Reducing churn through customer advocacy with Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy at Adobe

Customer advocacy empowers existing customers to get involved, stay loyal and promote your products. This can help reduce churn, improve product and build brand loyalty as customers become proud of your products and proud to be customers.

On this episode of the FINITE Podcast for B2B tech marketers, Alex sat down with Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy at Adobe. Kevin told us about his role at Adobe and how he uses customer advocacy programmes to boost the Adobe brand and increase retention.

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Full Transcript

Alex (00:07):

Hello everyone and welcome back to the FINITE Podcast. Today we’re talking customer marketing and in particular customer advocacy with Kevin Lau. Kevin is the Global Head of Customer Advocacy at Adobe within the digital experience side of the business. 

Now I’ll admit that customer marketing generally is an area of the marketing world I’m fairly ignorant about. I’m an acquisition marketer, websites, UX, SEO, PPC, so customer marketing is a little bit out of my comfort zone. But that’s why I’m looking forward to talking with Kevin, hearing all about his experiences and insights. Enjoy!

FINITE (00:41):

The FINITE community and podcast are kindly supported by 93x, the digital marketing agency working exclusively with ambitious fast growth B2B technology companies. Visit to find out how they partner with marketing teams in B2B technology companies to drive growth.

Alex (01:03):

Hey Kevin, thanks for joining me today.

Kevin (01:05):

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Alex (01:06):

Looking forward to talking. We’re talking all things customer advocacy. I just said to you before we started recording, this is an area of the marketing world in which I feel like I’m pretty ignorant. I’m a pure digital, website, UX, top of funnel, acquisition guy I guess. 

And so this is an area that I feel like I need to think more about, and I’m looking forward to hearing your insights all about, because I know this is your thing. But before we dive into that, I’m going to let you tell us a bit about yourself, your current role and experiences so far, and then we’ll dive into the subject.

About Kevin and his background in B2B marketing 

Kevin (01:39):

Sure. Well, first of all thanks again for the opportunity. So my name is Kevin Lau. I lead the customer advocacy team within Adobe’s digital experience business. I’ve been at Adobe now for a little bit over four years based in Silicon Valley, specifically around the Bay area. And as you can kind of see from the back of my room, I’m a big fan of all things Marvel and Star Wars and whatnot.

Alex (02:06):

Awesome. And tell us a little bit about that side of Adobe business, because obviously I think everybody will know Adobe but there’s all these different business units and different things that you do. Tell us a little bit about specifically what this side of the business unit looks after.

Kevin (02:19):

I would say most folks are very familiar with Adobe’s consumer facing business. So things around creative cloud, Photoshop, InDesign, those creative solutions. What the experience business or experience cloud business is all about is really enterprise level solutions that help businesses transform the organisations or digital maturity, I should say. 

So things around analytics, Marketo sits within that business. We recently just acquired Workfront. And so we’re building the platform to help marketers transform their businesses digitally. And I think a lot of that has definitely changed over the past 12 say 12 to 16 months ever since COVID. But yeah, a lot of great things that have been happening.

Alex (03:04):

Awesome. And so we’re going to be talking all about customer advocacy and what it means and what you do day to day. But just give us a little sense of your team and who you’re working with most regularly and more day to day.

About customer advocacy at Adobe

Kevin (03:14):

So high level, I guess you can think of customer advocacy as an area of focus that is relatively new within the marketing or B2B space. But essentially our mandate is to influence the post-sale, post-customer journey experience. And our team is broken up as two areas where we’re focused on customer retention, which is really around value realisation, making sure our customers are highly adopted and they see value from the solutions that they purchase. 

And then customer advocacy, which is how do we turn our customers into raving fans of Adobe? So how do we look to see about spalling their successes publicly? How do we showcase them on all of our digital channels from to micro-sites to some of our community pages, et cetera. 

And so what my team is primarily focused on is our programs around customer awards, which we call the experience maker awards. We also have a very strong and thriving community around our online forums. We also have our Adobe user groups and those are chapters we have globally in different regions. And then we also have elite programs designed for different types of practitioners. 

