Customer advocacy has been proven to increase marketing efficacy by 54%. As a result, brands who invest in customer advocacy marketing programmes see an average 650% ROI for every dollar spent.
B2B, B2C, enterprise to SME, the message is clear: if you don’t have an advocate marketing strategy in place then you are missing out.
To help you get your 650% ROI, the Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond have dedicated today’s “Focus on series” to customer advocacy marketing. Discover the basics behind an effective advocate marketing strategy and get inspired by some real world examples of advocate marketing campaigns.
To discuss your marketing plans with a member of the Think Beyond team, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.
Customer advocacy marketing basics
To begin with, here’s the what, why and how that make up an effective customer advocacy marketing strategy.
1. What is customer advocacy?
Customer advocacy turns your happy and loyal customers into brand promoters. Also known as fans, evangelists or references, customer advocates provide authentic communications and join in the conversation regarding your brand.
The aim of customer advocacy marketing is to create an engaged community of advocates and empower them to share their positive experiences. Through reviews, customer generated content, social proof or marketing materials such as case studies, blog posts and infographics, the voice of the customer advocate is given form.
2. Why is customer advocacy important?
In summary, three reasons: engagement, retention and growth. Let’s break these down:
Engagement: With ad blockers and distrust in advertisements growing, third-party validation is becoming increasingly important to attract new business.
Retention: Word of mouth marketing isn’t just great for getting prospects through the door; customers who have been referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
Growth: Purchase cycles are getting longer. Accelerate your sales pipeline and revenue by pushing your prospects towards “sales won” with the power of advocacy and social proof. Consider the following statistic from McKinsey – word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
3. How do you build a customer advocacy marketing program?
First and foremost, customer advocacy is built on a solid foundation of great customer experiences and great products or services. If your value proposition differentiates you from the competition and your marketing strategy is attracting your target personas, your customer experience underpins your customer advocacy. A bad customer experience will convert customers into detractors and undo all the hard work you invested in planning and product development.
Secondly, you should operate with a customer first mentality. Really listen (and respond) to what your customers are saying in order to foster loyalty and reciprocity. Adapting your marketing to an agile framework can help you to hone in on buyer cycles and buyer problems.
Thirdly, an effective advocacy marketing programme hinges on identifying who your brand promoters are. Many companies use tools such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and surveys to pinpoint detractors, passives and promoters. Marketing teams can then customise outreach campaigns and make it as easy as possible for promoters to leave their feedback. A well thought out nurture programme also has the potential to turn passives into promoters, adding yet more fuel to your advocacy marketing fire.
Examples of customer advocacy marketing
Let’s see some real world examples of customer advocacy marketing in practice.
Marketo launched a two pronged approach across their live events and digital channels to encourage reviews on third party websites. Customers were provided with incentives such as branded hoodies, advocate points and prizes for reviews, referrals and engaging in the advocate community. The result? Through the promotions and online experiences, Marketo generated 538 net-new reviews full of authentic, genuine content to carve out their competitive advantage. Importantly, they also achieved the accolade of “Most Reviewed in 2015” on G2 Crowd – a key pipeline source.
Starbucks took to social media with their “tweet a coffee” campaign. Again, simplicity was key. Customers could buy a gift card for their friend through Twitter by tweeting the @tweetacoffee handle alongside their (lucky) friend’s handle. As an added incentive, the first 100,000 to join also received a voucher to use themselves. This proved to be extremely profitable, generating close to $180,000 in sales for Starbucks and opening up long term ROI by identifying their loyal promoters and potential customers.
Marketing support designed for you
Do you need support turning your customers into your best brand assets? Not sure where to start with advocacy in marketing? Or do you need more cost effective methods for acquiring new business?
Think Beyond is a boutique marketing consultancy agency. Our CIM qualified marketers work with businesses across the UK to research, plan, implement and drive marketing strategies that get results. In short, we are your all in one marketing partner for growing sales and ROI.
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