The Customer-Led Growth Manifesto

What is Customer-Led Growth, why is it essential to your career and your company’s success, and how can you become a Customer-Led Growth Superhero?

Jeff Ernst, Co-founder & CEO @ SlapFive

Customer-Led Growth

How it started

It was November 2018, but I remember it like it was yesterday. That year I had conversations with three business collaborators – Steve Rankel, Howard Fields, and Bill Stone – who had all independently come to the same conclusion: traditional Sales and Marketing tactics have lost their effectiveness. For companies to succeed moving forward, they need to be “Customer-led”.

This wasn’t just a whim. It was based on years of collective industry experience as well as in-depth research into how buyers buy, who they trust, and where they go for answers to the questions, fears and doubts they encounter at each stage of their buying process. We’re not just talking about your “new logo” buyers, we’re also talking about your existing customers when they’re in buying mode – deciding whether to renew with you, buy more from you, or use more of what they’ve already bought.

I had done a ton of this research at Forrester back in 2010, when I was principal analayst serving B2B CMOs, and used the research findings as the basis for the Customer-Led Growth Strategy Workshop I created to help these CMOs realize the potential that customers have in driving growth.

The four of us got together for a few jam sessions, and quickly realized we had to do more than just talk, we needed to build a movement, so we formed the Customer-Led Growth Consortium.

We decided to start by pulling together a larger cohort of people who believed that all business, marketing, and sales leaders must be customer-led to compete and win. We invited 100 such people to our first meetup, called CustomerVoiceCon, on November 8, 2018, at Night Shift Brewing in Everett, MA.

Customer-Led Growth Meetup
That's me in the plaid shirt, Steve to my right, Bill with the big smile.

Guess what? Of those 100 we invited, 80 showed up. And the enthusiasm they showed for Customer-Led Growth (CLG) was astounding. We knew we were on to something, so we morphed CustomerVoiceCon into CustomerXCon, THE conference for Customer-Led Growth.

In 2020, on my last business trip pre-COVID, I had dinner with Bill Lee, and the mind meld was instant. Bill is founder of The Center for Customer Engagement, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers, and producer of the Summit on Customer Engagement conference which had just concluded that afternoon. This power shift from suppliers to customers is what Bill calls a “Customer Revolution”. To validate this notion, Bill and I brought 12 of the most forward-thinking tech industry executives together for “The Roundtable for a Customer Revolution”. This group included Nick Mehta (Gainsight), Carol Meyers (Rapid7, Unica), Jake Sorofman (Visier, Pendo, Gartner), Jill Rowley (Marketo, Eloqua), Teresa Anania (Zendesk, Autodesk), Karen Steele (Near, LeanData) and Anthony Kennada (AudiencePlus, Front, Gainsight). You can find many of the amazing insights from our discussions on how we need to transform our companies to be customer-led in our Roundtable for a Customer Revolution Webinar Series.

Four years after the first Customer-Led meetup, I’m thrilled to see that Customer-Led Growth has been embraced by executives and Customer Marketing leaders at some of the best-performing tech companies. And not just the big guys, but companies of all sizes.

But I’m concerned that the majority of Customer Marketing leaders have not yet embraced it. In my keynote at CustomerXCon 2022, I asked the audience, “How many of you think that you are practicing Customer-Led Growth today?” I’d say 20 out of the 200 people in the room raised their hands. I then asked, “How many of you have a clear understanding of what Customer-Led Growth means?” About 30 people raised their hands. That was eye opening.

I predict that 2023 will be the year that Customer Marketing leaders either step up and proactively drive Customer-Led Growth initiatives, or they will be replaced by people who will do it. That’s why I’m here to help you not only save your job but thrive in your career.

Why is Customer-Led Growth Essential?

If you’re not already convinced that you must drive Customer-Led Growth for your company and your career success, I need to drive that home. Why is this so?

Why is Customer-Led Growth Essential?

