The discipline of customer marketing has undergone a shift during the COVID-19 pandemic, judging by State of Customer Marketing, a study by customer engagement firm Influitive.
In 2017, the top activities conducted by marketing teams were customer references/testimonials (62%), customer user groups/events (45%) and email newsletters (41%).
This year, newsletters are way down the list, although a higher percentage is using them.
Email presumably plays a role in the metrics being used to evaluate customer marketer effectiveness.
In 2017, the top three metrics were up-sell or cross-sell revenue (22%), renewal rate/churn (21%) and customer satisfaction (19%).
The metrics have changed. This year, they include:
Customer engagement — 63%
Acts of advocacy — 60%
Number of customer-focused marketing campaigns — 47%
Customer-influenced revenue (via referral) — 47%
Customer satisfaction — 39%
Renewal rate or churn — 39%
Upsell or cross-sell revenue — 39%
Product usage/adoption — 39%
Number of referrals — 35%
Whatever the metrics, 18% are very satisfied with their customer marketing results, while 54% are satisfied, 24% are unsatisfied and 2% are very unsatisfied.
Overall, 93% say customer marketing is important or very important, while 62% say their efforts in this area have provided moderate to significant revenue gains over the past 12 months.
Advocacy is increasingly important — 74% of the respondents have a customer advocacy program and 72% have an online community for customers.
Moreover, 41% say advocacy programs are extremely valuable, 38% agree they are very valuable and 16% find them somewhat valuable. Only 3% say they are not so valuable.
This year, 17% have drawn a significantly higher number of customer advocates over the prior year. In addition, 48% say the number is somewhat higher, 30% about the same and 3% lower, 1% significantly so.
For 82%, the marketing department runs customer marketing. The other units include CS (8%), C (7%), product (1%) and other (3%).
And the teams are relatively small — 45% have between two and five people, and 18% have only one. Another 14% have between six and 10, while 7% have between 11 and 20 and 9% have 21-plus. And 6% of the respondents don’t know.
The most valuable skills are:
These findings are similar to those seen in 2017. That year, digital marketing was fourth and creativity fifth.
Salesforce is the dominant vendor in providing tools to marketing tech stacks — by far.
MediaPost is a neutral observer and does not endorse these standings. Influitive ranks second in its own listing. But here is the roster:
Influitive surveyed 219 customer marketing professionals in August and September.