As any of you who follow my blog know, I’m a big advocate of Advocacy Marketing. Advocating Advocacy, hmm?
That aside, I’ve spent the past few weeks interviewing people at organizations that submitted stories in response to my request for examples of Advocacy Marketing’s impact. I’ve got a few more interviews to go (and I am open to taking a couple more stories–if interested contact me using the information in the post linked above), but one thing is coming out over and over again.
If you have an engaged community of advocates, marketing gets easier. A LOT easier.
Anyone who has spent any time in B2B marketing has experienced the struggles of securing references to take a customer call (“Today, or I’ll lose the deal!”), share their story with an analyst, or to develop collateral (case studies, presentations, etc.). Simply thinking about the pain of this drove my post from a few weeks ago about changing the whole approach to reference management.
But, as I talk to people who manage Advocacy Marketing programs, the change is dramatic. Imagine having TOO MANY people ready to talk to a prospect? Or fulfilling a need for customer responses to a partner survey in a few days (versus weeks or….never)?
That is what I am hearing repeatedly. The range of things you can do–with so much more ease and no telephone/email tag, no begging for permission from a sales rep to talk to a customer (even while the next day they are calling you begging for a reference), and no more asking for “more time” to find that reference–is limitless. Examples include:
- Customer References
- Product Feedback
- Marketing Feedback
- Quotes and other Content Fodder
Again, there are very few limits.
This does not come for free. There are a few requirements:
- You must have a product/company that your customers love (or at least really appreciate).
- You must have a systematic way to engage with them in a consistent manner and create a community (at least it needs to feel like one).
- You must give them something of value to get something of value (this will vary by person).
- You have to trust them and be proactive about addressing concerns they bring up.
But all of that is simply good business.
If you can do those things and ant your world in marketing to get easier, then you should embrace Advocacy Marketing. (Oh, and don’t forget–your prospects want to hear from your customers more than they want to hear from you).
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Spot-on, Hank! If my recent tenures at ServiceNow and Intréis have confirmed anything, it is that the advocacy of happy, productive clients is the single most powerful sales and marketing tool a company can have. It is worth whatever effort it takes to encourage and support the elevation of those clients to advocate status, and to work closely with those advocates to make them stars in the marketplace!