Debbie Ng runs global customer references at Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity. She joins Pierce to talk about customer marketing, how to get it right, and the importance of building value for the customers she engages with. The biggest learning in this episode? There are three foundational elements that need to be in place before you approach a customer about being a reference.
In this episode, you’ll also learn:
1) Why customer marketing is so important
2) How to turn a customer into a champion for your brand
3) What the future of customer marketing could look like
One of the biggest learnings that Debbie Ng has gathered over the course of her career is the value of keeping your network alive and being appreciative of the people that have helped you move forward. It’s a learning that has shaped her role as a global customer references lead, which relies so much on building valuable relationships with her customers at Trend Micro.
In her conversation with Pierce, Debbie discusses the value of having a customer reference program. It opens the door to bringing in authentic voices that talk about what they like about your product, how it’s benefited them, and what others might also benefit from. But the only way you can access these authentic voices is by building trusting relationships that deliver value to your customers.
“At the base of everything, it is all about relationships and the trust that you build between yourself and that customer. Trust is the most important thing.”
That said, before you can reach out to a customer and ask them to become a reference, there are three foundational elements that need to be in place first. The relationship with sales or their account manager has to be in good shape. They have to be using your product or solution in a comprehensive way – not just on a surface level – and have a good understanding of where you’re going next with the product. And they need to have easy access to your support team if they have an issue. Once these three things are in place, then the relationship is primed for customer marketers to step in.
The other important part of customer marketing is delivering value to the customer. If you’re going to ask someone for their time and feedback, you need to be prepared to offer them something of value in return. For some of Debbie’s customers, this has meant giving them a speaking opportunity, getting them access to the product team so that they can share direct feedback, or sharing insights on what Trend Micro’s product roadmap looks like. It’s important to tailor the offering to the individual you’re working with – as that will encourage them to keep working with you.
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If you have any feedback, or want to chat, feel free to reach out to Pierce on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @marketing_101.