Driving a customer advocacy programme is so important right now because researchers suggest that it reduces the cost of sale. Why? Because word of mouth and good news stories reduce spending on marketing, advertising and sales. Read on to deep-dive into why driving a customer advocacy programme is so important.
What is customer advocacy?
Customer advocacy, also known as advocate marketing in the marketing world, is an operational improvement programme focused on improving service to customers. This involves improvements to customer service and customer marketing programmes to enhance the customer experience and stimulate advocacy.
What are examples of customer advocacy?
Seven examples of customer advocacy programmes may include:
- buying collectives to obtain the best price for the customer
- recommending the best deal at the best price for the customer
- scheduling service calls and work at times convenient to the customer
- recommending alternative providers that best satisfy the needs of the customer
- encouraging regular feedback to help purchase decisions by other customers
- agile marketing or crowdfunding helps to develop new solutions for the customer
- tailored messaging, lists and offers matched to the interests or intent of a customer
Why customer advocacy is so important
Customer advocacy is so important because research suggests that it helps reduce the cost of acquiring customers. Marketing teams are responsible for internal and external communication as well as balancing budgets between acquiring and retaining customers.
Until recently, it was only theoretical that customer advocacy reduced the cost of selling, commonly know as Cost of Sales (COS). However, a recent article in the Journal of Marketing reported on the results of three researchers who decided to test the theory.
Using 20 years’ worth of data on 128 public companies, the research found something stellar. For every 1 point increase in customer satisfaction, it lowered the future COS by nearly 3%. This equates to around £100m in reduced annual expenditure. Furthermore, the research identified an even larger benefit for businesses with a diverse range of products or services. This suggests that the positive ‘halo’ effects of customer satisfaction rubbed off in other areas. Additionally, high-growth and new industries who rely on rapid word of mouth to build credibility plus labour-intensive industries where comparability is hard show a high correlation.
Top tips to increase retention in the Customer Funnel (CoFu)
If you read our 3-part series on funnels, you saw how to improve the leads into ToFu, the tricky MoFu and converting at BoFu. Retention programmes helped by customer advocacy cater for the final part of the funnel, customer retention at CoFu.
Top tips to increase retention in the Customer Funnel:
- Invest in customer advocacy
- Improve customer marketing
- Enhance customer experience
Why CMOs should pay attention to customer satisfaction
In the pantheon of marketing, CMOs should pay attention to customer satisfaction. The research findings give direct attribution of value to customer advocacy initiatives. Ultimately, rather than seeing customer satisfaction as something of a chore, it now directly correlates to reduced COS. So, the next time your strategic marketing plan and budget goes for approval, it is easier to justify customer satisfaction spend.
Why it’s worth investing in customer experience
It’s worth investing in customer experience as part of your customer advocacy strategy. After all, you are advocating for customers to get the best experience possible at every touchpoint with your business; all in the hope that they will become advocates for your brand, products and services.
Moreover, customers that experience digital first and frictionless experiences with you are more likely to stay. They may become repeat buyers and if they are not stressed, frustrated or angry with your experience, you may increase wallet share for ancillary offerings. When you couple marketing personalisation and automation with customer experience, you truly reap the rewards of boosting customer satisfaction.
Therefore, going beyond process and systems, doesn’t it make sense to invest in making a customer experience ‘feel’ good? Yes, your checkout process works flawlessly, your contact form prompts a follow up and email addresses go into your automation tools for inbound marketing. But, how did they feel about that process, contact and experience? Customer marketing and neuroexperience go hand in hand to increase positive emotional association. Easier visual processing, increased neurological brand recognition, messages that emote and experiences that delight.
Investing in a customer advocacy programme is a choice
You can choose to invest in customer advocacy and experience to lower the cost of selling, increase retention and grow market share. It is a more cost-effective strategy than constant customer acquisition and a smart marketing strategy for return on investment. Ultimately, the choice is between churn, poor feedback and increasing acquisition costs or happy customers who buy more from you and champion your business to others.
Some businesses choose to ignore customer advocacy and these are usually in capital-intensive industries or those heavily in debt. The dilemma here is whether choosing to fight for customers’ best interests is more profitable. However, how often do we see people jumping gas supplier with no attempt to retain them? This is an expensive and vicious circle that drags down market share with new entrants or when new investment arrives.
How do I get help with keeping customers and reducing selling costs?
Here at Think Beyond, we believe in a philosophy of partnership that puts the customer first, treat marketing as a science and seek to boost your ROI. All of our solutions are bespoke to your needs, whether you want support with strategy, digital or creative services.
We have experience of transformation, customer satisfaction, customer experience and more. When coupled with our automation support services and customer marketing frameworks, we have you covered.
We offer professional, unbiased advice to find the best solution for you. Our services include a range of neuroscience and strategic frameworks. We also provide agency services so that we have the capability to enact your vision. In summary, we make it easy for you to get what you need in one place to support your growth.
If you would like to speak to a human about a customer advocacy programme, please call the team on 01625 682110.
Finally, check out our service areas to enhance your marketing and deliver on your potential.