How to Create a Customer Marketing Team

By Madison Taylor
March 17, 2023
Woman smiling at a table

No, not a marketing team. And not a pure customer success team, either. Customer marketing is a hybrid of the two, combining the skill sets and priorities of marketing and customer success.

What Marketers Bring to the Table

The main reason to create a dedicated customer marketing team is that marketers are excellent communicators. After all, that’s their job — they start with an idea or a message, research the audience to whom that message needs to be delivered, and put together the best visual and written communication resources to get the message across. In this case, their materials are in the service of customer success rather than customer acquisition, but the idea is the same.

The other skills that marketers bring to the table are in the area of data and analytics. Just like not every marketing campaign is a winner, your outreach attempts won’t always work. You’ll do your best to help a customer, only to find that they still churn. You might reach out to ask people if they need help, and they won’t respond. You’ll send them a detailed PDF of how to get your product set up, and they won’t even open it.

You need to analyze your customer success efforts just like you analyze your marketing efforts to see what’s working and what’s not, and marketers are the perfect resource to do that.

What Customer Success Brings to the Table

Marketers are great communicators, but with a catch: they’re seldom communicating one-on-one. They’re used to sending out broad messages to the world, appealing to categories of people rather than individuals. That’s where customer success teams can help fill the gap.

When the two combine, you get all the thoughtfulness and helpfulness of a customer success professional combined with the top-tier communications materials you expect from your marketing department. It’s the perfect recipe for your customers’ long-term success.

The Customer Success Pipeline

Once you have a customer marketing team in place, their primary purpose will be to roll together all the lessons we’ve been talking about to create a pipeline for customer success. They’ll examine every shred of marketing data, usage data, demographics, sentiment scores, and the rest.

The result of that analysis will be a list of triggers and markers to look for in each of your customers — specific things to look for that indicate that a given customer is likely to renew, expand, or churn.

Once your team knows what to look for, they can create a plan for reacting to each of those people. Customers who seem likely to renew can receive emails prompting them to switch from a monthly payment plan to a yearly one. When you find customers who seem open to expansion, send them promotional offers for new or related product lines. If you find customers who are on the path to churning, reach out to them and find out how you can help.

These are essential steps when a new customer comes on board and starts using your product, but don’t forget about your existing customers. At any point, an existing customer (especially a “passive” on the NPS scale) might decide that they’re fed up with the small annoyances they have with your product. You need to watch for red flags like decreased usage or unsubscribing from email lists to make sure you’re not losing the customers you already have.

Turning Customers into Promoters

Finally, a customer marketing team will be responsible for turning your customers into a form of marketing themselves. We can’t emphasize enough how valuable it is to have active promoters out there in the world evangelizing for your company. New customers trust them, existing customers feel valued, and you save on your lead generation budget.

Start by seeking out feedback from your happiest customers (again, your CM team should know who those are) and adding testimonials to your website. Ask them what they like most about working with you and take notes for interacting with other customers. If you’re not getting good reviews on Google or Facebook, seek them out by sending emails to your most successful people and asking them to write you a glowing recommendation.

For the best customers, consider writing up case studies that explain in great detail what the customers’ problem was, how you fixed it, and what the result has been for that customer. Focus on both the issues that future customers are most likely to face and those that have been the hardest to solve to prove your versatility. Sprinkle in quotes from the customer concerned that explain how helpful you were to add an extra layer of authenticity and relatability to anyone reading it.

Building the Bridge to Customer Success

In the realm of modern business, the path to customer success is not a solitary journey but a collaborative effort that intertwines the strengths of marketers and customer success teams. The creation of a dedicated customer marketing team represents a strategic melding of two vital skill sets, ultimately forming a powerful alliance that serves the dual purpose of enhancing communication and driving data-driven insights.

In the end, the customer marketing team assumes the role of cultivators, transforming satisfied customers into active promoters. Harnessing the power of testimonials, case studies, and glowing recommendations, these advocates become an invaluable extension of your marketing efforts. Their genuine endorsements resonate with new and existing customers, fostering trust, loyalty, and, ultimately, a thriving customer ecosystem.