1. The Buyer-Seller Trust Gap has never been wider

In my years of conducting buyer research at Forrester and for the Buyer Persona Institute, I have interviewed over 2,000 buyers across a wide variety of industries and markets. What every single interview has confirmed is that buyers don’t trust what your salespeople say or what your marketing materials claim. In fact, they don’t want to talk to your salespeople until they’re ready to place an order.

They want to hear from people just like them, in companies just like theirs, who have solved problems just like the ones they’re looking to tackle. Translation: they want to hear from your customers.

And they don’t want to read the classic “Challenge-Solution-Result” case studies that are full of marketing-speak about your product or watch highly-produced testimonial videos, embellished with music and B-roll video, that buyers told me they perceive as advertisements.

At every stage of their customer lifecycle, they want to hear the first-person, authentic voice of your customers, talking about things like how they:

  • Decided that their organization couldn’t live another day with the status quo.
  • Convinced their executives that it was time to make a change.
  • Chose the approach to solving the problem.
  • Evaluated and compared solution providers.
  • Decided to select your solution.
  • Overcame the challenges and pitfalls they encountered working with your firm.
  • etc.

In other words, they want a crystal ball into what life is like as a customer before they buy. To move them, you need CLG.

2. Traditional Marketing and Sales methods have lost their effectiveness

What have companies like yours done in light of the Buyer-Seller Trust Gap? Recognizing that it is harder for salespeople to reach qualified buyers and for your marketing messages to break through the noise in the market, you’ve doubled down on your traditional Marketing and Sales tactics.

Your Sales leaders have hired more salespeople, reorganized your sales teams by vertical market, and brought in seasoned experts from each industry. You’ve invested in sales enablement portal technology to put the right sales tools into the hands of sales reps at the right time. But what good are these when buyers don’t want to talk to salespeople?

Your Marketing leaders have hired more Demand Gen people to build lead nurturing campaigns, more Product Marketing people to create data sheets and run product webinars, and more Content Marketing people to write keyword-rich white papers and blog posts. But what good are these tactics when buyers don’t trust your marketing messages and claims?

What’s the only thing that breaks through the noise, reaches your target buyers, overcomes their questions, fears, and doubts, and earns their trust? You’ve got it, the voice of your CUSTOMERS. You need CLG.

3. Fear of recession is causing even more scrutiny of purchases and renewals

You can’t look at a news site or channel without seeing a report about inflation, gas prices, and the $64,000 question: Are we heading for a global recession?

This fear has had a profound impact on business. The most headline-grabbing are those high-flying tech companies that hired more salespeople and marketing folks to do more of the traditional tactics that have lost their effectiveness. Remember them? They’re now laying those people off in large numbers.

What’s less visible, at least in terms of media coverage, is that technology buyers are being forced to apply even more scrutiny to purchases. They must show predictable business benefits, get more people internally on board, and prove that the company will be in dire straits if it doesn’t solve this problem right now.

What do they need to do this? They need even more real stories of your real customers who have tackled the same initiative and gotten real results. You need CLG.

It’s not just initial purchases, business leaders are also being forced to justify every renewal of technology they have. Is it being used? Is it having impact? Is it delivering on the promise we had when we brought it in? Can we survive the next year without it?

What do YOU need to do to make sure the answers to all these questions is YES? You need to make sure the practices, usage patterns and behaviors of your most successful customers are being adopted by all your customers. You need CLG.

4. Your customers are your best sales and marketing assets

Your customers have the keys to the kingdom. If you don’t believe me, answer these questions:

Question: Who knows best how to get an organization to realize that you can’t live another day without tackle the problem you exist to solve?
Answer: Your customers.

Question: Who knows best how to get all the key stakeholders aligned on making a change?
Answer: Your customers.

Question: Who knows best how to evaluate and compare the different solutions that exist in the market?
Answer: Your customers.

Question: Who knows best how your products should be used to achieve business impact?
Answer: Your customers.

