Advocate Marketing is a new field of marketing (only 20% of companies have an advocate marketing program) and prospective customers often find it difficult to evaluate which technology is right for them: few customers in the market have a deep understanding of the features and functions that advocate marketing solutions employ.
The criteria list and comparison matrix below were produced by a CustomerAdvocacy.com customer as part of their technology evaluation process. It focuses on the main feature areas that they used to evaluate four short-listed advocate marketing solutions. They showed us this matrix and we asked if we could publish it as a framework to help other prospects. They agreed, but didn’t want to be named as they felt that it might publicly expose too much information about their objectives.
Their evaluation process began with a larger number of advocate marketing vendors which was reduced to four for an in-depth analysis against their pre-determined requirements (Influitive vs CustomerAdvocacy.com vs Social Chorus vs NextBee). They used weightings against each area to help them quantify the importance of each functional area to their own organization (critical/priority/valuable). We have omitted these weightings as each organization has different requirement priorities.
This is a snapshot of the key features and functions of advocate marketing tools that was taken at the time the customer was evaluating the market. In this instance, the customer’s requirements were a perfect match with CustomerAdvocacy.com. Your organization’s requirements will inevitably take a different shape, with different features and priorities, but we hope this matrix will help you on your evaluation journey. You can also download the advocate marketing tools evaluation template document to help get you started.
B2B or B2C?
Designed to support B2B marketing?
Ease of Use
Can we manage the system on our own? Minimal upfront training for users and administrator. No ongoing requirement for external services.
Easy segmentation of the advocate audience to target tailored challenges based on rich profile criteria.
Out-of-the-box advocate leaderboard.
Configure leaderboards and see weekly, monthly, all time, by department, group and other custom criteria.
Basic game mechanics (points, badges, levels, leaderboards and rewards) to drive advocate engagement.
Ability to define new game elements (without the need for technical skills) to create the challenges and rewards that work best for different customer segments.
Basic Activity Feed
See what other advocates are doing in the system.
Actionable Activity Feed
Comment/like/share content from other advocates directly from the feed.
Supports interaction/discussion amongst the customer/advocate community.
Easy sharing of content and messages directly to customers’ social accounts.
Configurable digest emails to drive engagement and draw user back into the advocacy system. The look and feel should be configurable to align with our brand guidelines. Advocates should be able to adjust their own digest settings.
Can we send update messages to target customer/advocate segments?
Edit all outbound messages going to advocates to align with our brand.
Basic Reference Management
Ask an advocate to provide a customer reference.
Advanced Reference Management
Allow salespeople to query the advocate database, kick-off a reference request from within the CRM tool, and track progress.
Build automated program flows, allowing us to create advocacy “tracks” for specific community segments.
Basic CRM Integration
Integrates with our CRM for basic lead forwarding?
Deep CRM Integration
Integrates with our CRM tool to mirror/synchronize advocate history, reference history and referrals, and let CRM users perform key system tasks natively?
Reporting on engagement levels and individual challenges.
Full audit trail of advocate history. Analysis of advocates’ favourite challenges and individual strengths/weaknesses. Deeper analysis to identify new strategies and guide continual improvement.
Set up different marketing users with appropriate access levels.
Advocates choose their visibility/anonymity and interaction preferences?
Is it flexible enough to support internal employee engagement (HR & Training Processes, Feedback Collection, Social Sharing and Idea Generation) with each community securely partitioned?
Vendors must be able to support implementation within our planned timescale.
Is the vendor sufficiently mature to deliver the implementation, regular updates and support?
"NextBee", "Influitive" and "SocialChorus" are registered trademarks of Next Bee Corporation, Influitive Corporation and SocialChorus, Inc. respectively.
The customer was facing a number of key challenges that triggered investigation into advocate marketing solutions. The sales team were losing deals because they weren't able to get customer references fast enough, and the usual customer references were burning out under pressure. The sales and marketing guys knew they needed to extend their pool of reference customers and establish a slicker process to get the references they needed - on time, every time. Reference Management was some common ground on which the sales and marketing people were 100% agreed.
The marketing guys were fighting a number of battles. They needed to leverage their content more effectively to squeeze more leads out of their content investments. They needed to increase the quality of content by weaving in more authentic user stories. And they wanted to amplify customer word-of-mouth recommendations to drive sales.
They researched a number of advocate marketing solutions and went through an iterative process of defining their requirements based on what they needed to do, and the current state of the art. During this process, the opportunities for future growth of their advocate marketing program emerged and they wanted to future-proof their solution choice by including employee advocacy requirements. The platform would need to be flexible enough to segment different community groups. As a B2B organization, they favored tools with a B2B pedegree, but also considered B2C tools that might be flexible enough to support their needs. The solution would have to integrate with the CRM tool to give salespeople visibility of what was going on. They didn't want yet another system to deal with. They had to have the data and reference management functions within their own environment. So easy CRM integration was a high priority.
With a clear view of what they needed, their long-list was easily whittled down to a short-list of four: NextBee vs Influitive vs Social Chorus vs CustomerAdvocacy.com. Using their evalution matrix, it became obvious that CustomerAdvocacy.com was the best fit for their requirements.
The right advocate marketing software will help you drive word-of-mouth recommendations, extend your marketing reach, establish a winning reference management program, and deliver customer-oriented product innovation.
CustomerAdvocacy.com named a High Performer in G2 Crowd's Brand Advocacy Software Grid, Spring 2016See the grid