4 Reasons why Customer Success is a Crucial Part of Marketing

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends” Walt Disney

Over the last 15 years, few business functions have been more directly changed by the Internet than marketing, but the fundamental truth mentioned by Walt Disney hasn’t: Your customers are one of your most important marketing resources.

While we’ve all heard this before, the importance of having happy customers to drive forward your marketing is a lot more important in today’s world of information overload, social networks, and tremendous competition. The term “Customer Success” has gained prominence among software-as-a-service firms in recent years to describe customer happiness and retention among existing customers.

There are three key reasons customer success is key for marketing in today’s world:

  1. Outbound Marketing is becoming less effective. As Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah insightfully put forth in their book Inbound Marketing, potential customers are getting better at filtering messages out (whether via email filters, caller id, etc) and are becoming more reliant on other sources of information (online reviews, recommendations from others, etc). While investment in traditional marketing is certainly worthwhile, this situation is only going to get worse.
  2. Your customers have deep credibility. No one knows better than your customers how valuable your service is. Your potential customers have many reasons not to believe you, but your current customers have few reasons to deceive them.  It’s just like finding a restaurant or hotel when traveling – you check Yelp, Tripadvisor, or ask friends – then decide where to go.
  3. Your customers know the right people. Whoever your target customer is, it’s incredibly likely that they hang out with people like themselves – namely other potential customers.  Whether they are startup CEOs, hockey Moms, or data analysts for retail companies, they tend to talk to people with the same interests and responsibilities that they have. Furthermore, in today’s world, people move between jobs frequently – today’s customer might be tomorrow’s potential customer.
  4. Your customers have powerful reach. Not only do your customers know the right people, the constantly online Linkedin/Twitter/Blogging/Facebook world we live in today means that they have direct ways to reach out to those people. Moreover, they have the relationships with people that mean their messages will get read and will be meaningful.

If you can increase customer happiness (whether by greater personal attention to each customer, product improvements, or targeted marketing), you have the opportunity to reach the perfect audience with a deeply credible message.  While the film Serendipity made for a great date, it’s definitely not how you want to approach finding new customers.

We’ll continue this discussion with a dive into the metrics needed to track the impact of customer success efforts on marketing in a future post. Follow us on Twitter, and post your own stories of customer success driving marketing wins below.


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