By Rex Hammock, CEO

Customers don’t just purchase products and services—they purchase solutions and outcomes. Offering your marketplace the shiniest new object is no longer enough. You must provide the best product, as well as a platform that supports it with the best service and explanatory content and media.

But that’s not all. Once a customer owns your product, they’ll want more knowledge and insight into how that product can best serve them. They’ll also expect ongoing training, certification and continuing education.

That’s why some companies are expanding customer relationships to include spaces for learning—building upon a foundation that’s necessary to cultivate sustainable, long-term relationships. Each of the examples below are free to use, and some even offer certifications for completing an online course.

Google Analytics Academy is described as a free resource that will teach Google customers how to use its measurement tools “so that [they] can grow [their] business through intelligent data collection and analysis.”

Amazon Seller University markets itself as a free online resource that provides a comprehensive suite of instructional materials to help customers start and build their business.

Microsoft Docs is the home for Microsoft documentation for end users, developers and IT professionals. It’s packed with quickstarts, tutorials, API reference and code examples.

HubSpot Academy offers online training for inbound marketing, sales and customer service professionals. Certifications, singular topic courses and bite-sized lessons are offered for professionals looking to grow their career or business.

Facebook Blueprint is a free resource the company says can help everyone—from a small business owner to a global ad executive—market their products on Facebook more effectively.

Bottomline: Content is already providing powerful new ways to build long-lasting customer relationships. But just wait until 2020 and beyond. The future of marketplace relationships is about to radically change for providers as they look to teach the knowledge their customers crave.

Image: Getty Images

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