Question: Who knows best how to overcome the challenges and pitfalls that customers inevitably encounter when implementing your solution?
Answer: Your customers.

I could go on but let’s stipulate that your customers are your best salespeople, and your best marketers.

It’s a Perfect Storm. The Trust Gap between buyers and sellers is wider than ever, traditional sales and marketing tactics are tuned out by your target buyers, fear of recession is causing even more scrutiny in buying decisions and renewals, and your customers are by far your best sales and marketing assets.

Let’s shift our focus to what 85% of the attendees at CustomerX Con 2022 did not have a clear understanding of. It’s time to talk about the definition of Customer-Led Growth.

What is Customer-Led Growth?

What is Customer-Led Growth?

Customer-Led Growth is when you conceive of, design, and execute programs that mobilize your customers to drive the strategic growth initiatives that have been set by your C-Level executives.

Equally important is what CLG is NOT. There are a lot of things that we must do as Customer Marketing and Customer Advocacy leaders just to keep the lights on. Things like satisfying endless asks for more case studies, fielding requests for references, rounding up customer quotes for marketing materials and press releases. I’m not saying that these activities can’t be woven into a larger CLG initiatives, but by themselves, they’re not CLG, they’re table stakes.

If we all want to be recognized for the contributions that we’re making to our company’s revenue growth (and I assume that if you’ve read this far, you want this too), we need to be doing things that drive the initiatives that our C-Level executives set and care about. Otherwise, you’re not even going to be on their radar.

How do you know if you’re doing CLG? This is what I call the anatomy of Customer-Led Growth:

You know you're doing Customer-Led Growth When:

One, you have the confidence to go to your senior executives and find out what are their strategic growth initiatives. If you work for a public company, these are the top three go-to-market priorities for growing revenue and earnings per share that your CEO promises to “The Street” on earnings calls. For private companies, these are the priorities that are likely announced at your Company All-Hands meetings. Either way, you want to be connected to these initiatives.

Two, you proactively design customer programs that are a two-way exchange of value between your company and customer, that supercharge one or more of these initiatives. The proactive part is important, because it is the exact opposite of how Customer Marketing has operated in the past, which is to wait for requests to come in from anyone in the company who needs customer evidence, and then work to fulfill each request. If you’re doing CLG, you come up with the engagement program that you think will crush the initiative.

If you really want to build excitement and create FOMO, give your project a catchy code name, and use that name whenever you talk about it.

Third, you use your cross-functional influence skills to socialize your idea with the executives and with all the teams that you need to help you execute it, because nobody can do CLG alone. It takes a village. So you build enthusiasm and gain buy-in for your program.

Fourth, you brilliantly execute the program according to your plan. This requires you to make pivots when things aren’t working totally as planned, and smooth out the bumps that get in the way.

Fifth, you measure the impact that your program is having on revenue. There are many ways to measure revenue influence, some of the most common ones include: how much new customer acquisition revenue was generated, how much expansion revenue did you drive, how many cross-sell or upsell deals did you generate, or how much have you increased average deal size or reduced sales cycles.

Sixth, you beat your chest. You package up your influence metrics in ways that speak the language of each audience, and you get it in front of everyone who you socialized the program with to gain support. This is no time to be modest. This is where you will position yourself as a Customer-Led Growth superhero and get your higher-ups thinking about your next promotion.

What if we’re a Product-Led Growth, Engineering-Led Growth, or Sales-Led Growth company?

B2B companies are often Engineering-Led in the early days when bringing disruptive or innovative products to market, then become Sales-Led as they scale. More recently, due to the ease of implementing SaaS products, many companies call themselves Product-Led because they rely on driving people to free trials, and then convert those trials to paid customers.

Regardless, the point I want to make is that these *-Led models are not mutually exclusive. You don’t need to shift everything your company does to Customer-Led in order to drive Customer-Led Growth.  CLG complements other models. For example, CLG works great in a PLG company because people want to hear from their peers before investing their time and energy in a free trial or freemium offering.

