Whether you are listening or not, your customers are talking about you – recommending or disapproving your products and services to their peers, colleagues, family and friends. Brand Advocacy is when a customer, employee, partner or influencer voices a positive opinion about your organization, products or services to another customer, prospect, or the market as a whole.
Advocate Marketing is the process of mobilizing your happy customers (as well as employees, influencers and partners) to support your marketing objectives: generate more recommendations, referrals and references, create even more authentic customer content, extend social reach, establish customer-driven innovation and more.
Brand advocacy exists in many forms – a one-to-one conversation, a case study, a customer video, speaking at an industry event, or giving an opinion online. In the age of social media, brand advocacy has an exponential impact – it is the perfect platform for customers to share their experiences with prospects around the globe.
Advocate marketing is all about maximizing the value customers and other groups bring to an organization – by recruiting and motivating customers to provide references, business referrals and feedback to drive your business forward. The primary value of your customers comes from the direct revenues that they bring to the table, but there is a second dimension – the use of your customer base to support marketing and sales operations, product development and company strategy.
Through advocate marketing, you can enable the business and drive incremental increases in revenue by harnessing the power of the customer in an orchestrated, business-focused manner.
Customers deliver value in three key areas:
- References – Word of mouth recommendations that demonstrate the real-world value that your organization’s products and services deliver to customers.
- Business Referrals – Customers referring prospective customers to your sales organization.
- Feedback – Customer feedback on your products and services to ensure they continue to meet the market need.
This combination of word-of-mouth, voice-of-the-customer and customers-as-salespeople can have a transformational impact on your organization’s revenue and bottom-line profit. The standard view of customers is the “customer-as-buyer” view, but cutting edge companies are starting to think more broadly about the different types of relationship they can form with their customers and other peripheral communities – and they’re using advocate marketing programs to do it. By thinking of your customers as multi-dimensional and multi-faceted you too can massively extend the capabilities of your sales, marketing and product management departments.
To find out more, read the whitepaper “What is Advocate Marketing?”