advocatesAdvocate marketing is an increasingly hot trend among B2B marketers. This Thursday at 10:00 am Pacific, Jim Williams from Influitive and Craig Rosenberg from TOPO and the Funnelholic are presenting a webinar covering the basics behind how advocate marketing works, plus announcing the release of the first, definitive playbook on Advocate Marketing.

In advance of their event, I interviewed Jim to get a better understanding of Advocate Marketing.

What is advocate marketing?
Advocate Marketing is a discipline that helps businesses capture the enthusiasm of their customers, partners and fans, and turn that into a powerful force for igniting business growth. By mobilizing product and company evangelists, B2B marketers exponentially increase their marketing reach and revenue potential, while offering a superior buyer experience.

Why should organizations care about advocate marketing?
Today’s B2B buyers are tuning out marketing and sales messages and, instead, are leveraging knowledgeable peers to make purchasing decisions. Why? People trust their peers much more than salespeople or marketers. Plus, peer-to-peer information gathering is easier than ever thanks to social media, product review sites and, of course, email.

Tapping into that trust through advocate marketing can benefit your business in so many ways:

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Better buyer experience
  • Better brand recognition and reputation
  • More high-quality referral leads
  • Higher customer lifetime value
  • Bigger deal sizes
  • Lower lead generation and sales costs
  • Simpler management and mobilization of customer references
  • Higher customer satisfaction

What are some use-cases or applications of advocate marketing that you can provide to help readers understand what it is?
There’s a long list of use cases for advocate marketing, but here are a few good examples:

  • Reviews – Ask your advocates to rate and review your product on one of the many of product review sites out there
  • Social media and content marketing – Provide a link and ask your advocates to tweet, comment, answer or post to spread the word and boost engagement
  • Product feedback – Put out a call for feedback and gather your advocates’ responses in a survey
  • Referrals – Advocates are your best source for referral leads, which are 10x more valuable than inbound web leads and 22x more valuable than direct sales leads
  • Have fun – Marketers who think outside the box can even execute crazy campaigns, like getting advocates to dance in a flashmob at an annual conference (which one of our clients actually did)

 
Advocate marketing is a new concept, what will this movement look like two-three years from now?
Advocate marketing will be the glue that holds all of the different pieces that make a successful B2B company together, such as demand generation, inbound and content marketing, sales enablement, customer engagement and product development.

As a result, advocate-centric companies will be the norm rather than the exception, meaning that advocates will have a seat at the table of nearly every function in an organization, including marketing, sales, product design and development and customer success.

Rather than being an afterthought, advocate participation and feedback will automatically be built into the strategies and day-to-day operations of each of these areas, and the various departments be measured, at least in part, on how well they mobilized advocates to meet their objectives.

Check out the webinar and get a copy of the advocate marketing playbook by registering here.