Eight examples of Customer-Led Growth initiatives

I’ve been doing Customer-Led Growth since, well, long before it was a thing. And you probably have too. So now I’m going to give you some examples of growth initiatives I’ve driven in my career that perfectly fit our definition of CLG. This is really where it comes to life.

Eight Examples of Customer-Led Growth Initiatives

1. Customers Drive Co-Creation and Innovation

Let’s go back to 1999. It was the early days of eCommerce, and I was with a company called Open Market, which had developed a multi-merchant eCommerce transaction engine, and then acquired two other vendors to add Product Catalog and Web Content Management to its suite.

The combined companies had previously only sold to Media and B2C companies that sold digital and physical goods to consumers and the CEO decided that to grow the company, we needed to enter a new market: B2B eCommerce. This meant handling things like purchase orders, electronic payments, and ERP integration, so they hired me because of my ERP background.  There weren’t any off-the-shelf offerings on the market at the time, only home-grown solutions.

The first thing I did is bring together the few B2B manufacturing and distribution customers that had purchased one of the products, and asked them, “If you could wave your magic wand, what would an ideal B2B eCommerce solution look like?”

They gave us great insights into what we needed to buy and build to round out the solution. They walked through their workflows in detail. And they described the shortcomings of their current tech stack. We used this amazing input to fill our feature gaps and build our offering. That’s a CLG initiative on the innovation and co-creation side. Bringing these customers together and getting their input was critical to nailing the requirements and building something the market wanted.

When we built this B2B solution, we gave it a code name: Project Balboa. This name tied into our work in several ways. Both syllables of Balboa begin with B, so it was easy for people to associate Balboa with B2B. It also conjured images of Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies, and we played the Rocky theme song, “Gonna Fly Now”, when we announced the solution at our Sales Kick-off.

The Result:

We delivered Balboa in 6 months, a 50% reduction in time it took this company to launch products previously.

2. Customers Drive Entry into a New Market

Since Open Market was so well known in the media and B2C Commerce spaces, and unknown in B2B Commerce, we had to figure out how to build credibility and get prospects who had never heard of us to look at our solution. The answer? Create a Customer-Led Growth program to drive entry into this new market.

We mobilized those same manufacturing and distribution customers that had co-created the solution in the first place. Since they felt like their fingerprints were all over the solution, they were glad to talk about Open Market’s grand vision for automating B2B eCommerce on webinars, in press releases, and in one-on-one reference calls. They excitedly talked about their plans for adopting the solution and how they planned to use it to streamline all the critical commerce processes and integrations, and how this would help them grow their online revenue. They also talked about the Open Market products they were already using and their experiences working with our company.

Since the CEO had made this a top company priority, I reported back to him every week on the status of this project with hard numbers on how many new sales opportunities came in from a customer referral or recommendation, or from a prospect interacting with one of our existing customers on a webinar or at a dinner. There is no way we could have gained market adoption for this new solution without tapping into the magic powers of our customers.

The Result:

$3.5 million in sales in the first year, of which 85% was influenced by customers.

3. Customers Drive Migration from Legacy to Modern App

Fast forward and I got brought into Pragmatech Software, a proposal automation software company based in New Hampshire. The Board of Directors decided to do a total transformation of the company, to go from selling legacy client-server software to proposal managers, to providing a brand new SaaS Sales Enablement application to Sales departments. While we’re at it, let’s move the company from New Hampshire to Massachusetts, and oh year, we need to rename the company.

Wow, what a shift. It’s not too often that you get the opportunity to totally reinvent a company, so I jumped at the offer to become CMO. The challenge was that Pragmatech was the dominant player in the proposal automation space and all our revenue was coming from the client-server product. How do we cross this chasm and shift our revenue source to the new platform in a new market? By creating a Customer-Led Growth initiative to mobilize our customers to drive the migration from the legacy to the SaaS app.

