What is Customer Advocacy? …And Why You Should Care
The voice of B2B customers has never been so prominent. Between social media, online forums, and review sites, there are so many avenues for customers to speak out about brands.
This is why it is more important than ever to focus on your customer. Unfortunately, marketers have a tendency to toss this customer-centric focus to the side – chalking it up as a function of customer service or support.
But while B2B marketers were heads down creating Adwords campaigns and flooding inboxes with self-fulfilling white papers – something happened. Prospects stopped paying as much attention to marketing content. The sheer amount of content available online forced them to really be picky about what they read and what they trust.
Prospects no longer want to hear from you. They want to hear from your customers.
(Spoiler Alert: This is where customer advocacy come in.)
What is Customer Advocacy?
noun: customer advocacy is the process of harnessing the voices and experiences of your company’s customers to power your marketing and engagement strategies.
B2B companies who have developed strategic customer advocacy programs have a huge competitive advantage. They’ve figured out how to increase customer engagement (and, as a result increase customer retention) while developing authentic brand ambassadors.
This doesn’t mean marketers should ditch the paid ads, put the brakes on the emails, and stop optimizing their website. Those are all still very important marketing channels, and they all serve their unique purpose. However, customer advocacy should play a major role in your marketing mix.
The Importance of Customer Advocacy Programs
Customer advocacy is important because it allows businesses to turn their most loyal customers into brand advocates.
- 91 percent of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making buying decisions.
That’s 91%… out of 100%. That’s a basically your entire target market.
- 78 percent of buyers have used case studies to research B2B purchasing decisions in the past 12 months.
Case studies ranked as the most consumed type of content when making purchasing decisions – above white papers (77%), webinars (76%), eBooks (67%), and third-party/analyst reports (67%).
- Customer advocacy allows you to engage with your most loyal customers and reward them for advocating for you.
It’s crucial to continue to engage with your customers after they have onboarded. Advocacy programs are a great way to keep in touch with your customers, and even reward them for promoting your brand.
What Does a Customer Advocacy Program Look Like?
Sure, you can try to manage your advocacy program with spreadsheets and email, but you’ll quickly find why best-in-class companies are investing in customer advocacy platforms. With a customer advocacy platform, companies are able to create an organized, scalable program that their customers will want to continue to be a part of.
Here’s what a customer advocacy program looks like with the VIP Crowd platform:
- Invite Customers
Show your customers your appreciation with a personal invitation to your advocacy program where they can complete fun challenges to earn rewards. Let them know being an active advocate helps them become thought leaders in their industry and increase their professional development.
- Post Challenges
Engage with customers by creating fun activities for them to complete. Challenges are a great way to interact with your customers while gaining valuable insight and advocacy for your brand. Challenges can include: sharing content on social media, providing a testimonial, reviewing your product online, attending a webinar, and more. There’s no limitations to the types of challenges you can create.
- Reward Customers
Reward customers with points for each completed challenge. Points can be redeemed for great gifts such as gift cards, donations, tech products, fun swag, and more.
The greatest part about customer advocacy programs is that you, as the vendor, are engaging with your customers throughout the whole process.
Want to Learn More? Contact VIP Crowd Today!
We’re big advocates of customer advocacy, and we love to spread the word. Want to have a conversation? See a demo? Contact us today!