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The Complete Guide to Customer Advocacy

Tiago Santana
Sep 4, 2020 4:00:00 PM

People-obsessed companies are the ones who win. They get customers to share with other potential customers about their positive experiences. They do so in a way that is organic and enjoyable. These brands understand Customer Advocacy. 

If your customers aren’t completely blown away, they'll surely be less likely to leave positive reviews than if they left the engagement with your business with a “WOW” worthy experience. Happy customers have higher average lifetime value and help reduce the cost to acquire a new profitable customer. 

What is customer advocacy? 

Customer advocacy is the moment your customers act as an ambassador for your brand.5 stars

5 stars

What is a Customer Advocacy Strategy?

A customer advocacy strategy is when a company imbues all aspects of its business by utilizing marketing, sales, Customer Success, Customer Services, Customer Experience, Customer Engagement, Customer Satisfaction, and Culture to become a customer-obsessed brand. It ensures all customers have the very best possible service and experience.

To help spread the word about client service, customers on your marketing campaigns aren’t the ones spreading the word. Loyal customers will spread the word of your business once they have memorable experiences to share. Word of mouth drives incredible numbers to business growth showing just how important both brand and customer experience are to the success or failure of the company and the business' prospects.

With customer advocacy marketing, your business and your customer relationship will become one. With customer advocacy marketing, your customers, too, will become advocates of your brand during the lifetime of their relationship with your business.

Benefits of Customer Advocacy

Scalable systems create the foundation to make the customer an Advocate. When customers share services, mainly through social media, referral marketing, and brand-enabled advocacy, trust is built, and friction is removed from the buyer’s journey. 

Benefits of Customer Advocacy Strategies that work include:

  • Increased Customer loyalty
  • Increased revenue
  • Reduced costs, time and environmental impact
  • Increased customer lifetime value
  • Reduced cost to acquire new profitable customers.

Brand Advocates are remembered for the social proof they create over long-term relationships and often work in partnership with their clients. In this way, brand Advocates reach other customers through social media, goodwill, or peer-to-peer referrals. Check out this article to learn more about the benefits of customer advocacy. 

Customer Loyalty Through Customer Advocacy

As noted above, customer advocacy provides direct links to and recognition of your brand. Your existing customers will love arriving with you to participate in your advocacy program, creating a relationship that grows more loyal over time. Increased customer-loyalty can end up driving more referrals, making the attainment of your desired outcome faster and more cost-effective.

Customer Advocacy is designed to keep faithful/potential customers engaged through:

Brand advocacy, customer engagement, and advocacy marketing campaigns to engage among the Top Gen (niche) and decrease customer churn while increasing ROI through acquisition, retention, recommendation, and advocacy.

Customer advocacy increases Customer Retention.

Your Customer Success team has to utilize Feedback, Referrals, Reviews, Customer Feedback, and Social Media to continually improve your customer experience and bring more loyal customers.

Whether you're marketing your experience to these vast numbers or aware that they are scarce, these numbers are enough to inspire passion by customers. A dedicated customer Advocacy team will regularly earn and reinforce the trust of your loyal new customers and nurture anyone that does not see your promise of success.

Industry Expected Earnings Growth

A paper from CD Projekt Red states that a 96% return on marketing investment is expected to be achieved with a 6% long-term reinvestment program. This is the kind of growth that a dedicated, fully integrated Customer Success team can perform with a dedication to maximizing your return and driving your bottom-line growth.

report graph of growth

Consider that despite what you can hear, the actual price tag for an advocacy program may be much higher than projected based on those numbers. For B2C organizations, this is a struggle because the market cap growth rate might fluctuate drastically over time, but these cost savings alone shouldn't scare anyone away from creating a program.

At Gray Group International, we have worked with clients to create and implement an advocacy program that brings their business values into the spotlight and unite them with their core components to form a winning brand for both internal and external customers. 

Why is customer advocacy important to your business?

Creating loyal customers and earning a positive name for your business entails doing a stable job of keeping your existing customers very happy, dependable, and active on word of mouth. In turn, Brand Advocates become like your sales force, generating more sales, and repeat business.

So, you might think that brand advocates and brand advocacy, in general, represent a MINT Empire. Sometimes this is true, but at the core of this strategy is what motivates our newest Evangelists - their loyal customers.

Why customer advocacy? Because it's crucial for the business since brand advocacy constitutes a vital part of your overall strategy for customers - both short-term and long-term. 