First, we rebuilt just enough of the old proposal automation features into the new platform and added a few new bells and whistles that weren’t in the old platform, hoping to entice existing customers to migrate. We knew that these people hate change so not surprisingly, there was a lot of resistance to moving.

To break through the resistance, we identified a few of our more innovative customers and let them run both systems side-by-side. And what do you know? They really loved the new features, and that they didn’t have to do a reinstall to get the enhancements we released every month. We then mobilized these customers to create FOMO with the rest of the base, by having them talk about the things they can now do that they weren’t able to do with the legacy system. It didn’t matter how much our sales and services people talked up the benefits of migrating, they wouldn’t budge until they heard their peers telling them to take the plunge.

The Result:

It took a month to get the first 3 customers of the legacy platform to migrate, but they paved the road for 45% of the legacy customers to migrate in the first year, generating ARR of 1.5X the maintenance revenue stream.

4. Customers Drive New Product Launches

That was the easy part. The real challenge was launching the new SaaS app to its intended audience: Sales Departments. I’ll skip over the part where we gathered input from sales leaders from our existing customers on what was needed in the product, since we covered co-creation earlier, and go to launch time.

The new product enabled sales enablement folks to build playbooks that guide their sales reps on the steps they need to do to follow their sales methodology and provide the content and coaching they need at each step. Sounds great, but anyone who has ever sold to Sales departments knows that heads of Sales are the most cynical people. But we also know heads of Sales wish they could clone their top sales reps.

We tapped into the Proposal Manager customer champions who had already migrated to the SaaS app and armed them on how to tell their own stories to their Sales leaders about how they had used the new platform to improve the quality and effectiveness of the sales proposals they generated. That was the attention grabber, then there was the ask: “This same vendor can help you, Mr. or Ms. Sales Leader, uncover the most effective strategies and content used by our best reps and turn that magic into playbooks that can be used by all your reps.” We would never have gotten in front of the Sales leaders without the help of our current customers.

Then the challenge becomes convincing Sales leaders that the playbooks will help their reps sell more, better, and faster. What’s the best, and only way to do that? Capture the voice of actual, feet on the street, sales reps, talking about how they increased their commission checks by having such great coaching and guidance at their fingertips. We led with those stories in our standard sales pitch to turn cynicism into credibility and it was a game-changer. This audience didn’t care what our own sales reps or marketing materials promised.

The Result:

A 50% close rate for opportunities aided by our customer champions, compared to ~20% close rate for all other deals.

5. Customers Drive Competitive Positioning and Differentiation

Let’s fast forward again, and I decide to see what life is like on the other side of the industry analyst briefing table, and I somehow convince Forrester to hire me as a Principal Analyst, serving B2B CMOs, guiding them on how they can better engage their customers and unleash the potential of their customers to drive revenue growth.

Since it is so much more fun to do than to advise, the real fun for me began when the CEO asked me to do for Forrester what I was advising our customers to do, and I accepted the opportunity to become Forrester’s VP of Marketing.

Practicing what I preach, the first thing I did was to find out from the CEO the top pressures he was facing from the board. There were two: 1) We were not growing, while Gartner was growing at 25% a year so they wanted to gain market share vis a vis Gartner; and 2) They felt we were way under penetrated in our enterprise accounts. I turned each of these pressures into strategic growth initiatives.

Gartner was already entrenched at all our clients. To gain market share on Gartner, my research showed that we could not replace them, we had to convince company leaders that they needed both Gartner and Forrester, or what I called “the co-exist strategy.” I knew this because Forrester’s sales reps told me that their biggest objection in the market is “We’re already spending X Millions of dollars with Gartner, why do we need a second opinion?”

Those reps could talk until they are blue in the face about why they think customers need two analyst firms, but you know who can make that point better than anyone? Our customers. So I created a Customer-Led Growth initiative. I approached executive-level clients that were relying on both Forrester and Garter to make better decisions, and asked them two questions: “What’s the incremental value that you get from Forrester above and beyond what you get from Gartner?” and “What types of initiatives do you go to Forrester rather than Gartner for help?”

