How To Create Engaging Customer Marketing That Drives Retention

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By Jeremy Gillespie

Customer marketing works. Unfortunately, a lot of companies get hung up on which content they should use or where in the customer journey they should apply customer marketing. Luckily, we’ve already touched on 6 core areas use customer marketing across the customer journey.

Today we’re going to solve the other problem: How you create and deliver customer marketing. Most companies trip on the content development piece, and I tend to find, it’s because (a) they’re look at it through the wrong lens and (b) they think ‘marketing’ has to be promotional.

So, forget about the word ‘marketing’ for a second, and put on your customer glasses… Now, ask yourself two questions:

  1. What kind of content is interesting to you?

  2. How would you like to interact with it?

Hint: It’s content or interactions that are truly about them

Yes, it’s content that includes them and engages them in a dialogue. Not an overly promotional piece about a new feature or functionality you’ve worked on for months. They do not care. They care about how your product is going to make them better at their job.

So, we’re going to tackle this problem from the customer’s view. Below are four ways to develop engaging customer content that’s sure to improve retention.

1.  Ask them about the features would help them the most

Ask a simple question question like, “Are there any features or functionality you would like to see in our product that would make your life easier?” This will help them feel that they’re involved, their opinion is important, and you’re invested in developing their business.

The other side of this that’s often overlooked, is product education. How many times has a customer left because, “You don’t have X feature.” when in reality they’re just not using the product properly or worse… you do have that feature and they just don’t know about it?

By asking this question, you give them the floor to express gaps in the product, where you can follow-up and train them on existing features.

2. Encourage them to participate in testing new products or features

Similar to #1, this asks them to be more involved with your product. The part that is important here, is exposing the right customers to beta tests and let them know why.

“Hey abc customer, we are releasing a new feature designed to help people in [INSERT INDUSTRY] get more value out of our product and I immediately thought your were a great fit. Are you interested in participating?”

Adding the piece about why is crucial and (again) it lets them know you’re invested in their business. But, let’s not forget -- these features may be on a higher priced plan, which gives you a great introduction to expansion and up-sell opportunities. Once you gather feedback on their experience, if it’s positive, transition into an expansion conversation.

3. Put them in the spotlight

Yes, another way to get them involved is to feature them in a customer testimonial, case study or webinar that showcases them, not you. This should put a spotlight on the unique ways they are using your product to be more successful.

The goals should be in this order:

  • Make them the star

  • Provide ideas that are helpful for all of your customers

  • Feature your product

This has the double benefit of making your customer feel great about what you’ve accomplished together, and providing other prospects and customers with advice on how to use your solution to thrive.

4. Don’t be a stranger

Web conferencing, email, and phones mean that the human element of customer marketing is sometimes forgotten. Make it a point to see as many customers as possible to let them know you care, and document what you learn. You can even share these experiences on social media if it makes sense (check out our newest feature, Success on the Road, for one idea on how to do this).

This does not need to be a big customer event you host. You can add an in-person happy hour while traveling to other cities, organize meetups at conferences and trade shows, or get a coffee if they’re in your city. The point is -- meet in-person, get to know your customers, and ask them to share their story.

These ideas are an amazing way to look at customer marketing through a different lens, but they are just a starting point. When you think about customer marketing get creative, get the customer involved, and make it about them. This is the key to developing customer marketing that drives retention.

The Success League is a customer success consulting firm dedicated to listening to customers. If you need help building out a customer marketing program, consider one of our deep dive engagements. We offer a variety of short, but powerful consulting programs that provide concrete deliverables and help you create real change in your customer success program. Visit for ideas and information.

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Jeremy Gillespie - Jeremy is a growth marketing expert who loves using complex data to build creative retention solutions. By leveraging data and technology, he excels at creating innovative retention and expansion marketing programs for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Jeremy is a founding advisor to The Success League, and is also the founder of Built to Scale, a Bay Area consulting firm focused on helping businesses build scalable customer acquisition and retention programs. He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from Point Park University. He's a proud former Pittsburgher, currently living in San Francisco.