Riley Edmunds
Riley Edmunds 27 July 2016

Four Ways the Marketer Supports Customer Retention

Brand awareness and acquisition are no longer the single twin pillars of marketing. The marketing team is responsible for designing and building a company's brand and ensuring that brand experience is consistent for all prospects.

Modern organizations are realizing that customers demand the same level of consistency, if not higher. Maintaining a consistent experience for existing customers is now more crucial than ever. 

In Salesforce's State of Digital Marketing 2016, 58% of high performing marketing teams are leading customer experience initiatives across the organization. In addition, 63% are delivering personalized omni-channel experiences across all business units.

In the report they state, "Often, touchpoints of the customer experience live outside of marketing in either sales or customer service. Top marketers are knocking down the silos to gain a single view — and, more importantly, to deliver a unified experience for customers."

It's simple to understand. Brand awareness and acquisition are no longer the two single pillars of marketing.  The marketing team is responsible for designing and building a company's brand and ensuring that brand experience is consistent, not just for marketing, but across the business.

Customers demand a consistent experience. No matter who the customer speaks with at the company, there must always be a unified view of the customer’s profile, history, cases, and opportunities. Today, the marketing team is taking on this important role.  

The True Value of Customer Retention

What does customer retention actually mean? The Wikipedia definition is:

"...the activity that a selling organization undertakes in order to reduce customer defections. Successful customer retention starts with the first contact an organization has with a customer and continues throughout the entire lifetime."

You've probably heard the saying "It costs more money to win a new customer than to keep an existing customer." But for some reason, many companies still focus most of – if not all of – their marketing efforts and attention on acquisition.

As the role of the marketer spreads to cover the entire customer lifecycle however, marketers are looking hard at tactics they can employ through marketing campaigns, social media, content marketing and other programs to keep customers happy and reduce churn.

Happy, loyal customers not only stay longer and spend more money through cross-selling and upselling opportunities, they also help organizations win new customers by acting as brand advocates.

How Marketing Supports Customer Retention

There are many things the marketing team can do to help other business units ensure high retention rates. We’ve outlined four below.

Steady Outreach and Communication

Organizations should never forget about a customer just because they have bought the product or service. Keeping in regular contact with existing customers helps build loyalty and demonstrates that they are valuable to the company.

Direct outreach from account managers, along with broad communications, including newsletters and email programs, can help customer retention and assist with cross-selling and upselling.

Customer Centric Content Marketing

Much of the content created by marketing is designed to be middle or top of the funnel to drive interest and awareness of the company. But customer support is another area where content marketing is very valuable.

Marketing teams can analyze support calls, contact center logs, website searches and traffic, social media and other places to understand the common questions that customers have and where they typically run into issues. From there, marketers can then use this information to create new content for existing customers, like blog posts, tips, how-to’s, Q&As, ebooks, and whitepapers that focus on these areas.

Community Management

Customer communities are becoming extremely popular in B2B organizations. These communities enable customers to talk with each other, share ideas and experiences, ask questions, find information, and help each other with issues and questions.  

A community can be owned and managed by a company, but it doesn’t have to be about spreading the “company gospel.”

A good community fosters an environment for customers to talk to each other and help each other out. When you consider that most buyers spend a copious amount of time on personal research and seek out advice from peers about products and services before they make a purchase, it makes sense to create a community where this advice can be easily shared.

Organizations can leverage the knowledge shared within the community to produce new content that supports existing customers.

Self-Service Support Portal

Most customers will reach out to customer support at some point, but many like to try and work out their questions and problems on their own first.

Building a self-service portal that combines self-service tools – like a knowledgebase, online training, customer forums, and product documentation – with support ticketing, in-person training course details, and company contact information is a great place to start.

This type of customer support portal is quickly becoming a key requirement for organizations who want to increase retention through improved service and support. It also provides a great way to introduce new products and services based on what the customer currently uses.

When Marketers Focus their Energy in the Right Direction, Marketing Can Drive Customer Retention

Many marketing teams are currently using the approaches outlined above to great effect, but there are many others that can and should be explored, including loyalty programs (similar to communities), regular surveys, and feedback questionnaires.

In the four examples listed above, as well as with other approaches, agile content management – sometimes referred to as structured or intelligent content management – is key to ensuring that the right content is presented to the right customer at the right time.

Often, we fail to take the time to think about how we can create content in a way that allows it to be reused across devices and channels, let alone across different stages of the customer lifecycle. An agile approach makes this possible. It can revolutionize your customer retention initiatives, keeping customers engaged and ready to discuss additional products and services offered by your organization.

To learn more about agile content management, check out this piece on The Need for Agile Web Experience Management.

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