I packaged up their audio and video responses on a landing page and put it in the hands of our sales reps. I told the reps, “When you get that objection, don’t try to answer it yourself, instead use this to let our customers answer it.” It was an absolute total game changer for how the company did sales and marketing. I had one rep say, “Jeff, this is the best thing I’ve ever gotten from marketing here or anywhere else I’ve ever worked, because it does the selling for me.” Who would have known that customers can be your best sales and marketing folks?

The Result:

An increase of 30% in revenue from new customer acquisition compared to the prior year.

6. Customers Drive Account Expansion & Renewal

Next, I needed to address the pressure of being under penetrated in enterprise accounts. At renewal time, companies would often reduce the number of seats, causing us to lose annual contract value. How do we reverse this? We did a little research and found out why it was that people weren’t renewing at the same levels as the previous year. It came down to three things: 1) They weren’t reading the research reports; 2) They weren’t doing analyst inquiries; and/or 3) They weren’t coming to our role-based conferences and events. Sounds like a great opportunity for a Customer-Led Growth initiative, doesn’t it?

That’s exactly what I did. I worked with the Account Managers at our largest enterprise accounts to identify the power users of Forrester’s services. Every customer has them, the folks who tap into every bit of guidance they can for help in driving their own strategic initiatives within their companies.

We asked them to tell us about the initiatives they were crushing with Forrester’s help and had them call out specific examples of where they tapped into Forrester’s services for guidance. In other words, we gave them the opportunity to brag about their proudest achievements. Then we made it drop-dead simple for them to share their stories with their colleagues in other roles and departments within their company, including a way for those colleagues to ask about accessing Forrester’s services themselves.

The Result:

We doubled the annual contract value of many large enterprise accounts which had been stagnant or declining over the previous 5 years.

These two initiatives were transformational to Forrester’s growth strategy, so I morphed these efforts into a global customer marketing and engagement program that I branded Forrester Frontlines. I invited about 3,500 customers into the program, and throughout the year we offered customers opportunities to showcase their knowledge, experience and advice in ways that shined the light on Forrester’s products and services.

Customers loved the program, but it was very labor intensive to run because there wasn’t any technology on the market to orchestrate Customer-Led Growth initiatives. That was my inspiration for starting SlapFive, to fill this gap in the market.

7. Customers Drive Product Portfolio and Packaging Shifts

One more fast-forward. I’ve launched SlapFive, and it’s taking the market by storm. One of my customers was in a situation that will likely sound familiar to you, as it happens to every company at some point. After making several acquisitions, the company found itself with a portfolio of point products. The sales team had been running some cross-sell plays so there were a good number of customers using two or three of the products.

One day the CEO announced that it was time to relaunch the company, transforming from offering a bunch of individual products, to offering a single integrated suite. As you would expect, there had been some R&D going on to create a consolidated dashboard, which they called “a piece of glass”, for giving users the impression that the products work together, but the executive team wanted the sales reps to start selling the combined value proposition of an integrated suite.

I can’t think of a better way to tackle this than to whip up a Customer-Led Growth initiative. And that’s what we did. First, we identified customers who were using two or three of the point products. We pulled them together so the strategists who were setting the technology direction for the software suite could share their vision, get feedback from those customers, and make them feel like they are part of the grand vision.

We then captured stories from those customers about the combined value they were experiencing from using multiple products together. We had those customers tell these stories on webinars, meet-ups, videos, and press pitches. The customers loved sharing because they felt like innovators who were helping the company deliver on the grand vision. And the market ate it up so much that the company was able to raise its prices based on these value stories which resulted in a big increase in average deal size.

The Result:

Commitments from 20% of their point product customers to adopt the new solution even before the ``piece of glass`` was launched.

