Victoria LaPlante

Every year, we recognize some of the most engaging marketing campaigns through The Best Advocate Marketing Awards. Also known as The BAMMIES, these awards shine a spotlight on B2B companies who are using the enthusiasm of their customers, partners and fans to fuel business growth.

Honors are awarded in 10 key categories that recognize creative excellence, innovation and results in advocate marketing. (See the full list of awards and winners here.)

Here are five advocate marketing lessons from the winners that you can use to transform your business. To read all the winners’ stories, download our new eBook: 10 Award-Winning Advocate Marketing Success Stories.

1. Make referrals fun

Blackbaud, winner of the Best Referral Program Award, created a series of easy and engaging challenges for customers to do through their advocate marketing program, Blackbaud Champions. For every act of advocacy members completed, they received rewards and recognition. Once customers became engaged in the program, they were invited to take part in a month-long referral contest for prizes.

michaelbeahm“We were expecting only a small uptick when we launched Blackbaud Champions,” says Michael Beahm, Blackbaud’s Customer Advocate Marketing Manager. “However, we quickly saw that when you ask advocates to do one thing, they’ll do much more.”

The program generated a year’s worth of referrals in three months, and $213,000 in new revenue.

2. Educate first, earn reviews second

InsightSquared, winner of the Best Product Review Campaign Award, wanted to grow their presence on review websites like G2 Crowd, TrustRadius and GetApp.

But before requesting any reviews from their customers, InsightSquared ensured that advocates understood the company’s products and culture through their advocate marketing program, The Square. Advocates progressed through a series of fun and educational challenges in the program before being asked if they would recommend InsightSquared. This way, customers were engaged with the brand, and could give genuine reviews.

JAckie Shydlowski insightsqauredInsightSquared hoped to get 10 reviews across several review sites in three months. Instead, they blew past their initial goal and received 100+ customer reviews through the program. “This new presence has been a driving force behind several review-based sales inquiries,” says Jackie Shydlowski, Advocate and Digital Marketing at InsightSquared.

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3. Let advocates take the lead in your online communities

Hootsuite, winner of the Best Social Engagement Award, connected their global user community with their super users, the Hootsuite Ambassadors, through an advocate marketing program. They encouraged all members of the program to share new content from Hootsuite and its Ambassadors. Ambassadors were also asked to publicly welcome new community members on Twitter. Both groups benefited from the arrangement by learning from one another and building their professional networks.

Steph_Wiriahardja-66094_125x125“The Hootsuite Ambassadors are highly engaged with each other, and they are always ready to share content and contribute to online discussions,” says Stephanie Wiriahardja, Global Community Manager at Hootsuite.

By building a sense of community between members and Ambassadors, Hootsuite received 81 million social impressions and 9,000 content shares across social channels (which received a total of 245,000 clicks).

4. Capture customer happiness at events

samantha brown xmattersxMatters, winners of the Best Use of Advocates at an Event Award, used their Relevance Revolution user conference to let customers share their success stories. “Our marketing team worked together to identify potential customers to speak at our 2014 event, and worked closely with each customer to tell their stories on stage,” says Samantha Brown, Director of Marcom and Brand at xMatters.

By using their customers as speakers, xMatters gathered months of content from customer-led sessions. They also recorded 18 video case studies on-site, which could be used for marketing purposes.

5. Let advocates be the stars of your content

ReadyTalk, winners of the Best Content Creation Award, believes that no one can 
tell their story with more passion than their customers. The brand ran a variety of challenges in the ReadyTalk Summit Club program encouraging their advocates to create, contribute to and share content. For example, they asked advocates to answer three questions about webinar best practices. Then, they published the responses in an eBook called 6 Reasons Why Other Companies’ Webinars Are Better Than Yours.

By letting advocates be the subject matter experts, ReadyTalk was able to exceed its content goals. They also generated 760 net new leads, which resulted in 3 closed-won deals and an extra $60,000 in Bo Bandythe pipeline. “We are investing more resources into our content program and will be working closely with more advocates to give them recognition and exposure through our content,” says Bo Bandy, Marketing Communications Manager, Brand, Content and Customer Advocacy at ReadyTalk.

Get inspired by five more advocate marketing success stories. Download our free 2015 Best Advocate Marketing Awards ebook!

10 Award-Winning Advocate Marketing Success Stories
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