Here are some short-term benefits:

  • Customer Advocacy helps build a stronger relationship and more loyalty: A Customer Advocacy program can provide the spark that sparks interest and ultimately connects you to those prospects - they are the best and most loyal.
  • Customer Advocacy is also the best way to multiply customers: It's difficult to sustain a repeat business without increasing customer retention. Nothing is more motivating to a potential customer than discovering a positive recommendation from a previous happy customer(s).
  • Customer Advocacy helps to increase customer satisfaction: Many times, a company is sold a product, not knowing how to help its customers. A customer advocacy program can help with that, more so than a referral program because customers don't know what to do next. This makes it easier for them to find more helpful information and share more with their friends. It also helps to encourage the Customer Advocacy Team to continue serving their customers in the future.
  • Educating your Customers on Product/Service-Defining Values: Each customer has a distinct brand that speaks to them. That’s why learning more about this person's personality and ownership process can be paramount to becoming a successful advocate by understanding your people and their values.  You and your advocacy marketing can set up a detailed course of action for your customers to develop a personalized, ongoing marketing program tailored just for them.

coaches space

A loyal customer will lead to great brand-acquisition, loyalty, and success.

The success will be directly rooted in customer satisfaction and user experience.

An Advocacy strategy in every channel requires a diverse set of inputs. Your existing customers and brand Advocates rely on your customer engagement as a significant role in developing an advocacy campaign that helps your company win.

Retention occurs through Loyalty.

Loyal customers become more loyal with time. Loyalty paves the way for Brand Advocacy. The loyalty programs follow Brand Advocates in guiding customers to purchasing decisions.

With Loyalty, the potential customers you trust are motivated to continue doing business with you even if you don't feel a successful relationship with them. Loyalty programs are a high touch for marketing in general, so it is essential to combine these elements in your customer advocacy program with Loyalty to grow a consistent relationship.

Better Return on Investment

There is no question that return on investments (ROI) is fundamental for any business because investment along the customer journey and buyer journey can directly increase the profitability for the company/brand. Also, the ROI of an advocacy program is usually high after referral marketing. However, a referral will be the only way to see any ROI.

According to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Social proof, customers who are a part of your Advocacy Program will be very loyal and refer customers. To bring more referrals and open up more sales, you need to use advocates to drive advocacy, advertising, and marketing.

Introductory Email /Social Media Marketing vs. Advocacy Program

The advantages of having your advocates marketing and ensuring your customers get the most out of your experience are enormous. An entirely new customer will openly share their experience with your brand. They will encourage other customers to do the same. Maybe even use your products and services. They will willingly share your knowledge with your brand.

The bar is much higher for those reviews that have been created by your existing customers. The benchmarks are much higher, and many more satisfied customers will offer their recommendations and share their loyal customers with their network.

Preventing Customer Distrust

Unfortunately, most businesses overlook the impact that is having an Advocacy program can have on your brand. They don't realize that these additional benefits are purely focused on customer retention. However, so many areas related to business, workgroups, and the Customer Advocacy team are often overlooked as those crucial areas struggle to determine ROI.

Let's take it a step further:

  • Patients with high monthly financial burden (number of loans available for purchase)
  • People with poor credit
  • People with low incomes
  • Highly-educated individuals using social media and a loyalty program

These categories are often the targets of Customer Advocacy. Solely focusing your efforts on the positive may improve your customer engagement and improve your overall customer lifetime value, but it can also reduce customer-disgust risk.

Collect Your Customer Feedback

Before going deeper into your advocates, take some time to gather your customers' feedback directly. This can be done through an online survey or a telephone survey. Before analyzing customer experiences, you want to know what drove them to try your products or services. You don't want to get confused or are not worth the time. They are looking for ways to leave reviews, use your offerings on social media, leave reviews, and share their feedback with their network. The more active your response to these changes, the better your advocacy strategy will be for your brand. When already tracking the outcomes and ROI, you can schedule engagement practices that will further improve your scores.

Referral marketing and Advocacy Marketing

Beyond merely tracking individual advocates and prioritizing them in advocacy marketing, you will also need a referral program to push other customers beyond their borders through referral marketing or a loyalty program.

A recent study published by Van Zandt's NCI demonstrated the connection between low- and zero-income customers and an increasing number of customer-centric professions. This shows that referral programs can help accelerate the decline in attrition. A study from the Swedish Association of Economies & Statistics (SAAES) demonstrates an increase in cooperation between advocacy and marketing campaigns spanning different industry segments. When it comes to affinity marketing, in the age of mid- and low-income consumers, the percentage of customers referred doesn't increase much as they are being referred to in a variety of ways.