8. Customers Drive Buyer Mindset Shifts

OK, this is the last fast-forward, I promise. Remember I mentioned I’ve done thousands of buyer interviews working with The Buyer Persona Institute (BPI)? A couple years into SlapFive, BPI became a customer, because they needed to mobilize customers to overcome the fantastically outdated thinking in the market about buyer research.

Adele Revella literally wrote the book on buyer personas, and the firm she founded delivers buyer research studies that help companies go beyond defining the stereotypical “Buyer Persona” – you know what I mean – “Jane is a 36 year old mother of 2, she works as a Marketing Manager at ABC Co. She drives a Toyota Sienna and plays Pickleball one night a week.”

BPIs studies tell you things like: What causes your customers to make solving the problem a priority, what are their desired outcomes when they set out to solve it, what perceived barriers do they encounter along the way, what decision criteria do they use, what steps do they take in their buying process, who do they trust for answers to their questions and doubts, etc.

The outdated thinking she needed to overcome was notions like: “We talk to customers all the time; we already know how and why they buy.” “We can just have our sales reps interview buyers.” “We need to interview everyone on the buying committee to get anything useful.” And “If we gather these insights, I don’t see it changing anything in our company.”

What better way to change this outdated thinking than by whipping up a Customer-Led initiative. So I interviewed eight of BPI’s clients who had long ago moved beyond these notions. I didn’t ask the traditional B.S. case study questions. I got way more surgical and simply asked one question for each notion we needed to correct. I then collected the audio responses on a “Mindset Shifting” storyboard that BPI uses on their website and sends to prospects who show indications they might be stuck in the past.

The Result:

By shifting the mindsets of skeptical buyers, BPI was able to improve their win rate and shorten the length of their sales cycles.

There you have it, eight examples of Customer-Led Growth initiatives. I could go on but this covers the breadth of market-facing challenges that companies face today.

You can do this!!

We as Customer Marketing leaders all have the skills to drive Customer-Led Growth. I’m not going to say we were born with them or that we learned them in kindergarten because that’s not true, but we’ve developed them in our careers, and we already put them to work to run our customer programs today.

How am I so sure of this? Well, in the opening session at CustomerX Con, we wake everyone up and get them jazzed by playing “CustomerX Feud”, a fun take on the classic Family Feud television gameshow. This year’s question was “Name a Superpower that you bring to your work as a Customer Marketer”.

100 Customer Marketers surveyed, survey says:

Customer Marketing Superpowers

You have all the superpowers:

  • You are relationship builders. You form alliances with your executives, as well as the leaders of the other departments who you need onboard.
  • You have empathy, both from understanding the needs of your company, as well as the needs of your customers, so that you can design these two-way exchange programs.
  • You are collaborators and connectors. You bring the right people to the table; you bring ideas to other departments.
  • You are strategic, and understand the strategic growth initiatives of your company, what’s driving them, and who’s on the hook for them.
  • You have passion, which starts with loving your customers and wanting to make their lives better
  • You have endless curiosity, not only to find out what your company needs to do, but, but what your customers want to do, what do they like to do.
  • You are results-driven. It’s all about generating results, influencing revenue, and impacting growth. Results are no longer measured in how many assets you produced or reviews you garnered.

You have all the building blocks:

When it comes to planning a Customer-Led Growth program, you’ll draw from many of the same types of program activities you’ve always done. The only things that are different are:

  • You’re doing it in a much more proactive manner, where rather than receiving requests, you plan initiatives that you take to leadership.
  • You’re doing it in a much more surgical manner, where rather than creating vanilla stories, testimonial quotes, and reviews, you’re building content and programs that target specific obstacles to and opportunities for growth.
  • You’re doing it in a much more results-driven manner, where rather than doing things to hit output quotes, you’re doing things that drive specific metrics tied to the growth initiatives.
  • You’re doing it in a much more visible manner, where rather than plugging away hoping your output impresses people, you’re front and center with your company’s leadership team receiving accolades and promotions.

Nothing is stopping you. The question is: Are you going to step up and drive Customer-Led Growth for your organization, or are you going to let your replacement do it?