So we call them Adobe champions, but essentially it’s folks that are in the weeds using our solutions, innovating with them. And they provide that inside out critical product feedback, as well as giving us a great library of user generated content that we leverage across our campaigns and programs.

Alex (04:47):

Awesome. Well, that’s a pretty good summary. I guess the title that we picked for the episode was reducing churn with customer advocacy, but I felt like actually that doesn’t really quite do it justice in terms of the impact that customer advocacy can have on a business. 

I think you’ve done a pretty good job of explaining what it is to some extent and the day-to-day in people’s minds. We’ve got customer advocacy, customer marketing, there’s the wider marketing team. How does it fit into or differ from customer marketing, but then fit into the wider marketing team and function?

Kevin (05:19):

Yeah, it’s a good question. And I think there is sort of this space. We want to think of it as customer experience, which is sort of the buzzword that we’re hearing more and more. It tends to be a blend between sales, customer success, marketing support. 

But essentially when we think about customer experience, Adobe is really known for how do we create exceptional customer experiences from a digital standpoint. And so we’re looking at how do we really influence that post-sale journey from start to finish from the time that they have that on boarding experience to the time a customer goes through a renewal conversation. So there’s different touch points along that journey and a customer advocacy lens. 

We sit within customer marketing. So customer marketing is probably more of a broader term that most people I think understand, but from there we have that specialisation between adoption, which is really about building some of those programs to drive maturity that I mentioned, and then from an advocacy lens to drive community and essentially build those raving fans.

Alex (06:21):

Awesome. I guess a question that pops into my head is around like size of business that can really focus on customer because I think that listeners to the podcast and within our FINITE community, everything from probably 20 person startup that’s just raised a series A or something, through to like IBM’s and SAP’s and Adobe’s and similar. 

You’ve obviously got extensive resources and big teams across all different parts of the business. Is customer advocacy something that only businesses of a certain size and scale you feel can really look out or afford to do? I feel like smaller businesses are so focused on acquisition, but actually when the acquisition might be going out the door because they’re not working on advocacy, do you think there’s a… 

It’s a hard question to answer to some extent, but is there like a certain size, scale, bracket? Or another way of asking the question is like, is there a way of being serious about customer advocacy? Even if you are just a marketing team of like two or three people?

Can small marketing team’s do customer advocacy? 

Kevin (07:19):

It’s a good question because I’ve been in organisations where the customer function or the customer marketer, it tends to be one person that does multiple things. Everything from managing a user conference to helping to develop customer stories for their website, to dealing with customer references for the sales team. 

I think from a maturity standpoint, when you’re thinking about marketing organisations to your point earlier, most companies tend to focus on hiring their first demand gen leader team. And then they usually go into a product market fit to find, how do we tell our solution story? But I think I’ve seen customer marketers sit within demand gen. I’ve seen them sit within product marketing. 

I think it really just depends on what are the needs of the business at that moment. I think also the one silver lining with everything that’s happened with this pandemic is that a lot of organisations have taken for granted customer retention. And they assume that the customer success organisation is going to manage that and deal with building the relationship with the customer, taking care of the conversation, dealing with the up-sell/cross sell. 

And usually it sets them up to fail because no CSM or the CSM leader can take on scaling this from managing let’s say 50 to a hundred accounts and then adding more to their plate on building the relationship. And so I guess if you want to think of customer marketers as, where it would fit in terms of the maturity curve of an organisation, I think it depends on if the organisation is focused on how do we invest more in the customer so that we don’t experience churn? And then it needs to be top of mind for the company. 

Oftentimes too, I think a customer marketer gets siloed into more of a service-based function where it’s simply, they’re taking orders from sales as far as, how can we help accelerate a deal progression? How can we get more case studies on a website? But there’s so much more that you could do from a retention standpoint to drive both new business as well as customer retention efforts.

Alex (09:25):

And that kind of leads onto the next question I was going to ask around reducing churn and looking at retention versus growth. And are we kind of assuming that if customer advocacy works well you’re naturally doing both or is there like a conscious weighting towards one or the other?

Does customer advocacy help with retention or growth? 

