5 Ways Customer Advocacy Can Help Engage IT Buyers

IT_marketing_reviews_spiceworks_unplugged_torontoIT pros will go to great lengths to avoid your marketing.

At a recent Spiceworks Unplugged panel in Toronto, IT pros revealed some the tricks they use to bypass marketing.

For example, they’ll read user manuals to see whether a technology product has the features that they need. They think that marketing materials—such as brochures—contain too much fluff. Instead, they want plain info about what your product can and can’t do.

And don’t get them started on gated content. IT pros have a term for downloading a white paper: “downloading a call.” Some IT pros dread calls from salespeople so much that they avoid ALL of their phone calls after they opt in for a white paper.

What IT pros really want: customer advocacy

Instead, IT pros want recommendations from their peers. They’re turning to communities such as Spiceworks for honest reviews. A Google study found that 60 percent of B2B technology buyers look for peer reviews before they make a purchase.

Creating an advocate marketing program that encourages your best customers to get involved in your marketing efforts is the best way to connect with other IT pros. If you can continuously engage your IT advocates, they’ll be happy to give you 5-star reviews, customer referrals, and more. Here’s how:

1. You’ll build a community of peers that they trust.

An advocate marketing program brings your IT customers together in one place where they can share ideas and knowledge. They will turn to each other for reviews and recommendations.

2. You’ll get to know your customers.

If your marketing doesn’t speak to your customers’ top challenges and goals, you’ll miss the mark. The IT pros on the Spiceworks panel said that their top challenge is trying to get a lot done—when they don’t have a lot of time or resources. IT pros’ other top concerns include modernizing data IT infrastructure, security, feeling valued and staying out of the limelight.

Having a community of advocates gives you an insider’s view of what makes your customers tick. You’ll chat with your customers on a daily basis and learn about their top challenges and goals. Then you can address these issues in your marketing. You can also use this information to improve your products and services.

3. You’ll get more product reviews.

Your advocates can provide you with your best product reviews. However, you can’t just ask them to review your stuff. You need to make it fun for IT pros and give them something in return.

Quorum learned that by focusing on what IT pros want, it could dramatically increase its number of reviews. Quorum’s IT advocates enjoy surveys, games and knowledge sharing. When Quorum provided more of these activities in its advocate marketing program, it generated more than 70 Spiceworks reviews and testimonials.

4. Your customers will get more value from your products.

IT pros love to learn. The more knowledge you can give them, the better. Your advocate marketing program can be a great place to offer tips and training on how to use your products. This will help your advocates get more value from your product—which makes them more likely to write reviews and refer others to you.

5. IT pros will appreciate the recognition.  

IT pros are often isolated from their colleagues and don’t feel appreciated. While they don’t want to be thrust into the spotlight, they enjoy being noticed by their peers. Providing them with a space where they can learn, connect with others and have fun is a great way to recognize them for all that they do.

IT pros also like rewards. The Spiceworks panelists said that they love swag. Offering your IT advocates rewards for completing tasks—such as sharing your content or writing a product review—can help build more loyalty.

Creating a community of IT advocates can turn the tide for your B2B marketing. Instead of avoiding your phone calls and content, IT pros will be happy to help you out when you ask.

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3 Responses to 5 Ways Customer Advocacy Can Help Engage IT Buyers

  1. […] Davin turned to his advocates—Intuit QuickBase’s power users—to help make this […]

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  3. […] and how they were marketing themselves. For example, there’s a social networking site called Spiceworks completely devoted to IT pros. I noticed how successful marketers were encouraging customers and […]

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