy to see why customer marketing is a great idea.
Who owns customer marketing?
From company to company, there are variances on on how customer marketing campaigns are executed. One of those variances is who exactly owns customer marketing. Though it may vary, customer marketing generally falls under the purview of one of two teams: customer success and marketing.
In some ways customer success is the most obvious choice for ownership of customer marketing. They have the most amount of interaction, and know customers best. Having that insider knowledge can help them create messaging that’s relevant and persuasive.
However, customer success teams don’t always have access to the same tools that a classic marketing team would. Though you can certainly get them access, it does come along with an additional cost and a relatively narrow use case, which can make it a hard sell to leadership in some cases.
Similar to customer success, marketing teams have some qualities that can make them a good fit to own customer marketing. Since they’re in charge of marketing as a whole, they can make sure messaging fits with the overall brand voice. They also have access to additional tools that can help campaigns stand out more.
Additionally, since marketing is their core function, they may have more time to spend on campaigns, whereas customer success teams may have to split time between their other responsibilities. However, as mentioned above, they generally don’t have as much insight as customer success teams do, which could cause the messaging to fall flat if they’re solely in charge.
The dual approach
Whether you choose to have your customer success team own customer marketing, or put it in the hands of your marketing team, there will be some compromises. However, there’s a third approach you can take.
Instead of relying on one team to take on the task, you could create a cross functional team and get the best of both worlds. Customer success can get insights and then share them with your marketing team to create the campaigns. From there, they can both review to make sure any messaging you create hits all the right notes on the brand front, while still resonating with your customer base.
Best practices for customer marketing
There’s no one right way to do customer marketing. There are a number of tactics you can use to make the most of your efforts and set you and your customers up for success in the long run. If you’re considering starting a customer marketing program, we have four tactics for you to consider below.
Create a community - As we mentioned above, being able to create the best possible campaigns comes down to having a great relationship with customers. Online communities not only empower customers to engage with one another directly, but also for your team to engage directly, too. It’s a resource that can help you uncover invaluable insights and create successful customer marketing campaigns for years to come.
Involve your customers - One of the hardest parts of marketing is knowing what your audience wants. With customer marketing you can side step that issue and just ask them directly. You can even use the online community mentioned above to find super users to chat with and get feedback from.
Reward loyalty - Long term customers are very valuable in a number of ways, so you should focus some of your customer marketing efforts on keeping them along for the long haul. Things like discounts, referral programs, or even access to exclusive events for longtime customers can be incentives when creating customer marketing programs.
Highlight customers - Create campaigns centered around actual customers. You could do this through things like customer stories, where you cover how a customer was successful with your product. Not only does it show real-world value, it also shows how much you value your actual customers by taking time to shine the spotlight on them, too.
Without customers, there’d be no companies. Taking care of them and doing right by them is paramount to anyone’s success. So, you need to consider how you approach every interaction, including marketing. Be sure you’re being thoughtful and thorough in all your customer marketing efforts from the campaigns you create and the people you put in charge.
Want to learn more about customer marketing and customer success? Download our free eBook - Should Customer Marketing Live with Customer Success.