Kevin (09:39):

Yeah. I think there’s, and we could probably talk hours about this topic, but honestly I think if it’s a well-run organisation and obviously there are challenges across the board as far as what does that journey look like? And what does the handoff experience look like from the time the seller is working through the contract negotiations to the time it gets passed on to a customer success function. 

And then what does that on boarding experience look like? And what do those touch points and experiences look like to the time that they have that upsell conversation for the renewal? So I think it tends to be a very delicate balance, right? Because I think there’s multiple stakeholders that you need to have a very good relationship with in order to make sure that a seamless process is a well oiled machine internally for the customer to have that good experience at the end of the day. 

And so I think it requires a good understanding of the sales teams. Understand what is the value prop with buying the solution or what is the value prop the customer has when they buy your solution? And what does that post-sale experience look like? Because oftentimes I think sellers get caught up with closing the deal, passing it on and then moving to the next thing. 

But I think there’s also, what’s helpful in that process is that if you have sellers, we call NAMS or named account managers where they have two areas of function. It’s one where they’re dealing with the hunting and gathering, but then they’re also responsible for ensuring that those customers are ripe to want to expand in the future. 

So I think there’s like a dual relationship that sales needs to play as well as customer success, having a role in terms of building that relationship and not just focused on the renewal conversation. And then I think from a customer marketing standpoint, we can provide additional value by helping to build those relationships both within the sales organisation and customer success to ensure we’re all on the same page. 

Alex (11:41):

I was going to ask about that difference between sales because I guess in my mind it’s more acquisition focused. Marketers are regularly talking to sales about lead quality and getting feedback and feeding that back in. Is there a similar analogy to be drawn? I guess you mentioned sales, but also more on the customer success side in terms of hearing customer pain points and hearing why customers are not renewing and that shaping a lot of your activity.

How customer marketers can work with sales 

Kevin (12:05):

I would say it’s just as challenging. What most people hear most of the time is around what is the sales and marketing relationship and how do we make it better from a handoff standpoint so that sales gets credited, marketing gets credited, et cetera. 

But I think from a post-sale journey perspective where customer marketers add the most value is we’re very stitched really tied into the customer success function. And we almost see ourselves as sort of like just as demand marketers are sort of the arm for the sales teams, customer marketers are kind of the marketing arm for the customer success organisation. That’s probably the easiest way to kind of think about it from that perspective. 

And where we try to get involved is we look at customer success teams and I’m speaking more generally, but I think a lot of them care about number one, they want to reduce churn. They want to make sure that there’s not a decrease in the account overall size of those customers. And so they want to make sure that they’re constantly expanding and growing and they’re buying new solutions down the road, but in order to hit that level, they need to understand where customers have to have a deeper level of maturity. They need to know that they’re actually using the solutions. 

And so we have things around product adoption score that we look at, and that measures different data points around usage. And just to make sure that the account is healthy, we look at things around like Gainsight, which measures account temperature and propensities around churn that we can reduce if we’re able to influence that. 

And then we also look at the relationship building aspect, which sometimes is hard to quantify because it ultimately is dependent on what level of relationship you have with that customer. Are we updating the proper notes or are the teams internally aware of how we wrap our hands around these customers to prevent churn overall? 

And how do we look at not just the next quarter, but how do we look at six to 12 months down the road to see if there are indications of churn that we can potentially prevent. And so there’s some tools that we’re using right now that are actually really insightful to kind of help us. We use things around from a peer review standpoint. 

If you’re familiar with G2 and TrustRadius, they have intent data that we can look at as signals. Most demand gen marketers use it for assuming that a lead is getting warmer. We use it in a different way, so we can assess an account looking at other other solutions or looking at competitive intelligence signs? So this is one example.

Alex (14:46):

That’s pretty cool. I hadn’t thought about using intent data and that kind of thing in that way. I don’t know how you found that over the last year or so, but with COVID and the quality of like firmographics and databases and stuff, I don’t know whether that’s still been working as accurately or do you feel like it’s kind of gone downhill a bit?

