By: Wen Chuang
We are all familiar with the customer journey. We know it’s essential to help our customers to be successful. But what about customer success marketing? How much do you know about it, and how does it affect us as marketers?
In this blog, I’ll cover what customer success marketing is and how it fits into your marketing plan.
What is Customer Success Marketing?
Long ago, before marketing automation and MarTech technologies permeated our world, successful businesses would often rely on word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM). With WOMM, marketers are looking to influence and encourage customers to spread the word about their products. Sometimes this is done with incentives, but the true success of WOMM is when your customers are happy to provide WOMM without an incentive.
George Silverman is often touted as a pioneer in word-of-mouth marketing. Silverman, a psychologist, created what he called “teleconferenced peer influence groups” in the early 1970s and found that when one or two physicians reported their good experience with a drug, it could sway an entire group of skeptics. His tactics were so compelling that even ex-prescribers—those with negative experiences with a drug—changed their minds after hearing a positive review of the drug from their peers.
Customer success marketing, similar to WOMM, is sometimes referred to as customer marketing, retention marketing, or advocate marketing. Customer success marketing is the intersection of product, marketing, and customer success teams. Customer experience shouldn’t stop at the sale. Studies have shown that attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one. But, have we done enough to make sure that our customers are successful using our products? Do we have enough customer success case studies to share with our new prospects? What types of data we can get from our customer success teams to help shape our marketing efforts? These are all critical questions to ask to create a more cohesive team atmosphere and avoid silos.
How Does Customer Success Marketing Fit Into Your Org?
We have seen a trend that more and more companies are setting up customer success operations teams, especially in the B2B arena and SaaS industry. Sometimes these teams are referred to as CS Ops. The companies utilizing these teams realize that the success of their business is inherently intertwined with the success of their customers. Their CS Ops team drives initiatives to provide upper-management real-time visibility into their customers’ “health,” which is represented by a combination of usage data and other contextual metrics (to evaluate how ‘sticky’ customers are).
CS Ops teams also drive company-wide adoption of outcomes-based metrics and processes. This “transformative power,” as Lincoln Murphy explains, has started to proliferate among companies even outside of the SaaS or technology companies. The reason? Simply put, no customer success = no company success. Your CS Ops team can take your company from a reactive state (customer support) to a proactive state (e.g., instance review, proactively providing solutions based on customers’ unique use cases, etc.)
If your company doesn’t have a CS team yet, consider adding one this year. You might also want to evaluate some of the available customer success solutions out there and start thinking of an organization-level tactical CS strategy.
If you already have a CS team, consider what it would take to facilitate cross-functional collaboration. Have your marketing team collaborate with your product team and CS Ops team, to come up with customer success case studies that can take your content marketing to the next level. It’s not a question of whether your company should be investing in retention, expansion, and advocacy, it’s how much you should be investing. If you do this well, you can turn your customers into your best growth engine.
Do you have a customer success team? Are you considering adding one this year?