This means that when your prospective customers need payment and referrals, both components of your advocacy program will play a well-deserved role. When you keep your effective referral marketing and advocacy program coordinated, it will go a long way in managing customer trust and loyalty.

Gather your existing customers and invite them into your Advocacy Program

Try out multiple channels-Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Referral marketing, Twitter, and many more.

Another stunning way to increase ROI and unlock more loyal customers is by having your advocates marketing and ensuring you keep them engaged through online,  email, or telephone surveys, and other onboarding processes. A customer advocacy strategy will help you keep your customer-centric and focus on your non-business customers who can make a considerable profit through your advocacy campaign by assisting them to connect with your brand.

Referral marketing

To make a substantial impact on your sales, you need to use your existing customers to devote more of their time to your brand. Using referral marketing can drastically improve your work because it leverages your current customers as brand advocates and influences them directly to continue your advocacy program.

A referral program is the best way to build relationships with your existing customers since it easily aligns yourself and your brand. People love to visit websites and referrals from other consumers before making purchase decisions. Furthermore, we see a tremendous impact when people become influencers within the relationship. Buying a product from an influencer they reference on social media represents a benefit to your company. If a loyal customer would be receptive to a referral and continue to support your brand, it will mean success for sales and customer retention.

Customer Advocacy Program

Considering the value of retaining brand advocates with social media is higher than the referral program. GlobalData points out that 66% of the shoppers go online before making a purchase. Through advocacy marketing, you will discover social and word-of-mouth marketing, brand advocacy, and user-generated content. According to the Redcard brand, 87% of customers input a username and password before making a purchase. Your marketing team should be integrated with social media and active in your advocate program: Customers, Referrals, Sales, Partner - advocates are simply the people you know about and have the interest to convert and segment. A customer advocacy program engages customers and motivates them to continue to advocate for your brand.

computer shopping

Having an Advocacy Program

Turn-key is the way to go when establishing your marketing strategy. Turnkey can lead to creating better work-solutions and not having to spend hours on the project alone. But it's not the only ROI-we found 88% customer repeat purchases and 60% customer lifetime value from people referred by advocates. With Advocacy marketing, you see ROI of a huge improvement to sales with customer satisfaction (880% increase) and customer retention and value (540% increase).

A higher value for loyal customers

A customer advocacy strategy increases the customer lifetime value as well as increasing the revenues. Customer advocates can help you to build a new generation of loyal customers and revitalize your sales department. They can influence your customers' perceptions of your brand or brand, create your customer relationships, and align your marketing strategy with your customer experience. As you optimize your advocacy program, you can develop useful customer-centric tools that can significantly enhance your customer loyalty and increase your customer referrals.

By integrating your Customer Advocacy Strategy with Customer Success, you can track each / every interaction they have with your brand. Essentially, your customer advocacy program helps you grow your advocacy program and to measure the success of your marketing campaign.

Ways to select the right tools for your advocacy marketing program include:

  • Optimized customers: should be inclined towards your products or services. It should be easy to have. To better understand customer support issues and access business opportunities, ideal tools should be created and maintained for your advocacy program. Remember, the longer a customer has a complaint or issue, the more likely it is to impact sales.
  • Manual: skills include effective onboarding, training, usage of management systems, integration of tools, and right panel, and dropbox.
  • A customer advocacy program should never compromise customer experience for sales. Credible advocates are the preferred people to share with the world. When customer advocacy is done properly sales is a bi-product of the success. 

Advocates should regularly talk to each other and the industry. Inspiring customers can be a critical step in boosting your advocacy program. Each of your advocates must share their personal experiences with you.

Good Analytics

When a customer engages with your service, you need reliable analytics to analyze your outcomes and see ROI. The best customer analytics tool is either OmniMetrics, GlobalData 360M, or InsightMetrics. They provide statistical analytics about your audience and provide dashboards to develop strategies for your efforts and enhance the ROI of your advocacy program.

To make this a challenge, you must have reliable, high-data data that you can turn to for marketing intelligence and to scale up. OmniMetrics data allows you to get up to speed on marketing intelligence tools and offers long term goals for targeted program improvement. In addition, the tool can be used as an extension of InsightMetrics. One common way to gather reliable data about your customers is to use one of the many social media sharing sites. GlobalData 360M allows you to gather large-scale social and paid social media responses to users and create social campaigns that can be used to increase your customer engagement.