Kevin (15:04):

I try to look at it with a grain of salt, that it’s not a hundred percent accurate. But at least it will give us some indication on an account. It’s hard to tell if it’s the right persona that’s looking at the data because it could be someone in the finance department that’s looking, it could be their VP of demand gen. 

We have no idea necessarily. And so I look at it as this one data point to add to the mix of everything else that potentially could indicate churn or indications that something might be at risk.

Alex (15:37):

Yeah. That’s pretty cool. And so if you saw that data point, what’s the process? Is that something that you feed into like campaigns or messaging? Or does it go on to customer success or their account manager to reach out and check in with them? What happens next?

How to use intent data for customer advocacy 

Kevin (15:54):

Yeah. I think we try to, similar to how sales tries to diagnose win loss reports or analysis. We do a similar approach as far as how can we wrap our hands around the customer to ensure we understand what is the real root cause of the issue. So we work with our support teams, customer success, sales and marketing, to some extent as well. 

But essentially understanding what are the things that we don’t know or things that are not being said that are visible or widely visible. And so from an advocate standpoint, I think that’s where it’s really helpful to understand. We look at the life cycle that a customer has as they go from job to job. 

So typically the average marketer will stay at their current role for about two years, 18 to 24 months until they find that next progression. And so what’s helpful, and I think this is also a reason why you can build a case around the building of an advocate function, or customer marketing function in an organisation. With things happening like socioeconomic challenges and global crises, you start to see movement across the board. 

And these are the things that we don’t account for, but usually when a customer leaves their account, usually that account is typically at risk. If there’s not another advocate or another relationship or champion that can manage that tech stack or that solution, whatever it is you’re selling. 

And so we look at those indications as far as like, if we built that relationship with that customer, they’ll usually tell us ahead of time, like I’m looking for another job or I’m about to make another move. And this happens all the time, regardless of what period of time you’re looking at throughout the year. But those indications are really helpful because oftentimes we know about them before the account teams do or even before anyone else in the organisation is aware of it. 

And so even if it’s from a practitioner standpoint or a mid-level manager, or even a VP, when you build those relationships, those inherent conversations, they’re more likely to tell us things that they would tell their friends and family than they are their account teams, especially when renewal conversations are taking place. So that’s one of the things that is really nice to have. I would say it’s like reading between the lines as far as what’s going on with an account overall.

Alex (18:15):

Awesome. So we’ve talked a bit about reducing churn, keeping customers going. What about the growth of accounts? I mean, account-based marketing is a big trend and that was, I think people talk about that now a lot more from an acquisition angle rather than growth angle. 

Because I think a lot of ABM purists would say ABM was created to grow accounts that you’ve already got rather than to acquire new accounts. But I don’t know whether you follow that approach within Adobe generally, but in terms of campaigns and influencing larger growth, can you give us a sense of how that looks? 

How customer advocacy can boost growth with ABM 

Kevin (18:50):

Yeah. I mean, we definitely have an approach for ABM. We even have an account-based marketing center of excellence. I guess you can call it within our demand gen function. And so from a sales motion perspective, we definitely have that built in, and what are the accounts that we need to build strategically and build those relationships with. 

I think from a customer marketing lens, we’ve also got to approach it in a similar fashion, maybe not in the same nitty-gritty standards that a demand gen team looks at. Because they have a number that they’re trying to hit. Our number is more loosely defined around how we protect the customer and customer churn, customer satisfaction overall. 

So our numbers are attached to how do we influence reducing churn for the organisation? And it tends to be 75% of the income or the revenue for the business is from protecting customer accounts versus 25% is more loosely towards the new business. And so the way that we focus on that is we ensure that we have built out what we call an advocate score. And the average score, similar to how lead scoring works, we look at what’s the propensity an account is likely to become an advocate? 

One of the different touch points that a customer is doing across their journey, whether it’s attending a webinar or attending user groups, speaking at an event, et cetera. And so those give us indications as far as if we look at the whole spectrum of customers from the small, medium sized businesses to the enterprise organisations, where are the accounts that are most leaning in? 

