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Customer Success Spotlight with NetApp's Director of Digital Marketing, Zann Aeck

Lithium Alumni (Retired)



“The main goal of our community is to enable customer success.”

Zann Aeck, Director of Digital Marketing – NetApp


No two online communities are created equal. The long history of NetApp’s communities is no exception to that rule. As a company that’s understood the value of communities from the very beginning, NetApp has paved the way for creating user experiences that not only spark conversation and idea sharing between members, but also provide new opportunities for prospecting potential customers. We took a few moments to chat with NetApp’s Director of Digital Marketing, Zann Aeck, to talk about what makes the storage and data management company’s community so unique. Here’s what she had to say.



What do you consider to be the primary goal of the NetApp community?

Easy answer. The main goal of our community is to enable customer success. We think of it as a key driver for preference and loyalty. Our community, which now includes over 35,000 registered members and, on average, receives over 250,000 unique visitors per month, has grown organically as a place where customers can collaborate with each other as well as with us about how to make the most of their NetApp solutions. In fact, since we started to work with Lithium, we’ve even seen our CSAT scores grow by over 13 percent.


How did your community get started?

How we started almost looks nothing like what we have today. We were a “pioneer” of the community movement, implementing one the first customer support communities ever to be seen (This was back in the time when bulletin boards were popular, if that gives you any indication of how long ago this was for us). After some years had passed, the marketing team decided that communities were the way to build business from a social perspective, so it wasn’t long before we launched the Marketing Community to do just that. And now, as we’ve seen happen across a number of companies and industries, both marketing and customer service have become more and more one in the same. So we decided to bring our communities together in order to better align with this shift. We’ve got our customer support team on the front lines answering questions while the marketing team is actively listening to the conversations taking place as a means of identifying potential new customers. It just makes sense.


What trends are you seeing in the digital marketing space?

We’ve heard a lot of people lately talking about the customer journey or the customer experience. That concept can mean a lot of different things to different brands and businesses. What I think we’ll start to see as a trend, at least I know this for sure to be the case at NetApp, is a reality check about what this customer journey actually means. For us, it’s not about just creating an experience from start to finish, but rather about using assets like our community to help prospective customers visualize what it’s like to be an actual customer. The more real we can make that experience for them – through our content, our customer service, and our community – the more influential we’ll ultimately be in the long-term.



Zann Aeck is experienced in managing and optimizing B2C, B2B, Support, Intranet and Community Websites, as well as Social Media, digital Content Marketing and Search Marketing.  She specializes in the development of holistic digital strategies across multiple online platforms for company-developed and user-generated content to increase content relevance that drives name capture or eCommerce transactions on marketing sites and reduces call center volume on self-service portals.



NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that help accelerate business breakthroughs and deliver outstanding cost efficiency. Our dedication to principles of simplicity, innovation, and customer success has made us one of the fastest-growing storage and data management providers today. Customers around the world choose us for our “go beyond” approach and broad portfolio of solutions for cloud computing, flash storage, business applications, data storage for virtual servers, disk-to-disk backup, and more. Our solutions provide nonstop availability of critical business data and simplify business processes so you can deploy new capabilities with confidence and get to revenue faster than ever before.


Trusted Contributor

Excellent read and very solid informtion @FranciscaF thanks so very much for writing this up for us. 


Check it out @cindycapo and @edaccessible  it's definitely worth the time to read this. 

Trusted Contributor

Thank you @stevekrohn. I agree with you. @cindycapo you should read this post.

Trusted Contributor

I think most would benefit from reading this one @edaccessible I sure hope @cindycapo does. 

Honored Contributor

I love the idea of a community giving prospects insight into what it's like to be a customer! Cat Happy