Customer Marketing Ideas: Tami Monahan Forman of Return Path
“When done well, customer marketing benefits everyone.”
For most organizations new customers represent less than 20 percent of total revenue, while existing customers drive the remaining 80 percent. So why aren’t more companies focused on customer marketing? To help drive focus on customer marketing, we connected with several leading practitioners and picked their brains on how to hire and lead customer marketing efforts. Check out the previous interviews here.
Here’s more about Tami: Tami Monahan Forman is the VP of Corporate Marketing &
Communications at Return Path. She is in charge of internal and external messaging strategy, including public relations and content development. She began her Return Path tenure as Director of Strategic Services. In this capacity she helped companies increase their success with email marketing. Key clients included Lillian Vernon, Polo.com, Kimberly-Clark, and the AMA. She also co-authored the book “Sign Me Up! A Marketer’s Guide To Email Newsletters that Build Relationships and Boost Sales” Prior to joining Return Path she was the editor of News Corp’s SmartSource.com where she revamped their weekly email newsletter and increased the open rates six-fold and created Coupon Alerts — a new email format that saw open rates in excess of 20% and click-through rates of 70%. Before that she spent three years at iVillage.com, the web’s premier site for women where she increased traffic to the site’s food channel by more than 100%.
If you were to hire someone to join or lead your customer marketing team, what skills would be the top of your list and why?
I look for a few basic skills for ANYONE I hire in marketing: great writing, attention to detail, ability to analyze data and use it to tell a compelling story. Those are all crucial to success in customer marketing. Someone who understands the industry we are in and can get inside the mind and motivations of the buyer. Someone who’s come out of the client service organization can be ideal, as long as they are willing to do the work to reorient their thinking from serving a few clients to serving the business. But the experience of working directly with and for our clients is hard to beat, all other things being equal.
Some believe that customer success is the new marketing. How do you see customer success and customer advocacy/marketing working together?
They are intrinsically linked. Customer success is about making the customer the hero. Customer marketing is about publicizing those hero stories – in part to inspire other clients to achieve new heights. When done well, customer marketing benefits everyone – customers within the advocacy program have opportunities to connect with each other and advance their careers, other clients learn tools and techniques to advance their businesses, the internal team sees the good work we collectively do for clients and feel pride in it. And, ultimately, we can use those stories as evidence to marketplace that our products and services deliver on their promise. That’s a pretty big impact for what is, in many companies, a pretty modest investment.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our new ebook pulling together all of these insights from our participants!