And where do we need to kind of focus our attention or energy? And what are the programs specifically? Whether it’s user groups or community based programs or our awards programs, what are the programs that are driving the most impact for the organisation and where do we need to double down? So it encompasses a little bit that ABM that you mentioned.

Alex (20:46):

Awesome. I guess another interesting interface internally and structurally is on the product side in terms of, again I know you’re a big organisation, but just what you do play into the product team and driving product maturity. And I guess you’re close to customers, right? So I guess there’s some really useful insights there.

How does customer advocacy impact product? 

Kevin (21:04):

Yeah, definitely. I think the nice thing is we sit at this nexus between all these organisations or all these teams. I should say that I mentioned that earlier. And so everyone is clamouring to find out what it is that customers are thinking about our solution, about our technology. 

Just acquisitions in general too, because I came from the Marketo acquisition about two years ago. And so the sentiment that customers have, especially when they’re thinking about different solutions that they could buy or they need to reinvest in this or whatnot. 

The general consensus is when movement and acquisitions do happen, there is the uncertainty that the product is going to continue to be invested in. Are there going to be new developments going forward or is it going to be eventually going to get absorbed into something else? And then will we no longer see it? And so customer feedback for us is huge. 

So we look at everything from NPS scores, which is generally the first metric that most companies look at. But even at a deeper level, we make sure that our advocates or our customers are very closely attached to our product teams. And so from a go-to market perspective, from a beta testing, we have an alpha and beta team and a feedback panel that we leverage. And so we look at all these different touch points. 

And of course, we also take into consideration the type of customer. Is it a more strategic account versus a one that may not be as important? But we look at all kinds of feedback in general and we try to have that very critical outside in perspective versus some teams I think historically have been very like, we think that a customer would want this type of solution or they want this to have a feature and they will be willing to pay more, but sometimes it’s not really the case. 

And so we try to ensure that we do have sort of that feedback loop that’s available across the organisation. So they understand from all levels that these are really what customers are thinking about. We even give access to some of our champions, sort of a sandbox that they could play with. And that gives them an opportunity to really understand what is possible and moving the technology forward and what are the things we may not even be thinking about to make the product even better. 

So for sure, product feedback is key to that. We also look at it from different levels of the organisation. So from a practitioner standpoint that’s obviously great, but sometimes you find from a retention standpoint, there’s a disconnect between the practitioner and the executive stakeholders. 

And so we have what we call a customer advisory board or executive advisory board, and that’s comprised of our strategic customers at the VP/CMO level to help influence those, to make sure that we’re as closely stitched with what that persona or what that audience is thinking about. And then also understanding what the customer from a practitioner lens is looking at too.

Alex (23:52):

I love that. And I think customer advisory boards are something that I’ve heard a few marketers talk about. Going back to can smaller businesses do this, I think setting up a customer advisory board is quite easy, right? Like it takes the time commitment to meet once a month, even once a quarter, but it is a great way of getting buy in from customers, making them feel like they’re shaping your future and have direct feedback to the people that matter. I think that’s a great initiative.

Kevin (24:18):

Yeah. Oftentimes it is definitely a lift because there’s logistical things you have to manage to get a CAB built up. But I think the ROI you get, especially from an executive level standpoint internally is amazing. And so I’ve seen it work very successfully with like maybe partnering with your field marketing organisation, partnering with your product teams, your product marketing organisation to find out what is it that you want specifically from this board and how can you get your CEO and your CMO and your sales leaders involved in it? 

Because I think that’s where the real value is when your customers can get to know your executives, that’s when they start to build those relationships and then it becomes more sticky at the end of the day. That’s exactly what our team does. It’s like, how do we create more stickiness to prevent churn and drive more value for the business?

Alex (25:07):

You talked a bit already about this process of discovering advocates and you have an advocate school. I think one thing that I’m learning is actually that this is a lot more data-driven than I was expecting in terms of the advocacy side. And maybe that’s partly the nature of your world and Marketo. And there’s a lot of tech that you have access to, which I guess is an advantage, but are there any other ways that you go about discovering advocates? 

An advocate is an individual, but are you looking at this at an account level and then individuals within that account? And is there a way in which you say, okay this person has an account, there’s a team of 20 people. How do you pick the one that you think is the person that you make or try to turn into the biggest advocate?

