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Zapier's Customer Marketing Strategy

June 10, 2024

tl;dr: Join Zapier's Head of Customer and Community Marketing, Carly Moulton, as she unveils the intricacies of Zapier's innovative approach to customer engagement. Delve into the pillars of their strategy and discover how Zapier fosters community and advocacy online and offline.

Carly talks about:

  • Zapier's new customer and community marketing team.
  • Creative offline and online community-building initiatives.
  • Harnessing customer stories to amplify brand advocacy.
  • Lessons learned from experimental endeavors
  • Implementing structured phases to measure program success.


Angela, Laudable: You're the head of customer and community marketing at Zapier. What do those programs look like?

Carly, Zapier: The team is relatively new, formed late last year to make magic happen for our customers. We do this through three pillars: online, offline, and customer advocacy. Online, we focus on teaching people how to use AI for work, as many aren't aware of its potential beyond fun personal uses. Offline, we have employees worldwide host casual, location-based meetups to connect with customers. Lastly, our advocacy pillar involves customers spreading the word about Zapier. We'll also be adding social media to our efforts soon.

Angela, Laudable: Tell us more about the advocacy pillar and what you’ve found works best.

Carly, Zapier: The advocacy pillar has grown significantly, and all three pillars work well together, creating a customer-love flywheel. For example, we hosted an employee-led meetup in our Wizards Guild online community. During the kickoff call, a member, Jan, volunteered to host a customer-led meetup. We co-hosted with him, and 40 attendees participated in a hackathon, creating AI automations and pitching them. This generated valuable content for advocacy, usable in social media, sales collateral, and events like our annual conference and retreat. This continuous engagement expands our pool of advocates.

Angela, Laudable: You have customer stories that incorporate Zap templates. Tell me more about those and what you’ve learned.

Carly, Zapier: The customer stories are fascinating because Zapier's diverse user base presents both opportunities and challenges for marketing. With connections to 6,000 apps, creating relatable templates is key. Seeing incredible workflows with unfamiliar apps can be daunting, so we embed these workflows in customer stories to help users envision their own applications. Customers constantly surprise us with unique uses of the product, showcasing the creativity and versatility of Zapier. It’s always exciting to discover new and unexpected ways people use our tools.

Angela, Laudable: Have you tried anything that didn’t work out as planned?

Carly, Zapier: We tried launching a podcast, thinking we could add something new to the crowded business podcast space by focusing on our customers' stories instead of Zapier itself. We featured the Georgia Innocence Project, which uses Zapier extensively. While their operations are interesting, we chose to spotlight one of their cases, collaborating with a podcast agency to create "The 4%," available on major streaming platforms.

Despite the podcast's quality, distribution was challenging. We promoted it with ads and across our channels, but it struggled to find an audience outside established podcast listeners. Ultimately, we decided not to pursue a second season or feature another customer due to insufficient ROI, learning from the experience and retiring the project.

Angela, Laudable: Is there anything new or speculative you’re excited to try this year within customer community?

Carly, Zapier: We're launching customer-led meetups this year to connect forward-thinking Zapier users. Online, we're growing our community slowly to maintain high-quality content while experimenting with engaging formats like cohorts to ensure continued value for members. In advocacy, we are working on our first customer awards for our annual conference, Zap Connect. This exclusive preview highlights how we’ll celebrate customers' innovative use of Zapier, showcasing their stories to inspire others.  

Angela, Laudable: Zapier users seem to be more fanatical compared to other tools. Have you noticed this firsthand?

Carly, Zapier: At Zapier, it's amazing to see our technical product being used by people with various levels of expertise. Even those with zero coding background can use tools within the software, often aided by AI, which is incredible. This accessibility and the sense of empowerment it provides create a fanatical customer base. When I started this team, I spoke with many customers who consistently said using Zapier feels like magic, inspiring our programs and community names like the Wizards Guild. This unique experience truly makes my job easy and fulfilling.

Angela, Laudable: What KPIs do you hold your team and yourself responsible for?

Carly, Zapier: The team's structure revolves around three phases: MVP, Validation, and Scaling, each with specific metrics and timelines. Success in each phase determines progression.  Currently situated in the validation phase, the emphasis lies on customer engagement and satisfaction rather than immediate business impact. This approach prioritizes building a solid foundation based on customer feedback and interaction before transitioning to metrics directly tied to business outcomes, like influenced ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), in the final scaling phase. This customer-centric strategy, supported by a flexible approach to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), ensures that business results will follow as a natural consequence of meeting customer needs and expectations.

Angela, Laudable: What do you think we can learn from Bachelor in Paradise when it comes to customer marketing?

Carly, Zapier: The best connections can happen in the most unexpected places!

June 10, 2024

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