Advocacy Marketing – Turning Customers into Brand Champions
Today, for most people, the singular source of entertainment, news, and information is user-generated content. In layman terms – social media platforms.
The dependency on user-generated content has increased considerably in the last few years. With a platform to share your views, customers are getting more vocal about their likes and dislikes, causing a direct impact on purchase behavior. 92% of customers trust referrals from people they know and 77% of them are more likely to purchase, based on these recommendations. According to Hubspot, “Consumers casually discuss brands 90 times a week, 90% of them believe friends’ recommendations, and 70% of them believe consumer opinions.” These numbers are proof enough that there is no better time than the present to invest in advocacy marketing software and a platform!
Advocacy marketing is the art of turning customers into active advocates that market your brand through their personal channels and to their private network. An advocacy program gives an added incentive to your customers to talk about your product and share brand experiences which helps you with customer acquisition. It leverages the strategy of word-of-mouth marketing, which has been identified as a key influencer in purchasing decisions by 74% of customers, to expand brand reach and improve conversion rates.
What is Advocacy Marketing Software and How Does It Work?
Advocacy marketing is an extensive marketing strategy. To ideate, execute, and manage a successful advocacy program is a massive undertaking. You need expertise and experience, along with ample resources to manage data and analytics. This is where an advocacy marketing software and platform can come into play.
An advocacy platform will help you design the best-suited advocacy and referral program to resonate with your brand values and identity. It will also make it much easier for you to execute, then manage, the program and streamline processes. The software or the platform will aid in shortening the onboarding processes and sales cycles.
Why You Need to Invest in Advocacy Marketing
- Cost Efficiency – Word of mouth recommendations and promotions are not just highly effective but also cost-efficient. Advocacy programs are relatively cheaper than mass advertising campaigns. A small investment can go a long way in building a strong customer base, brand identity, and credibility in the market.
- Customer Retention and Acquisition – Customers enrolled in referral campaigns or app loyalty programs are bound to remain associated with the brand for a prolonged period, ideally resulting in increased retention rates. These customers are also actively influencing their network through the advocacy program, thereby helping with customer acquisition.
- Demand Generation – A successful advocacy marketing strategy increases your brand popularity, and by extension, product demand, to a great extent. Extensive and organic promotion builds up curiosity and piques customer interest, leading to demand generation and, consequently, an increase in revenue and sales.
- Organic Content Generation – 70% of consumers will consider user-generated content, such as reviews or ratings, before making a purchasing decision. Designing advocacy strategies that encourage sharing reviews online can help with organic content generation, which has better reach, penetration, and conversion rate.
- Increases Customer Value – Customer value is the personal assessment of the pros and cons of a given purchase by the customer itself. Products offering better value have more demand and help in easily building a base of loyal customers. Advocacy marketing also offers better value for the money and helps to increase customer loyalty.
Inspiring Advocacy Programs You Should Know About
- Tesla – Identified as one of three finalists for the Extole Advocacy and Customer Experience (ACE) Award, Tesla’s advocacy marketing strategy has been hugely successful for the brand. As per the program, if anyone purchases a new Model S or Model X through a referral link, the referrer and the customer both get a $1,000 credit towards the purchase price.
- Uber – Uber also has an advocacy program for both the parties: the rider and the driver. Along with this, Uber’s program is also aimed at poaching. It has a special advocacy program for drivers that previously worked for its competitor, Lyft.
- Airbnb – Airbnb’s successful program topped the charts of YouGov brand advocacy rankings. Not surprising since they have one of the most well-known advocacy programs, which helps both the referrer and his referrals gain points. The points can then be redeemed on the next stay. The program also encouraged many travellers, travel bloggers, and influencers to actively refer Airbnb to their network.
- Cisco – The American multinational technology conglomerate has a unique reference-only program called Cisco Gateway, which allowed their B2B customers to collaborate with Cisco in their preferred way to support their respective businesses. The Cisco Gateway allowed customers to connect and share ideas as well as engage with the company through communities and customer advisory boards, refer the brand to their peers, and endorse them through reviews, interviews, and social media mentions.
- Apple – The technology company’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign is synonymous with well-known advocacy programs of the decade. What started as a simple hashtag turned into a massive trend on social media feeds, bringing traction to the brand without even giving out any quantifiable incentive. The idea was to ask users to share images taken via their product and share them on their social media feed. The best images were reposted on the brand’s official accounts, which was incentive enough for millions of customers to participate in the campaign.
Important Advocacy Marketing Software and Platforms in 2021
- Annex Cloud – The award-winning brand offers dynamic advocacy software that delivers turnkey solutions ranging from in-store, website, online, and app-based advocacy and loyalty functions. Annex Cloud’s platform ensures unparalleled engagement through visual commerce, referrals, and user-generated content.
- Yotpo – The eCommerce marketing platform integrates solutions based on data and analytics to help create better brand and customer relationships.
- Doubleknot – The non-profit advocacy platform offers integrated event management, membership management, and fund-raising solutions for medium to larger organizations.
- Influitive – The advocacy marketing platform mobilizes customers and advocates using content targeting, gamification, engagement, and rewards.
- Ambassify – This employee advocacy platform helps with optimal employee engagement and increases employee participation.
- Mention Me – The platform streamlines processes for seamless advocate management solutions.