Brand advocates are highly satisfied customers who proactively recommend brands, products and services to friends, colleagues, peers and strangers. Research shows that in the B2B world, most people trust word of mouth (WoM) more than all the other sources of information about companies, products and services (such as salespeople, marketing collateral, industry analysts and other industry pundits). 84% of people trust Word of Mouth recommendations, whereas only 69% trust a salesperson (the next most trusted source).
As word of mouth is such a big influence on purchasing decisions, clearly you would want to maximize the number of brand advocates, as well as the number of recommendations that each advocate makes. But the value of your customers doesn’t end there. When properly motivated, happy customers will also help you create content, provide feedback to drive your next generation of products and services, and engage in a number of other ways to support your marketing objectives.
However, B2B marketing leaders often struggle to identify, mobilize and track their brand advocate communities. “Customer burnout” is common (relying heavily on a handful of customer contacts time and time again). Matching customers to brand advocacy tasks (such as a reference call or testimonial) is also difficult and requires good data on who’s who, which of your products they use, and what they do with them.
The first stage is of a brand advocacy program is to connect with customers and build a brand advocate community, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey method to identify satisfied customers who are likely to recommend your products and services. From here you can segment and incentivize specific advocate groups to perform tasks that support your marketing objectives. This cycle of action and reward solidifies and builds customer loyalty that makes your brand advocates even more valuable as a marketing and sales resource.