Should Customer Success Own Customer Marketing? - SmartKarrot Blog

Should Customer Success Own Customer Marketing?

There has been an ongoing debate in the customer success field – whether customer success should own customer marketing? Let us end this debate once and for all today with this blog!

Who Own Customer Marketing
Who Own Customer Marketing

We have recently seen marketing departments in SaaS companies concentrating more on marketing programs to engage existing customers. These programs got the name of customer marketing.  

Customer marketing is one of the key functions of an organization. On the other hand, customer success has been around since early 2009.

But in recent years, its popularity has increased tremendously. Some of the reasons for its remarkable popularity can be attributed to the rise of the SaaS industry and not to forget the other subscription models. 

When a sale is not a one-time event but a recurring one, companies need to close new customers and keep the existing ones for the next renewal. 

The other reason is the massive proliferation of marketing and customer choice. With the advancement in technology, customers have started using smartphones, and now virtually everyone has a tap on all customer research data at their fingertips. 

Combining these two factors means that customers today have more choices than ever before. They can now order a product from anywhere across the world with a simple push of a button. If your competition is coming up with a better product at a cost-effective price than you, many customers will not hesitate to join them. 

This is where companies have now started to focus on the satisfaction and success of existing customers. It is even more important than focusing on acquiring new customers. This is where customer marketing as a department comes in handy. 

Definition of customer marketing 

Customer marketing is any marketing activity that focuses on current customers. Customer marketing aims to reduce churn, improve customer retention, boost brand advocacy, increase customer loyalty, and encourage community participation.

What is customer marketing responsible for? 

Customer marketing is responsible for a bunch of activities. The primary objectives of customer marketing are-

  • Expanding business revenue to accelerate, grow, and ace the pipeline by creating customer advocates.
  • Encourage brand loyalty through the usage of products in a value-driven manner
  • Evangelize success by helping customers reach their point of success
  • Increasing referrals, renewals, cross-sell and upsell opportunities
  • Manage customer engagement and communication campaigns
  • Ensure customers receive continued product education to help meet business objectives
  • Match sales and marketing teams to meet business objectives

The main responsibilities of a customer success department 

The customer success department, at its core, is responsible for customer retention and the prevention of churn. The main goals are to encourage customers to stick with the product, encourage product adoption, provide customer training, creating easy customer onboarding, and other professional services.

The customer success department looks to develop healthy customer relationships, analyze customer needs, and help customers derive the best value from the product.

Customer marketing and customer success: How can both departments help each other? 

Customer success and customer marketing can help each other to a huge extent. Here are some of the ways:

Identify candidates that can be good role models for customer success through case studies, press releases, and testimonials 

The customer success team knows customers better; they know the top customers- what they like and what they don’t. This knowledge can be shared with customer marketing teams to target customers better. One of the best ways to share this information is by using a shared inbox in helpdesk software which allows team members from different departments to see all the correspondence with a specific customer. You can send product guides, videos, and other learning material as and when they need help. On the other hand, it also allows picking candidates who can reach the customer success phase with testimonials and case studies.

Giving right data access to both teams for saving time, effort, and productivity 

Another collaboration point can be ensuring both teams have the right customer data. This can be in terms of the customer experience, how far they are on the customer journey timeline and upselling course. This creates a transparent atmosphere for both teams. They save effort, time, and increase productivity.

Encouraging proper sharing within both the teams with a minimal in-person meeting 

You can recognize customers in a better manner. Also, communication between the teams can be improved. You can share relevant information to achieve your respective goals. There is increased collaboration between teams and reduced in-person meetings.

Should customer success own customer marketing? 

Customer marketing always takes into consideration context-based marketing, which always wins over the customers (It is a sub-set of customer success) 

Customer marketing teams can use insights from the customer success team to connect with audience directly. This boosts reputation and ensures there is higher targeting involved. You can notice what people look for and then explore upselling or cross-selling options.

The need for deeper customer understanding (The mandatory thing for customer success professionals) 

Customer marketing and customer success will thrive only with better customer understanding. You can manage customer engagement and advocacy, help at-risk customers, improve customer lifecycle, and create success stories.

Customer success and customer marketing need to complement each other and see that there is a customer angle to every program. Improving customer experience should be the goal of both teams, and they need to clearly communicate goals and tasks with each other.

Concluding Thoughts 

Customer marketing is all about convincing existing customers to stick around with the product or service for an extended period of time. At the same time, customer success is about making the existing customers successful.

Without customer marketing, there cannot be customer success. Hence, customer marketer is a must for customer success to happen.  

As far as the debate about customer success owning customer marketing is concerned, I believe it can differ from company to company.  

For example, if you are dealing with a small start-up, I can assume customer success will also do customer marketing. The reason is, they are responsible for customer education, value addition, and expansion.  

All of this is only possible when they can market it properly. In the case of bigger B2B SaaS companies, they might have separate departments for customer marketing and customer success.  

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