Customer Marketing – Putting Your B2B Customers in the Front Seat

Current customers & beyond

Most organizations devote their significant financial & physical resources to attracting new customers. Customer marketing, on the other hand, focuses on cultivating your existing customers’ loyalty, sparking their enthusiasm while preventing migration to your competitors, driving new sales within existing customers, and eventually earning you new customers as well.

Past and present customers are a company’s most valuable asset, as they determine its true value. A company is considered successful when it satisfies its customer needs and wants while making a profit. It is therefore imperative that any customer marketing strategy maximizes the net present value of customers (NPV) for the company. Customers should be taken as investments, and current customer experiences should be enhanced and leveraged to increase retention, enhance CLV (customers life time value), and growth. 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush 

New customer acquisition costs are  . Considering that sales success rates for existing customers range between 60-70% while new customers’ success rates are just 5-20%, your customer base is clearly more valuable. As existing customers are already onboard and are aware of the quality of the products or services, as well as the value of the organization, they are already inclined to purchase, upsell, or cross-sell. Leveraging your customer base can increase profits effectively and significantly with effective strategies. According to a Harvard business article by Frederick F. Reichheld and Phil Schefter, even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to 25%-95% increase in profits.

Fundamentally, it’s all about creating good relationships with your customers, cultivating and maximizing customer satisfaction, and providing exceptional customer experience. Customers need to know you care, willing to listen, and that you will act on their feedback if and when they provide it.

Customer marketing is, in large part, the art of building customer loyalty and the first step to gaining your customers’ loyalty is to segment and understand their needs through buyer personas. You already know who they are, now get to know them. You can use analytics software to obtain and analyze this data to keep you in touch with what’s happening in your niche market and to gather all the data you need to analyze your customer base. The process typically involves cross-departmental efforts, gathering resources from multiple teams who provide the skills and knowledge to appeal to people who already know your product and have gone through your brand journey.

Among the key customer marketing tactics is rewarding loyal customers for their ongoing support. In addition to creating positive experiences with your brand and building a strong relationship with your customers, loyalty programs provide a framework for collecting more information about the customer, which can be used to better personalize future marketing campaigns. It’s important to keep engaging them, as the more engaged your customers are, the more likely they will remain loyal. By focusing on the areas that are most important to your loyal customers, you’ll see a higher return on your investment in the long run.

The art of turning customers into advocates

The opportunities in customer marketing don’t stop with rebuying products or services. A B2B customer recommendation is four times more likely to lead to a purchase since it is perceived as more genuine and unbiassed. Making satisfied customers enthusiast brand marketers in their own right, will provide an enormous return on investment. Referral programs are simple, extremely effective, and should be used often. The brand advocates evangelize to their colleagues from their eco system about your products, services, and solutions, and increase your customer base at a much lower cost.

Customers, like us all, want to feel a part of something meaningful and to build deeper connections. We all seek out brands that resonate with our values and emotions. Creating online and offline community forums, inviting customers to leave reviews, asking them for feedback using surveys and questionnaires, and involving them in your vision and values are vital for your customers to feel like they are a part of something greater.

UGC (user generated content) has become an increasingly significant part of all B2B content marketing strategies using case studies, success stories, testimonials, customer lectures at conferences, etc. B2B companies use UGC to spread positive messages about their brand, enhance their brand’s perception, and ultimately generate more revenue from current customers and their audience with much less hassle.

 Customer marketing – up close & personal

Consequently, customer marketing is a multifaceted discipline incorporating a variety of tools, tactics, and channels as long as it’s aimed at your existing customers. Successful customer marketing maximizes the value of current customers by improving customer experience, increasing customer loyalty, and creating a customer advocacy program. In the end, companies that invest in their customer marketing, expand greatly at a lesser cost and outperform their competitors in terms of profits and shareholder value.

Evidently, customer marketing is gaining more and more traction as more organizations internalize the potential of their existing customer relationships. The biggest advantage of customer marketing is starting ahead of the game, reaching a familiar audience and retaining the hard-won customers whose needs, wants, and behaviors are already accessible to you. As we already stated, gaining a new customer costs 5-25 X more than the cost of retaining a customer, who generates 3 X the annual value compared to a new one. It’s clearly a no-brainer.

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