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More Revenue, Less Churn as Customer Education Builds Momentum

202-State-of-Customer-Education-Report-Cover-lpBased on results of our third-annual Customer Education survey, Customer Education is rapidly maturing and increasing spend, but challenged with measurement and monetization.

Claire Schooley, the former lead learning analyst at Forrester, and Barry Kelly, founder & CEO, Thought Industries, conducted a survey in January and February of 2021 and determined Customer Education is evolving to support the customer lifecycle and net revenue growth.

The full results of this survey provide the foundation of the 2021 State of Customer Education Report. Download today to discover: 

  • How software, manufacturing and other businesses are approaching their Customer Education initiatives
  • How Customer Education programs are measuring success today
  • Strategies programs are adopting to increase their impact
  • How Customer Education has been impacted by COVID-19,  focus shifts for 2021, and how Customer Education will continue to impact 2021 and beyond

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State of Customer Education

Respondents At a Glance


Robust participation from the computer software (61.3%) and manufacturing industry (13.9%), with remaining responses no higher than 6% from 13 other industries. Over 200 respondents overall.

49% of companies also train channel partners, extended enterprise (20%), outside professionals (31%), and continuing education markets (19%).

Programs range in scale. 37% reach  5,000 or more learners, while 19% serve less than 500.

Respondents employ a mix of business models, with 83% employing B2B, 29% B2C, 16% B2B2C, and 9% B2B2B.

40% of respondents reported into Customer Success or Customer Experience, while 12% were standalone Customer Education departments.

Investment in Customer Education rose across the board, with 60% of programs increasing spend by more than 30%.

About The Authors


Barry Kelly

Barry is co-founder and CEO of Thought Industries. He is an external training champion, marketer and digital learning innovator. His career has focused on supporting businesses to deliver impactful training experiences that increase customer lifetime value.
Claire Schooley Square

Claire Schooley

Claire is an expert in corporate learning, recruiting, and performance management technology. Previously, as a principal analyst, Claire led Forrester Research Inc.’s strategic HR practice worldwide in the areas of employee development and selection.

Paul Merrylees 

Paul is Senior Director of Thought Leadership at Thought Industries. Prior to joining the company, Paul led research and product development programs at The Advisory Board Company and United Health Group for 14 years. His focus has been the intersection of human capital development and learning technology.


Daniel Quick

Daniel Quick is Vice President of Learning Strategies at Thought Industries. Before joining Thought Industries, Daniel led customer education at Asana where he designed learning strategies that nurtured customers across the lifecycle. Daniel is a former video game designer turned educator who is passionate about creating delightful digital experiences that enable people to do their best work.