B2B Articles - July 10, 2016

The Role of Digital Marketing in Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management, Digital Marketing & Delight

Customer Relationship Management and Digital Marketing

The last stage of the inbound marketing cycle often gets the least attention. Delighting existing customers and boosting their loyalty to turn them into brand evangelists is almost an afterthought in customer relationship management. Most of marketing’s attention often goes to attracting prospects, and converting and nurturing qualified sales leads.

The exact cost of acquiring a new customer versus maintaining a current one is often studied with most sources saying it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Still customer relationship management can be pushed down the marketer’s long list of to do’s.

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Yet organizations which focus on meeting and exceeding buyer needs, retaining their current customer base, generating customer advocacy and increasing client spend fared better overall, according to a recent Aberdeen Group study.

In Customer Success Management: How Happy Customers Create Recurring Revenue, the research firm noted those companies with planned customer success management programs tracking and managing client engagement enjoyed improved:

  • Annual company revenue (15.8% for those with CSM programs versus 11.6%)
  • Cross-sell and up-sell revenue (13% v 7.4%)
  • Customer win-back rates (9.9% growth v 2.1% losses)
  • Revenue from customer referrals (12.3% v 5.3%).

Addressing customer issues and being responsive to existing client needs ultimately improved customer experience, increased revenues, and netted cost reductions. Customer relationship management truly matters.

Digital Marketing Strengthens Customer Relationship Management Efforts

Digital marketing plays a critical role in successful customer success management (CSM) strategy. Consider the four categories of capabilities to make CSM work the Aberdeen Group identified:

1.   Establish Visibility

2.   Enable Employees with Relevant, Timely Insights

3.   Execute Flawlessly

4.   Manage for Long-Term Goals

Marketing focuses on establishing visibility, educating prospective buyers, and converting prospects. A deep understanding of buyer needs, behaviors, pain points and sentiment helps the marketer truly personalize conversations — across all channels. Good digital marketers know to capture customer feedback and data through multiple channels, segment customers, drill-down into customer experience and share that data across the enterprise.

Regularly monitoring customer data and capturing buyer insights is the marketer’s job. Developing a unified, reliable view of the buyer’s entire journey (one that doesn’t stop at the sale) should be marketing’s primary objective.

Access to relevant, timely data is also right in marketing’s wheelhouse. With marketing automation tools and access to data analytics capturing the customer’s drivers and behaviors, marketing is already tailoring conversations with buyers and customizing insightful content and product offers accordingly.

Marketers, know too, that best practice is to share the insights gained with other teams such as sales or product development to bring the business overall in strong alignment with client expectations.

Further, Aberdeen’s “execute flawlessly” advice echoes with the successful marketer’s identification of and reliance on key performance metrics. Tracking shares of social media content, for instance, is not going to address customer success management in the same way that examining customer referral rates might help identify what is truly driving sales and maximizing buyer satisfaction. This data-driven approach resonates, too, with keeping long-term goals at the forefront.

The Aberdeen Group concluded, “building and managing a CSM program doesn’t guarantee better results. It is the right strategy that separates winners from the rest.” With digital marketing best practices so aligned with the strategies that bring customer success, it’s clear the marketer is uniquely positioned to enact the well-designed customer success management program that can optimize strategy and drive success.
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Kingwell, I. (2015, March 3). What is the Cost of Customer Acquisition vs Customer Retention? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-cost-customer-acquisition-vs-retention-ian-kingwill

Minkara, O. (2016, April). Customer Success Management: How Happy Customers Create Recurring Revenue. https://v1.aberdeen.com/launch/report/research_report/12273-RR-CSM.asp

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