Advocate Marketing is a powerful strategy available to B2B marketers. It is a form of marketing that emphasizes engaging existing customers in your business and theirs.
These customers talk about, tweet about, and may even blog about your company and its products and services. Their third-party endorsement helps lend credibility to your brand and increases the visibility and power of your customer’s personal brand as a professional in their industry.
Have you seen an ad or thought leadership campaign where a customer delivers the message or story instead of the brand?
What were your thoughts?
How did you feel?
Did you find yourself getting drawn in faster or questioning the statements less?
This is a trusted source for marketing, and this is a brand differentiator. This is an untapped opportunity that not enough B2B companies utilize.
Yet, outside of a customer building credibility about your brand through their story, another aspect of advocate marketing sets it apart as a viable tool in today’s marketing mix.
When leveraging your customer advocates in your marketing initiatives, you ask your customer to help create content and drive conversations from their end at little to no additional cost to your company. This shift saves money and builds buyer trust while simultaneously extending your company’s brand exposure.
Advocate Marketing Has Many Benefits to B2B Organizations
- It Establishes Credibility—and Lots of It!
No longer can an organization rely on its own content creation to outperform last year’s metrics. Marketers should consider engaging their Happy Customers in their brand campaigns throughout as many stages of the buyer’s journey as possible
Creating content specifically for your advocates and having them share it makes it much likelier your message will resonate with your target audience as it is coming from their peers. Additionally, great content, co-created with your advocates, simply has a longer shelf-life.
- It Diversifies Your Company’s Message
With the immediacy of social media, you are competing for your audience’s attention with any content you create and promote. Changing up the message and the content can help you break through the noise and connect with your intended audience.
Take it another step further in your content strategy and allow your advocates to add their own message you are promoting for them. This could take the form of a thought leadership piece that does not even mention your company’s name! How novel is that? High risk – no. High reward – yes!
Advocates contribute to brand growth in a more natural way. By leveraging highly diversified types of content, you will more likely appeal to the various buyer personas you are trying to reach.
- It Fosters Relationships with Other Advocates and Attracts More
Focusing on your customer advocates helps you drive more business. When content is created intentionally for and with your customer advocates, you achieve more than just creating new content. You are letting your customers know you recognize them as thought leaders, partners, or innovators in their field, and you are spotlighting these customers as credible sources of information.
Encouraging these relationships, you demonstrate that you see your customer advocates as valued partners. Using your customers’ authentic voice in your content increases your social reach and builds brand exposure. You not only are in a position to drive more business, but you also are likely to attract more customer advocates for your brand.
Differentiating Your Brand
Companies are realizing that happy customers are their best sales reps and can be leveraged as a true competitive advantage. “If you’re not doing it, your competitor is.” – Barbara Thomas, author of Advocate Marketing: Strategies for Building Buzz.
Your marketing department can spend less and create more effective engagements through customer-generated content. The main point of this strategy is finding the dedicated advocates of your brand and then ensuring the advocacy continues by fostering their success.
This, in turn, attracts more advocates and generates more genuine sentiment for your brand and more authentic content you can activate throughout the entire buyer life cycle from a trusted source – your customers! This is where you can differentiate your brand from your competition.