At the beginning of 2014, I made what some found an intriguing statement, asking “Will 2014 be the Year of Advocacy Marketing?” My belief was that it could be, and should be, simply because buyers are consistently telling us that they trust peers and third parties more than they trust the vendors that provide them with product and services.
Since the year is almost over, it is a good time to reflect. Did Advocacy Marketing have a big impact on businesses this year? Intuitively, I think it did, but I’d like some validation.
If Advocacy Marketing had an impact on your business in 2014 (or even earlier), I’d like to hear about it. Please send me your stories (restrictions and requirements below) by emailing me at hank (dot) barnes (at) gartner (dot) com. I would like to use the best stories in a future research note on the topic. If I get enough, I will also share some of the stories here in blog posts.
Now for the details:
- Must submit the story by no later than 1/31 to be considered for the research.
(I would love stories anytime, and will share interesting ones via my blog when possible, or save for future notes, but for the current work I am planning 1/31 is the deadline.)
- Must be submitted by, or on behalf of, a company that provides technology products or services, preferably in B2B environments (but B2C technology use cases are acceptable). If you are a company that provides Advocacy Marketing products or services, and are doing advocacy marketing yourselves (I’d be shocked if you aren’t), your stories are eligible.
(I know that advocacy can be used in most industries and is great for building up consumer fan support, but my specific focus is technology and those are the clients that I serve, so please focus there.)
- Must have a proven, ideally quantified, business impact, such as increased revenue, reduced sales cycle times, improved retention rates.
(Less interested in stories about improved response rates or increased lead generation (e.g. increase in pipeline), but will consider them. Strong preference toward stories that show the ultimate results–more revenue, faster revenue, less churn.)
- Must provide contact information and include a statement about your willingness for me to share this story via research or blog posts. I may need to followup with you to get clarification or to review material for research. If you are submitting on behalf of another firm, I will need contact information for a representative of the firm that can answer questions about the story. Please copy them on your message to me so that they are aware that I may be contacting them.
In order to be considered, your story must follow the following format. Those of you that are regular readers won’t be surprised by the format at all.
- Open strong
- Lead with the Outcome (the more quantified the better) that makes me want to learn more about this
- Describe the “Current State”
- the situation before you took an advocacy approach and the impact/pain you were feeling as a result)
- Describe the “After State”
- The Advocacy Marketing program you executed with some level of detail on how you executed the program
- If you are using a technology solution or services to help with this, feel free to mention them.
- Close the loop –
- Reinforce and expand on the outcomes that you opened with, providing some additional detail and related benefits
I look forward to reading your stories and sharing them broadly. (And for those of you doing providing Advocacy Marketing Products and Services, this might be a great time to show the power of your advocates.)
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