Irresistible Incentives That Motivate And Engage Customer Advocates

In a previous blog post, I explained how the majority of customer advocates are motivated by Status, Access, Power or Stuff (SAPS).

After you understand where your advocates fall in the SAPS framework, you can create advocate marketing challenges that speak to their motivations. If you do this well, advocates will find your rewards so irresistible that they will drop whatever they are doing to take action on your behalf.

Here are some incentives that will engage advocates in every level of the SAPS pyramid:

success1. Status: Help your advocates show off their expertise

The Status motivator recognizes advocates as highly respected individuals or leaders. You can engage them by:

  • Inviting them to speak at an event.
  • Featuring their insights in one of your publications. For example, you can interview them for your blog or newsletter.
  • Creating a case study about an innovative way that they used your product or service.
  • Including leaderboards in your advocate marketing dashboard. That way, when they log in, they will see how they compare with others in the system. If they are very active in your advocate marketing program, a leaderboard will also show off their status and authority.

2. Access: Treat your customers like rockstars

To motivate advocates through Access you should give them the VIP treatment. Here are some ways to treat your customers like rock stars:

  • Invite them to a private party or dinner where they can network with people in your company and other VIP customers.
  • Give them access to things that most of your other customers don’t get, such as your CEO’s direct email or phone number.
  • Provide them with a personalized service. For example, makeup-retailer Sephora gives some of its VIP customers a free 45-minute makeover.
  • Give them insider discounts and perks.
  • Do something that is customized specifically for them. For example, in our Demandbase success story, we mentioned how the company’s Customer Success Manager sent a customer a Breaking Bad T-shirt because she knew how much he loved the show. Now, whenever he gets a compliment on the T-shirt, he thinks of Demandbase.

3. Power: Let advocates make an impact

When you use Power as a motivator, you let advocates know that their opinions matter and they have the ability to influence your company. Give them incentives that will allow them to make an impact, such as:

  • Inviting them to participate in a beta test, where they will have direct input into your next product or update.
  • Asking them for feedback and applying it to your products, services or customer support.
  • Electing an advocate to moderate a discussion or forum thread.

stuff4. Stuff: Use freebies to engage new advocates

You can offer advocates free Stuff as an incentive for completing a challenge or simply to help them get on board. Ideas for tangible rewards include:

  • Gift cards
  • Technology (e.g., the hottest tablet or smartwatch)
  • Catered lunches
  • Your product or service
  • Swag

In general, the advocates at the top of the SAPS pyramid are the “celebrities” who already have everything in the lower levels. I generally follow the rule of thumb that you typically spend more money on Stuff to engage new advocates, and then dedicate more time to engaging those who want Status, Access and Power.

Remember to take the time to appeal to your advocates’ motivations. This can bring you long-term gains, such as happier customers, increased referrals and greater sales.

B2B marketing personaseBook series: Engaging Your Advocates

This eBook series explores the art and science behind engaging advocates in different industries, including:

  • Insight into the advocate persona (e.g., IT, HR, sales, etc.)
  • Key challenges and how to address them
  • Ideas from real advocate marketing programs
  • Tips from marketers who have experience working with each persona

Download your advocate type eBook now