Every business is going digital and trust has become the new marketing currency in today’s digital business world. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends. Today’s ever-changing social media landscape opens up a new world of advocacy opportunities for tapping and motivating the most important marketing assets of your organization – engaged employees, happy customers and trusted partners.
Advocacy marketing plays an important role in digital transformation and has also become a popular buzzword in today’s digital world. As a modern marketer, I foresee it to be the next generation of word of mouth marketing.
So what is advocacy marketing? Advocacy marketing harnesses the power of your employees, customers, and partners to transform them into trusted brand advocates. Those advocates spread a positive word-of-mouth recommendation about your company’s brand across their social media channels.
Why is it a BIG opportunity now?
Here are the key stats that prove advocacy is crucial:
- Only 20% of brands use advocates in their marketing programs. (Source: Marketing Charts)
- The number of companies blocking access to social media platforms is dropping by nearly 10% annually. (Source: Gartner)
- Industry experts and peers are the top 2 resources for buyers to get advice. (Source: 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report)
- 74% of B2B buyers rely on peer recommendations for new products and services. (Source: Forrester)
- Brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase. (Source: Marketing Charts)
- Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate. (Source: Deloitte)
- 64% of marketers believe word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective marketing tool and only 6% of them have mastered it. (Source: WOMMA and the American Marketing Association)
What are the different components of advocacy?
There are different kinds of brand advocates, all of whom have a massive potential when it comes to improving the credibility of a brand. Organisations will do well to tap into these excellent sources of advocacy. Some of the most popular components of advocacy are:
Employee advocacy – From CEOs to front office staff, many companies are encouraging their employees to use their personal social channels to amplify content and enhance its brand social reach. It’s a component of advocacy that empowers your employees to become your trusted brand advocates.
Customer advocacy – Identify your group of fans from your existing customers who are willing to advocate your brand. Customer Advocacy capitalizes on nurturing those advocates who share a positive word of mouth recommendation about the company. Go ahead and empower those advocates to enhance the credibility of your brand online with the right tools. In turn, your customer brand advocates will bring in more referrals and business to your company.
Partner advocacy – Many companies fail to tap into one of their most important marketing assets – Trusted partners. This component of advocacy empowers and engages company’s trusted partners to share news about its products and services. Partner advocates influence their network’s purchasing decisions and help to build your brand reputation in the marketplace.
Driving force behind advocacy marketing
The world of work is changing rapidly due to the proliferation of digital technologies. No surprise! Advocacy marketing has strategic business potential in today’s digital world and lack of familiarity is a key challenge for today’s modern marketers. The following are the key driving forces for brands to nurture trusted brand advocates as part of their marketing arsenal:
- Word of mouth has become a powerful tool for recommendations.
- People only trust friends, peers, and family than any other source of ads.
- Brand advocates are your trusted repeat customers who are willing to spend more.
- Personalized experience determines brand perception today.
- Brand advocates are the biggest marketing assets who bring more referrals.
What are the significant benefits of an advocacy marketing program?
Advocacy marketing offers numerous benefits to both advocates and companies. The following are the significant benefits of an advocacy marketing program:
- Increases employee engagement
- Boosts brand awareness
- Increases lead generation
- Builds brand loyalty
- Turns your employees, customers, and partners into thought leaders and industry experts
- Attracts and retains top talent
- Humanizes your brand
- Increases social engagement
It also benefits line of business (LoBs) such as sales, marketing, human resources and corporate communication as follows:
- Sales – Drives social selling to improve close rate
- Marketing – Amplifies market reach and drives more traffic to the website
- Human Resources – Boosts social recruiting and improves employer brand
- Corporate Communication – Builds trust and humanizes the company’s brand
In a nutshell, online reviews can make or break businesses today. Hence modern marketers have to embrace advocacy marketing for maximizing the online reputation of their company. Unleash the power of advocacy marketing to build an army of brand advocates in today’s digital world!