How to find advocates 

Kevin (25:48):

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s sort of a process. To your point about data-driven marketers, I think historically folks within customer marketing, it hasn’t always been that way because oftentimes I think they get pigeonholed into a program where it tends to be more relationship focused. 

And so to quantify even what we just talked about, like CAB, it may be more difficult to do so because you don’t actually have direct technologies that come into play because you’re not necessarily sending a Marketo email to those customers because it’s more high touch and you can’t use the same types of tactics that would work for more of like a general population of prospects.

And so relationship building historically has been more sort of like fuzzy numbers. We’ll just put it that way. But I think as customer marketers have tried to focus on how do we prove our ROI at the end of the day, they’ve had to adopt a demand gen mentality around lead scoring and how do we drive the pipeline forward and whatnot. 

And so I think you’re going to start to see more of a trend in that direction and also sort of like a discipline around how do we uncover some of that data at the end of the day too? So I think that’s a moving piece. And sorry, can you repeat the second part of your question that you asked me?

Alex (27:07):

Yeah, it was more about discovering advocates and whether that’s account level, persona level or individual level, I should say. And how do you spot the person that you think really is the person? I think you’ve touched on it, but if there’s anything else to add, that would be interesting to hear.

Kevin (27:24):

Yeah. I think ultimately there are sort of like, just as there’s buying signals, I think there’s also relationship signals that come into play too. 

So just give you a typical example, if a user or a customer goes to a user group and they start to attend these meetings and we typically have them once a quarter, as you start to see their progression, maybe they attend a meeting, they bring a friend, they start to involve their team more closely. They ask to speak at some of our events, there’s indications that you’ll start to see where customers lean in more and they start to tell us they want to become an advocate for us. 

And it’s less about trying to win their favour by giving them swag and stuff like that. But it’s more just as they start to use technology more and they start to want to be more involved and say, can I speak at this event? Can I apply for this program, apply for this award? Can I win these types of things? Those are some indications. We look at this to see if they’re an advocate. 

So it’s less of a this account has 50 users, let’s pick this person because he’s a VP of marketing there. Of course we want to build those relationships, but I think it’s more based on the person’s propensity to want to lean in with us. And we try to create those opportunities to facilitate that. So it’s less of us trying to force it on them and more of them trying to just kind of pick what they want to do.

Alex (28:52):

This is something that has popped into my head, kind of jogged my memory from seeing on LinkedIn today, a couple of people sharing their certifications of using products. Is that something that falls under your remit with Adobe, because I keep seeing even more and more simple tools, like I think I saw

They’re like the project management tool and Wrike and some tools. It was a sense of pride that you saw from people sharing this certificate saying I am a certified user or something that really, I was like, wow, these people are really proud users and want to share that openly.

Building a sense of pride amongst customers 

Kevin (29:27):

I think one of the great things that was part of Marketo’s DNA, and I think that’s one of the main reasons why Adobe acquired Marketo at the end of the day was there’s such a raving fan base. And a lot of our customers over the past 10, 12 years, since Marketo was created, they identify themselves as they were able to build their career or their profession with Marketo. 

And so they almost feel like they want to give back and they owe sort of a sense of their upbringing too, and their career to building this foundation within the marketing operations space. And so we have this huge customer base that thinks having a Marketo certification is huge for their career building. 

And even if you just do a search on the words Marketo champion, you’re going to find hundreds of posts of people that put this in their LinkedIn profile. That attributes that they’ve been a Marketo certified expert, which is what we call our MC exam. And then also this title around Marketo champion, because it’s a status symbol that shows I know Marketo inside and out and I’m a huge advocate. 

And essentially it’s like to hiring managers hire me because I know what I’m doing. And so that’s one of the great things that we have where our team doesn’t necessarily own the certification program, but we work very closely with our certification team and they do certification for all the other Adobe solutions. 

I think there’s about seven eight of them out there. And so we actually partnered with them to pick customers to build out the certification questions. And so there’s that direct connection and some of our customers that are even well more versed in how they use the technology, they actually educate our internal teams on how to use it and how to create exam questions and whatnot. So it’s also pretty great to see that.

