Customer marketing leaders, get ready for the spotlight.

We’re having a “told you so” moment in customer marketing. As companies turn more attention to keeping their existing customers, the job of strengthening engagement, building loyalty, and developing advocates is front and center.

A full 60% of marketing organizations plan to increase spend on customer engagement. This is encouraging, but with great(er) power comes great(er) responsibility. Here’s what to think about:

Be a better collaborator. Customer marketers in B2B organizations are well positioned to connect dots throughout the company. In fact, 32% of marketing decision-makers indicate that marketing owns the customer experience. Connecting the dots might look like working with sales and customer success to support upsell campaigns or partnering with portfolio marketing on product management to create content for, and share insights from, user groups and customer councils.

It does not look like working in a silo, hoping to be included, and scrambling when you’re not. A customer marketing charter helps take stock of who you should be working with and which processes should be aligned to make partnership and collaboration easier.

Get used to center stage. As customer marketing receives more attention and resources, customer marketers must be prepared for the spotlight. This includes reframing the way you think about your activities and developing or evolving your ability to “think like a CFO.” Whether making a business case for purpose-built reference technology, getting buy-in from your colleagues in customer success and demand marketing, or demonstrating the impact of customer marketing programs, customer marketers must move beyond discussing specific tactics.

Three litmus tests for internal communication:

  • Be transparent. Share information as it’s needed and help your internal audiences connect what you’re doing with what matters to them.
  • Be predictable. Include timelines, dependencies, and expected returns when you are asking for resources.
  • Be accountable. State clear goals and take ownership to inspire confidence.

Create and use a dashboard. Customer marketing needs an executive dashboard for reporting to peers and leaders, yet customer marketers have long scrambled to demonstrate how their activities — building loyalty, activating advocates, driving adoption — impact the business. In organizations where the lift of customer engagement isn’t recognized, customer marketers find themselves tasked primarily with supporting cross-sell and upsell, as the ability to measure effective programs has likely already been established by the demand generation function.

Attempting to attribute complex metrics such as retention and expansion to single interactions leads to frustration and infighting about who gets “credit.” You deserve better, and so does your company. Instead, in our session, “Finding Your Swim Lane: Clarifying Customer Marketing’s Contribution,” Brett Kahnke and I will show you a formula for a customer marketing dashboard focused on output metrics combined with credible connection to impact.

Join us at Forrester’s B2B Summit North America, an in-person and digital experience, May 2–4.