Business-to-business 'customer marketers' may be the new rising stars in the marketing department, with 93% of organizations expecting to build up their customer marketing efforts this year, while 62% will increase their staff or budgets in this area in 2017.
According to The State of Customer Marketing 2017, out of over 200 marketing leaders primarily from B2B companies surveyed, companies identified three main skills as vital to the success of modern customer marketing efforts: relationship building, communication and customer service. With over 90% of those surveyed acknowledging that customer marketing is important, only 61% were satisfied with the results of current customer marketing efforts. This represents a significant opportunity for growth in the customer marketing arena, the report suggests.
"It is exciting to see that organizations expect customer marketing to increase in importance and budget commitment, and not surprising that there is a gap to realize the potential," said Mark Organ, founder and CEO of Influitive, who conducted the survey on behalf of Koyne Marketing. "Customer marketing as a function is professionalizing, adopting new ideas, people, strategies, processes and technologies. I have seen this same trend firsthand with the demand generation function a decade ago, and believe customer marketing is similarly transforming into an area of vital importance."
Only 61% were satisfied with the results of current customer marketing efforts, which represents a significant opportunity for growth in the customer marketing arena. The emphasis on customer marketing also implies a stronger connection to revenue, with less than half of those surveyed saying that their customer marketing efforts were tied directly to revenue metrics - including cross sells, upsells, and account renewals.
Nearly half (49%) of companies reported that their customer marketing efforts resulted in moderate to significant revenue gains, while large companies (71%) report greater gains due to customer marketing than medium (52%) or small companies (44%).
The three most frequently tracked metrics were upsell/cross-sell revenues, renewal/churn rate (52%) or small companies (44%).
The report suggest that customer satisfaction does pay off. Organizations reporting moderate to significant revenue from customer marketing are more than two and a half times more likely to report high levels of customer satisfaction.
The report also identified that the skills customer marketers need to succeed are changing too. Companies identified three main skills as vital to the success of modern customer marketing efforts: relationship building, communication, and customer service.
"The skills required from customer marketers are more akin to what's traditionally needed from a star sales representative," said Steve Gershik, CEO of Koyne Marketing. "Today's customer is looking for far more than just a transaction with a brand. So, modern marketing organizations need to hire customer marketers who can focus on deep, authentic relationship building."