This article was written by Lauren Olerich, Director of Customer Marketing and Nikka Mathur, Senior Manager, Customer Success at Gainsight
“Customer Marketing is as nebulous as Customer Success. What is customer marketing? Is it about customers, or is it about the marketing? Is it about your customers’ success, or about driving new business?”
-- Nick Mehta, CEO at Pulse Conference 2015
While Customer Marketing and Customer Success have very different goals, they share a common thread -- to ensure happy customers are using your product and will serve as strong advocates to prospects. Both teams need to interact with customers in a thoughtful, engaging way.
At Gainsight, we’ve created a function called 1:Many (on the CSM team) that shares this responsibility with Customer Marketing (on the Marketing team). In this blog post, we’ll discuss the intersection between these two functions.
Defining Goals for 1:Many and Customer Marketing:
To start, we encourage you to separate the traditional notion of “Customer Marketing” into two pieces. The first part is all about one-to-many adoption strategies that engage customers and drive Customer Success outcomes. The second part focuses on increasing new business by building stronger customer advocates.
Customer Marketing Goal: to mobilize our customers as advocates, leverage their success to attract new prospects and accelerate existing pipeline, while providing ongoing customer delight.
: to improve the customer’s adoption of the product, enhance the customer experience, and increase customer satisfaction by providing a smooth process and introducing customer delight.
How do we accomplish these goals?
Customer Marketing: Increase customer advocacy
There are a handful of ways that customer marketing interacts with customers to position them as champions, encouraging them to share their success stories publicly. Here are a few examples that will ultimately attract and accelerate new deals:
- Case Study Content
- With Gainsight, our CSMs are tracking customer health, product adoption, lifecycle milestones, NPS, etc. All of this data can be combined to target ideal customer candidates for in-depth case studies, webinar spotlights, speaking engagements at prospect dinners and tradeshows, testimonial videos, and more! We can then elevate these success stories in sales collateral for mid and late-stage deals, as well as at the top of the funnel to attract new leads.
- Land & Expand Opportunities
- Just as customer success managers are using Gainsight’s Calls to Action and Playbooks to navigate upsell opportunities, customer marketing can leverage exclusive thought leadership content, events, and awards to strengthen customer relationships in strategic accounts. At scale, customer marketing can use list building techniques that identify key power users in each customer segment that are most likely to refer your product to a colleague in a different division of the same company.
- Advocacy on Multiple Platforms
- While the 1:Many program lead manages the NPS survey program, customer marketing can piggyback off incoming promoter scores (9-10’s), and automate an invitation to join their Advocate Hub (we love Influitive), request for a formal review on a 3rd party site (ex. TrustRadius, G2Crowd, AppExchange), and flag the contact as a potential sales reference.
1:Many: Improve customer adoption
Just as with customer marketing, there are different ways 1:Many can provide content that ultimately improves a customer’s adoption of your product and experience with your company. In general, we have categorized the content in three buckets:
- Best Practice / Thought Leadership:
- Similar to marketing leading webinars, writing blog posts, and other thought leadership content to pique the interest of prospects, one can do the same with existing customers. Provide your customers strategic guidance and insight into industry trends and tie it in with how to use your product.
- Lifecycle-Based Content:
- Similar to a marketing nurture stream, you can create a series of campaigns or outreaches that provide your customers with the right content at the right time to help them move along in their journey with you and their product.
- Usage-Based Content:
- Provide your customers with guidance on using features or functionality in your product based on past usage or current usage of other features. This can be compared to how marketing places offers in front of prospects if they’ve “used” or visited a particular part of your website.
The Intersection of Customer Marketing and 1:Many
The Marketing team uses various tactics to distribute content, and the same can be leveraged in your 1:Many program via webinars, videos, blog posts and emails. And just as Marketing leverages social media, the 1:Many program can also take advantage of any user groups or online communities.
At Gainsight, we have a dedicated 1:Many resource, but if you don’t have a dedicated resource, you can still build your 1:Many program with your CSM team.
For example, the Customer Success team at Gainsight conducts our own webinars focused on recent content and product how-to’s that are relevant to our customers. The Marketing team builds content focused on the industry that is also relevant to our prospects. The two teams collaborate and align on the content calendar topics on a frequent basis.
In the same way, the 1:Many program lead manages all communications to our customers. However, if the message is sent from an executive’s email alias, we have our marketing team review and ensure we are on brand.
For communications that we send out on behalf of CSMs or the team, we have one of our own CSMs draft it so that the message sounds authentic and personal.
From Nebulous to Clear Skies
Yes, Customer Marketing may sometimes seem as nebulous as Customer Success. However, if you establish cross-functional alignment and clearly define the goals for 1:Many and Customer Marketing, you’ll be on your way to ensuring happy customers that are both adopting and advocating for your product in no time!