Consider the following two scenarios:
- You’re interested in someone and want to go out on a date. You’ve never spoken with them, but you plan to boldly ask them out for Valentine’s Day.
- You’re interested in someone and want to go out on a date. You’ve carefully cultivated the relationship, interacting with him/her on many occasions. Now it’s time to ask them out for Valentine’s Day.
Which gives you the best chance of success?
Most people will intuitively judge scenario 2 to have a higher chance of success. And they’re probably right – Valentine’s Day is certainly special, but it’s also dripping with emotional meaning and commitment. Not necessarily the best day for a first date. So what does this have to do with B2B advocate marketing (come on, you knew there would be an analogy in here somewhere!)
So many B2B marketers jump right in and take a scenario 1 approach to their advocate marketing program. They rely on quick surveys or net promoter scores to figure out who their happiest customers are, and then dive right in with a big ‘ask’ before taking the proper steps to nurture that relationship.
Effective advocate marketing requires a scenario 2 approach, where marketers engage customers over a period of time, develop a level of trust and understand the kind of activities that an advocate is likely to participate in. This leads to higher overall engagement over time, and more meaningful and impactful activities.
This is why Influitive offers an AdvocateHub platform that properly segments activities by the type and experience level of the advocate. For example, you wouldn’t ask a new advocate to speak to an industry analyst until they demonstrated an understanding and enthusiasm for your company vision. Similarly, executive level customers can be fantastic advocates for customer advisory boards, and speaking events, but they don’t necessarily write the best product reviews. We also allow for simple to sophisticated, multi-stage challenges that award advocates with recognition and status as they participate over time. For instance, we offer four levels of relationships out of the box, progressing from ‘Fan’ to ‘Advocate’ to ‘Evangelist’ to ‘Rock star’. This helps marketers better target their ‘asks’ (challenges) to the right type of advocate.
Our own advocates have been instrumental in generating referrals, testimonials, event marketing buzz, product feedback, case studies and more impactful campaigns. However, in achieving these goals, we first nurtured the relationships by employing simple one-stage type challenges such as asking for a follow on twitter. This also makes the new advocate feel more comfortable with the relationship while the points, badges and levels builds their excitement for the next level in the relationship – long before you drop a big ask on them.
Are you ready to take the first step toward a long-lasting, relationship with customers? Check out the advocate marketing experience by trying out Influitive’s advocacy marketing solutions.