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Need More Authentic Content- Ask Your Advocates

by Hank Barnes  |  March 22, 2016  |  3 Comments

Recently, I’ve been interviewing tech companies that are using advocacy and communities as a key part of their marketing and service strategies.  My specific research focus is to explore the impact advocacy and communities have account growth and retention (Early results:  most “think” it does, but few measure  or prioritize around this.  IMO, this is an opportunity that should be a focus).  If you are doing this (and are with a tech company), I’d love to talk to you, just respond with a comment to this post.

During these interviews, I did discover one of the best pieces of content I have ever seen.    Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently produced an e-book called “Reaching New Heights with ITSM.”  Take a look.  (Note:  Since this post, this portion of the business has been sold to Microfocus.  They, wisely, have continued to make the e-book available.)

Source: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Source: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Here is why I love it.

  1. Produced is the key word.  Other than some formatting of materials, adding some visuals, and the opening and close, HPE wrote nothing to implement the book.
  2. Instead, they reached out to their advocate community,  called HP ITSM Insiders, asking for their stories.
  3. The document is not about HP technology, it is about how to be successful with ITSM.  It is targeted toward one of the biggest gaps in content marketing.

Reading the book, the authenticity of the stories comes out loud and clear.   And HPE wrote none of it.   It all comes from people that are in the trenches, working on ITSM initiatives within their firms (and clients in some cases0.

I recently tweeted that a post I had republished on LinkedIn was one of my least read, but most important.   The post, Most Consistent Benefit of Advocacy Marketing: Work Life Gets Easier, highlighted what I hear over and over again.  Advocacy programs help organizations do more with their customers, more easily than ever before.   This e-book is a prime example of that.

I’m not sure why advocacy marketing is not at the top of every marketing priority list.   I thought this would happen by now.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m seeing more and more examples of success, but I still sense people questioning if they can do it, questioning the value,  and creating excuses why it won’t work for them.   Let me be clear, the only reason that I believe that advocacy marketing won’t work is if your customers don’t like (not even love) the products or services you provide them.

Interested in creating materials like HPE?  Interested in more referrals?  Interested in more engaged customers?  Interested in being more trustable?

Put advocacy marketing at the top of your priority list.





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Category: future-of-sales  go-to-market  

Tags: advocacy  content-marketing  customer-marketing  gartnertgi  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Need More Authentic Content- Ask Your Advocates

  1. Dedan says:

    Glad to have made a small contribution in this e-book.

  2. Mike Corso says:


    I’m with you! I’ll be talking this up more and more this year–such opportunity for us.


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