Customer Marketing: The New Growth Opportunity

26th April 2023

Businesses who embrace customer quality will be the ones who win. Find out how & why customer marketing is essential for your 2023 B2B marketing strategy.

What’s the connection between interest rates, sustainable growth, and a comedy sketch from 1976? Well, at The Marketing Practice's Sales & Marketing Forum in April, they all helped to explain how customer marketing is becoming the new growth battleground.  

An audience of invited guests came to London’s Soho Hotel, to relax, network and hear from some fantastic speakers. 

First up was David van Schaick, The Marketing Practice's CMO, and Ali Hussain, our Senior VP of Strategy. They set the scene for the evening by talking about the effect economic change has had on many accepted ways of doing business.  

In short, the era of free money is over.  

At the end of April 2022, the Bank of England base rate was on the move – having risen to 0.75%. Today, it is 4.25%. It’s a similar story in the US. Investors’ priorities have changed and growth-at-all-costs is out. Instead, the focus must be on achieving sustainable growth. 

If the land-grab mentality that has characterised so much of the tech sectors recent attitude toward growth is no longer viable, it’s time to put your efforts into growing your existing customers. While that might sound like stating the obvious, getting it right can be anything but. 

Businesses who embrace customer quality will be the ones who win 

When TMP asked senior marketers about how they are responding to the shift in the economy, the most common response was putting more emphasis on growing their existing customer accounts. 

We were joined on stage by John Watton, VMware’s EMEA VP of Marketing, who picked up on that thread and added a note of caution to it. There’s a trap a lot of marketing professionals fall into, he warned – believing that you need to educate all your customers about everything you sell. In reality, you don’t need to do that. 

That’s because not every customer wants to go on a journey with you, he added. After all, some just want to buy the things they know they need. And that should be perfectly ok. 

Focusing on user adoption and customer engagement can lead to a much stronger financial performance. But getting there requires you to select the right customers to target and to build the right teams to target them. Oh, and it really helps if you have a customer advocate as well. 

The age of imagination 

The evening’s final speakers were Annelie Kniep, Senior Marketing Manager at Splunk, and her colleague, Gaurav Gupta, Splunk’s Retail Industry Expert. 

They talked about the creation of the Splunk Immersive Experience (SIE) and how it is reshaping their customer sales and marketing efforts. The SIE is a physical environment at Splunk’s London HQ, where customers – and prospects – can see how their business and their processes could be dramatically improved. 

Annelie Kniep explained that Splunk wanted to establish a greater focus on more strategic engagement within key accounts. More importantly, she added, to also develop more executive engagement within those accounts. The SIE is a major part of that, and something the team at TMP has been proud to be part of since its inception. 

Gaurav Gupta described the SIE as an attempt to show customers a day in life of their call centre agents, their logistics partners, their website – and the end customer, of course. A lot of people are doing the right things in their businesses, he explained, but siloed systems and data are holding them back. It’s not until they can see how everything is connected that appreciate the ripple effect of a problem from one part of their business. 

The evening concluded with a Q&A session that saw many of the audience chiming in to ask about the topics that had been covered – that was followed by a chance for everyone to mix, network and share their thoughts more informally. 

Customer-centricity, comedy and collaboration 

Many businesses truly believe they always put their customers first. But taking that further and orchestrating around your customers is an important next step to consider. When all your teams, processes and resources are aligned to the needs of your customer, from sales and marketing through to customer adoption and executive engagement, everything can change. You don’t just grow a customer account. You grow a whole new outlook for your business, too. 

If you’ve read this far you may be wondering what the reference to the 1976 sketch was all about. And that would be a reasonable thing to wonder. So, please enjoy this clip of Eric Morecombe and Ernie Wise co-creating breakfast in a seamless display of collaboration. 


If you want to be invited to our next Sales & Marketing forum make sure you're signed up to our newsletter.


Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news and events