Alex (31:18):

You talked throughout the conversation already about some of the things that you measure and some of the numbers. And as I said, I think my big takeaway from this is there’s a lot more measurement happening. And as you said, customer marketing used to be, and that was maybe my perception was, fuzzy numbers and not so much measurement to be done. But if you had to sum up, one of the final questions I’ve got for you is just how do you measure customer advocacy programs? What are the headline numbers that just wrap up everything that you do?

How to measure customer advocacy programmes 

Kevin (31:46):

We look at it across a spectrum of things. So one aspect we look at, as I mentioned, is product adoption maturity to see if that’s directly related to reducing churn and give syndications that a customer is not as adopted as they should be through the process.

Alex (32:06):

And that’s literally like if you’re using more features in Marketo, you are more adopted? That’s a signal that you’re more bought into the software?

Kevin (32:16):

It comes down to, we use Pendo as one of our technologies to create user guides within the technology itself. And so we can directly see the likelihood a customer is, if they’re going through some of our nurture programs and they say within 30 days or within 60 days, these are the things or the actions that our customers should be knowing and taking, in order to assess that they’re building a strong foundation with using our technology. 

And so those types of things, as well as feature functionality usage, we’ll look at how often they’re in the technology and whatnot, it’s all those things that come into play from an adoption standpoint. But from an advocacy standpoint, we look at number one, we look at it sort of like our growth and the number of advocates over time and which of the programs. 

We run about seven to eight different programs to date. Which are the ones that are driving the most programmatic impact for the business? And then as I mentioned earlier, it’s like how do we double down on those? And we’re having an approach where, as I mentioned, there’s like seven, eight different products or solutions within Adobe experience cloud. We’re tackling probably two or three at the moment. 

And so we’re looking at how do we build a blueprint of what we’ve already done and how do we replicate that across the business to continue to drive success for the organisation? So from a measurement standpoint, we have to kind of make sure what are those programs that are successful, that we need to invest more into, and which are the ones that we need to ultimately sunset if they’re not working. 

So we look at it from an account level perspective, which are the customers that are driving more impact for the business, which are more strategic of course. And then how do we invest more in those?

Alex (33:56):

Awesome. Well, we’re nearly there. I guess as a last question, I was just going to ask you about what you think the future of customer advocacy, customer marketing looks like? You’ve talked a little bit already about how you think the trend is that things are becoming much more data-driven naturally, and we’ve talked a lot about that, but anything else to wrap up? Anything else that you think you’re particularly excited about within this world?

Kevin (34:16):

Yeah, I think the potential is huge. Even just looking at some of the SiriusDecisions reports that they shared out more recently, they’re talking about how 2021 is the year of the customer marketer. And there’s a lot of increased energy and excitement around that and how to drive more business impact and why customer companies should be investing in this. 

But I think if you look at it as a complete holistic life cycle journey, I think the trend is really around, how do you create advocates for life or customers for life at the end of the sentence? So we’re looking at almost two from an early phase, like how do we influence job markets and how do we influence? Someone goes through college and the university studying, most of those people don’t go through any type of real vocational learning that they can apply directly into the job world. 

And so we’re looking at how we look at skill building and how do we build those foundational understanding of how to use technologies? And then it gets them to the point where they’re ready for a job they can take on some of these roles and then helps to fill sort of the qualification and certification. 

All the other things we kind of just discussed and then all the post sale journey things around how to engage customers. So I think if I were to look at the next evolution, the next five to 10 years, I think it’s being able to wrap their hands around the entire life cycle and how we can drive maturity and organisational health within the customer base?

Alex (35:44):

Awesome, well it’s been great talking with you, Kevin. I think it’s given me lots to think about. And as I say, I think someone that came into this conversation pretty ignorant on everything customer marketing, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much data and insight there is going on with everything that you’re doing. So it’s pretty cool to hear. So a massive thank you for joining me again.

Kevin (36:03):

Sure. Thanks Alex, I appreciate it.

FINITE (36:06):

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