“Advocacy marketing” and “advocate marketing” have become popular buzzwords in the marketing community over the past few years. It’s not surprising; multiple research reports have demonstrated the positive impact customer advocacy has on conversion rates, revenue and client retention.
Advocacy marketing isn’t just a passing fad, though.
If the conversations at Influitive’s Advocamp 2016 were any indication, more and more marketers are beginning to understand and embrace its power. And if you haven’t, you need to. Immediately.
However, Daniel Pink’s challenge to Advocamp attendees has inspired me to refocus my outlook.
During his presentation “Advocate Marketing and the Science of Motivation,” Pink encouraged everyone to have two fewer conversations each week about “how” and two more about “why.”
Doing so, he explained, helps marketers develop a better understanding of their projects’ purpose and goals before diving headfirst into day-to-day tasks.
If we’re going to have a conversation about why advocacy marketing needs to be taken seriously, we just need to consider advocacy marketing’s most important component: the people we’re marketing to.
Here are 5 Advocamp insights that shed light on why customers’ behaviors and preferences have led to advocacy marketing’s sudden surge in popularity.
1. You do business with people.
While terms like B2C and B2B are still incredibly relevant, successful marketing comes down to mastering your H2H (Human to Human) approach.
People are looking to create more meaningful relationships—both in life and in business. If you want to strengthen your relationships with your audience, every interaction you have must be geared to their individual needs.
During his presentation “Improve the Customer Experience By Transforming Managers Into Trusted Advisors,” Keith Ferrazzi talked about the keys to establishing a lasting and productive relationship.
Lead your relationships with excessive generosity, intimacy, candor and accountability, he said. Find a way to help, find a way to care.
2. Your customers are asking around about you.
Thanks to social media, review sites and other community-focused platforms, customers no longer need to come directly to you for information about your products. In fact, research from Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council shows that B2B decision makers do not contact suppliers directly until 57% of the purchase process is complete.
Instead these decision makers are turning to the media, influencers and their peers for direction.
Most prospective customers search for help from other customers online. As brand managers, it’s more important than ever to understand how our audience’s buying decisions are influenced by others’ opinions and who is influencing them.
3. Compliments – and criticisms – are “louder” online.
Just as technology makes it easy for prospective customers to learn more about you, it also makes it easy for anyone to talk about you.
Your customer’s voice isn’t limited to their personal network. People now have numerous avenues to express their opinion and either endorse or criticize your products online.
It’s no longer word of mouth, it’s world of mouth, said Jill Rowley during “What Do B2B Buyers Really Want? It’s Not What You’re Selling.”
Brand advocates are more likely to be seen as a credible source of information by people around them. Their opinions matter and you should make sure to tap into that potential.
4. We all want to belong.
“It’s not personal, it’s business” is a thing of the past.
Nowadays, customers have many choices. They are looking for companies that will offer them an experience, not just a product. They want to feel wanted and appreciated. They yearn for community.
To develop your customers into brand advocates, a “good enough” experience isn’t good enough.
Every interaction you have with your customers must delight and surprise them. Only then will they feel the need to share their experience on- and off-line.
Building a buyer-centric culture is essential, but it’s not an easy task and requires a shift in mindset for most organizations.
5. The “recommend” is the new gold standard.
As Bill Macaitis said so well in his presentation “Fueling Hyper-Growth Through Experience Driven GTM”, it doesn’t matter if you get the sale or the renewal if you don’t get the “recommend.”
If people are willing to put their name behind your product, it is implied that you’ve already won them and that they are staying with you.
Once your customer is willing to recommend you, you have reached the highest level of customer satisfaction. All that’s left for you to do is channel their voice to build relationships with new customers, while growing the already existing relationship.
The concept of advocacy marketing is simple, but to integrate it as part of your marketing strategy requires a buy-in from everyone within the company.
A customer advocacy program has tremendous potential where all parties involved come out as winners. Companies learn how to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with their audience, customers are ultimately happier with their purchase decisions, and business objectives are achieved.
You might only have one chance to make a good impression with a potential brand advocate. Make it count. Download our white paper Best Practices for Growth: Aligning PR Programs to Corporate Strategy and learn how to use PR to develop these relationships and achieve your business goals.
Lucie Vietti-Curtis is the program manager for channel and advocacy marketing at PR Newswire. As head of the advocacy program, she enjoys collaborating with advocates on creating thought-leadership content.
1 Comments on Blog Post Title
Nice write-up, Lucie! Great summation of takeaways.