How to Succeed at Advocate Marketing
Most businesses have a set of customers who love what they do and will spread the word naturally, helping the business to acquire new customers along the way.
Equally, many businesses have a set of very engaged employees who, without asking, will tell others in their network (peers, friends, family) just why they enjoy working at their business, helping to increase brand awareness.
According to McKinsey & Co, “Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.” So, given that, it makes sense for businesses to do everything they can to increase both customer and employee word of mouth.
The challenge with word of mouth to date has been that it’s quite time-consuming and even though it produces good results (more customers, better employee and customer retention, increased profitability) it is difficult to manage manually.
However, with the advent of tech-enabled advocate platforms, businesses are now able to add customers and employees to word of mouth or advocate programmes in bulk and scale activity quickly. Going into 2017, this is very much a game-changer in how businesses will be able to leverage their customers and employees to gain a competitive advantage.
Social Media Advocacy
According to McKinsey & Co “The impact of social media on buying decisions is greater than previously estimated and the pool of the most effective influencers is largely untapped.”
To this end, it is vital for businesses to reach out to where their customers and employees are spending their time (their phones, tablets and desktops). This is where potential customers are looking for decision buying support (e.g. Is this the right product or service for me?). This decision buying support includes reviews and recommendations by other customers, of course, and advocacy by employees.
For an advocate programme to work well there needs to be a value exchange between a business and customers (and/or employees). One way to achieve this is for a business to share great content on an advocate programme that customers and employees can access and then share on their own social channels (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).
Smarter Business Network
Two years ago we knew as a business we had to drive more awareness, enquiries and sales for our members, so we started our own advocate programme, Smarter Business Network. It has been a phenomenal success and we now have more than 450 members and brand fans using it regularly.
In this time, we have driven more than 18,000 brand endorsements on social media (where a member has used Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to talk about us positively). It has helped establish us more as the go-to site for business advice for early-stage businesses. And by using the programme advocates increase their stock as a thought leader by sharing great content, help their network and drive sales to their business.
In 2017, maybe it’s time you looked at advocate marketing, too?
Come and say hello to ICAEW BAS at Stand 516 at The Business Show 2016.
Want to find out more about how you can switch on your advocates and drive awareness and sales for your business? The Smarter Business Network is an advocate programme run with innovative and entrepreneurial business software from the UK’s number one advocate marketing solution: Qubist. For more details contact Qube Media:
01273 368 672
By Harpreet Panesar, Business Manager, ICAEW