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Advocate Marketing Requires Setting Objectives, Demonstrating Initial Success Prior To Tech Rollout

1blog 5.35.45 PMAdvocate marketing is growing in importance as word of mouth and peer reviews exert significant influence on B2B buying decisions and social media expands their impact.

As a result, marketers are increasingly interested in developing programs that engage buyers to provide feedback that will shape their products and services.

Demand Gen Report features a Q&A with Laura Ramos in advance of her session on this topic, Advocacy: Your New Source Of Impactful And Authentic Contentat our Content2Conversion Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., next week (Feb. 15-Feb. 17).

Ramos has published two reports on advocate marketing, including the prescriptive Establish Your B2B Advocate Marketing Goals Before Choosing Tech Suppliers.

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In the report, Ramos indicates that “simply using technology to scale up a collection of isolated programs will only frustrate buyers who need a consistent end-to-end engagement experience.” Before starting to research advocate marketing solutions, Ramos said it is important to design programs around business needs. She noted that successful marketers should demonstrate initial success before investing in technology.

Ramos advises first to determine your objectives. Once goals are established, marketers can then consider options to address customer interaction goals in one of the following areas to start:

  • Build brand awareness and interest. Dedicated customer and employee advocacy solutions are a good first step to amplify a brand in the market less expensively than traditional ads.
  • Generate and accelerate deals. Advocate marketing can lead to higher conversion rates, help marketers generate more qualified leads and spur efficient sales by connecting prospects and leads with sales.
  • Support customer success through peer service and feedback. Peer support solutions, online communities and social platforms can help find and cultivate effective advocates for your brand.
  • Enrich accounts via cross-sell, upsell and loyalty-building opportunities. Fostering deeper relationships will increase the likelihood of renewals and ongoing loyalty from valuable customers. It also provides more opportunities to penetrate those customer accounts with helpful and constructive feedback as well as benefits and incentives.
  • Co-develop and strategize with major, high-value customers. Creating C-level relationships with a company’s largest customer accounts through initiatives such as customer advisory boards that offer special benefits and incentives to them can maximize customer retention and sales.

Perhaps more important than anything, Ramos wrote that marketers should make sure to “focus on ease of use to increase engagement and results” from advocate marketing initiatives.

That includes designing programs that fit into the advocate’s daily workflow; making entertainment and education the primary ingredients to keep advocates interested; measuring engagement to make its value more tangible; anticipating growth in program recruitment and management requirements and plan for attrition; and even getting help from advocate marketing advocates such as specific associations or events in the advocacy realm.