Should Marketing Care More About Customer Experience?

Marketing’s certainly no black-and-white discipline today. That said, should marketing bother itself with customer retention?

Marketing’s role beyond the point of sale is a gray area. While we’d all broadly agree that our job is to create demand by helping businesses recognize they have problems, fewer would agree that keeping new customers happy should be a major chapter in marketing’s playbook.

In part, this is because customer service today is still overwhelmingly reactive, with an emphasis on troubleshooting. It’s hard to see where marketing’s expertise would fit in.

It’s also apparently futile when studies show companies that focus on retention at the expense of bringing in new customers will struggle to grow sustainably. That’s because brands with a smaller market share have fewer customers who are less loyal. Conversely, brands with higher market share have more customers who are in turn more loyal, according to the Double Jeopardy Law.

Should Marketers Care About Customer Retention?

If improved loyalty from customers fundamentally comes from having more customers, why would marketing bother itself with retention?

Because it’s an opportunity wasted. Customer retention is still important; it’s just not a successful growth strategy in isolation.

Firstly — and you’ll know this from your own experience — it’s pretty common for customers to not hear a peep from a supplier until they’re a few weeks away from renewal, at which point they’re treated to a barrage of emails and calls. It does nothing for fostering customer goodwill which, it’s worthwhile reminding ourselves, is an intangible business asset that impacts profitability.

Building stronger relationships with customers not only keeps them engaged with your products and services, and aware of any new releases, it also makes them more forgiving when the business makes mistakes.

Related Article: How CMOs Can Master Their New Job: Leading Customer Experience

Don’t Take Customer Awareness for Granted

If all that wasn’t enough, it also helps maintain mental availability. Too many businesses take customer awareness for granted (they’re customers after all) only to be surprised when those same customers jump ship for the next bright shiny new thing to come to market and gain everybody’s attention.

Secondly, the buyer journey doesn’t end neatly with the close of a sale. Once a customer is using your new product, and seeing a positive change, they should have more confidence and appetite to try other solutions to other problems. Stopping contact means you’ll be missing out on obvious cross-sell and upsell opportunities. 

Thirdly, happy customers make excellent case studies. In recent research by our B2B marketing agency Considered Content, some 28% of buyers said they want to be able to view testimonials, case studies and reviews from named businesses. Yet only 9% of marketers offered them. Similarly, 27% of buyers wanted to be able to access references from existing users that they could contact directly. Just 5% of marketers offered this. Your most engaged customers are also your most loyal. The deeper your relationship, the more likely they’ll agree to help you out.

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