More Revenue, Less Churn as Customer Education Builds Momentum

In early 2021, Claire Schooley of Forrester and Thought Industries CEO Barry Kelly conducted an industry survey of the Customer Education space.

The results? Customer Education is rapidly increasing spend to support customer experience and net revenue growth – but facing challenges with measurement and monetization.

The full results of this survey provide the foundation of our third annual 2021 State of Customer Education Report. Get your copy today!


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Respondents At a Glance


2021 state of education- respondents at a glance icon

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.

State of Customer Education statistics 2021

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

Respondents at a glance- programs range in scale

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

Respondents at a glance- mix of business models

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

2021 state of education- respondents at a glance icon

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

Respondents at a glance- investments in customer education

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

About the Authors
Barry Kelly Headshot

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.

Paul Merrylees Headshot

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.

Claire Schooley Headshot

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.

Daniel Quick Headshot

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.