“How does marketing aid Customer Success?” This was the question I was asked recently by our CEO. Luckily our CEO fully understands and sees the importance of both Customer Success and Marketing. However, he was probing how the two departments can best work with each other to deliver a great customer lifecycle.
When talking about Customer Success I love the concept of going on a journey with a customer. Usually I visualise this as a walk along a riverbank. Starting from onboarding and walking along the riverbank to the next milestone and so on. The illustration below aims to depict this journey, having completed milestone 1, the journey to milestone 2 commences.
Fig 1. Customer Success Plan – Along riverbank reaching key milestones.
As the customer is walking along the riverbank towards their next milestone, the river is flowing next to them in the same direction of travel. Now imagine throwing some sticks into the river at the start. Some will not travel far before stopping on the river bank, some will catch up with the customer, some may sink, some will pass the customer, and some may get the customers attention and cause them to change their path.
Product Development and Marketing
Running within the river are two constant flows of sticks caught up in the flow. The first is product development. Product Development is continually flowing, minor changes are introduced as well as new and improved features. Some of these features and improvements will have little or effect on a customer, some will have much more of an impact and some will not be on the customers roadmap, just yet.
Fig 2. Product development running alongside Customer Success.
The second flow of sticks comes from marketing. A flow of case study’s, success sharing, new features explained, white papers, research, training videos etc. Again, some will not catch up with where a customer is, some will overtake the customer and some will have a big impact on the customer.
Fig 3. Marketing running alongside Product Development and Customer Success.
On occasion Product Development, Marketing or a combination of them both deliver a feature/marketing message that reaches the customer and results in a significant advancement in a customer’s journey.
This acts like a bridge over the river that allows a customer to advance significantly within the same number of steps and possibly even skipping a milestone.
Fig 4. Product Development /Marketing deliver key feature/message to fast track customer journey.
Examples of this might be a Marketing piece showcasing how another customer utilises the software by using it in a slightly different manner.
A feature is introduced such as an integration with the customers CRM.
This allows the customer to use your solution far easier and in more ways.
In Summary “How does marketing aid Customer Success?”
In my opinion Marketing helps to share the success of other customers, introduce new features/updates and educate customers on different ways of doing things, especially best practice.
It can also act as an authentic source to educate on the sector as a whole.
Within the business I work for we predominantly deal with the charity sector. As part of this we are continually learning and researching the sector and have gathered information such as new trends in fundraising, new and proposed regulation changes and produced several white papers on our learnings.
Running in tandem with Customer Success, Marketing supports the customer lifecycle and adds in additional pieces of information that aid the customer journey.