Disadvantages of OmniMetrics

OmniMetrics is not very scalable. However, the software is easy to set up, run, and basic analytics pretty easy to implement. Moreover, OmniMetrics can easily be scaled by leveraging the flexibility of expert technology. Just be aware of these drawbacks:

Your marketing automation system needs to support dedicated resources and maintenance of legacy systems.

Factors making OmniMetrics a failure are:

  • Unique formats give the ability to hide 250 reviews and only 5% of reviews to other platforms.
  • It requires dedicated time to gather data and operate.
  • It doesn't store information about your customers, so it is not the result of fraud.
  • OmniMetrics has few filters for customer-centric participation, as opposed to InsightMetrics.

working at desk

How customer advocacy impacts marketing departments

Customer advocacy is part of a marketing strategy, and it transforms customer relationships and other marketing campaigns. When you engage customer advocates in your organization, they'll drive more business to you - a more reliable connection between your brand and your organization's executives. The following are the most effective ways to turn your loyal customers into brand advocates:

Increases the customer advocacy program by 30%. The right category of advocacy programs can directly impact the results of your advocacy strategy.

Reasons to grow your customer retention and loyalty to your brand:

  1. Customers who hold an advocate position in your organization are more likely to become 'patriots' in terms of an advocacy program. Employees are more likely to be engaged by advocates and used to compete for more for the customer. 
  2. Retains larger, more sophisticated audiences, such as newbies, influencers, and sales reps.
  3. Increases the number of brand advocates. If you spend the most on buying promotion and partner incentives, you have a brand advocate available to convert existing customers into brand advocates.
  4. Referral, ad, and advocacy marketing can help increase customer lifetime value with big deals.
  5. Grows the loyalty to your brand. Commitment to a brand doesn't just happen - it takes strategy and a plan to nurture customers in your advocacy program.
  6. It creates more success by empowering your customers to look at your company within a social context.
  7. Increases the engagement of brand advocates in your organization.
  8. Determines share by channel: Reviews on social media are freely available and easily accessible. Referrals from brand advocates can be quickened and nurtured by leveraging your existing community.
  9. Distributes the word about your operations through word of mouth, social media, and positive reviews from other consumers in your field.

Client retention, operations, and advocacy strategies-how do they affect success?

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of your customer loyalty and how competitive your sales and service teams are. The NPS can be generated through finding potential influencers, evaluating the economic impact of which influencers are successful, identifying referrals from outliers and building advocacy channels.

Customer Advocacy Marketing

A customer advocacy program is one of the most valuable content you can share with the world. Providing a great customer experience is essential for your business' success. By creating advocates within your advocates’ community, you can involve these customers and foster their loyalty. This gives them the ability to seek advice on products or services they need and reduce hunting for supporters throughout the buying process by making them feel valued and important to your brand.

Providing values integrated into your customer relationship development helps your organization Lower supporter churn.

Also, advocate content from within your organization can drive additional sales and passion to your brand, leading to advocate retention. 

Measure customer advocacy program KPIs, commonly referred to as customer success KPIs. These are the activities needed to measure your customer experience strategy.

Now that you have established customer advocacy activities, how do you measure it? 

To track success, you need to either directly follow the effective action taken or measure the difference in performance with commercial or employee-based activities. You can't rely on a single measurement, but you can use trends to track the progress. Anyone who's been involved in more than one advocacy marketing activity will recognize the difference in the success of each activity. The goal of a customer advocacy program is achieving a specific metric (e.g., Net Promoter Score) that you can use to track performance and measure success.

Bottom Line

Create a holistic view of your increasingly interconnected world. Map all transactions carried out on your customer networks. Measure how your loyal customers engage with your brand, and for that, an advocate is your best bet.

Customer Advocacy is Still on the Rise

The concept of customer advocacy has gained widespread popularity and adoption in business circles. It has gradually started taking a prominent role in customer engagement and loyalty program performance. Beginning your journey to partaking in the new category of customer-centric programs is an exciting and highly achievable dream.

The key to a successful and productive advocate-customer relationship will be a blend of effective advocacy tactics and an Incentive program. A customer advocacy program gives you a rapidly-growing channel to raise your customers' spirits to continue professional development and support your business.

Let us help you to decide the right strategy and initiatives that will help you achieve your goals.

Did this answer your questions?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions, and expert tips. 

I'd love the opportunity to connect with you via Zoom video to talk about what's working well at your company relating to growth for sales, marketing, service, people and technology. 

Help me find my "WOW" 

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