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For years, Wiley has set the gold standard for customer experience, and they have the award hardware to boot! Most recently, the Wiley team took home the award for Biggest Impact on Customer Experience at the 2020 BAMMIES.

On April 29, we chatted with Nicole Dingley, VP of Marketing, and Jessica Mitchell, Customer Advocacy Program Manager, the customer advocacy veterans behind Wiley’s advocate communities.

In this Influitive Spotlight Recap, you’ll learn about the role advocacy plays across Wiley’s entire organization, how they prove ROI, drive reviews, foster customer loyalty, and how they think about advocacy vs. community.

Q: Where does Wiley’s advocacy program fit into the organization and how does it shape or influence \ other departments?

Advocacy is  part of nearly everything we do. When we make our strategic decisions for the year, regardless of the particular objectives, there’s always a question of “how will we use advocates to help us make it happen?”

For example, we reached out to our product marketers and asked the question, “How are you going to use this this year? How can we help you achieve your goals for the year? What will success look like?” They may answer that they’d like to grow a new product line. Then we ask, “Can we help you get more customer feedback? Can we run a pilot program where we monitor and connect with beta testers in our closed community? How can we help you get there?” We want to help our teammates across the company achieve their goals.

We are always trying to figure out how we can lean on our advocates. Maybe it’s that they’re going to produce content that a prospect would want to read about, or they’ll provide us with ideas for teaching techniques. There’s really a million ways that you can use advocates within your marketing goals and plan.

Q: How do you prove or demonstrate the ROI of Wiley’s advocacy program? 

Soon after launching the community, we were able to lean on our top customer advocates to help out with key opportunities that were at risk at churning. That helped us demonstrate ROI right from the start.

We track nearly all advocate activities and use Influitive’s in-app reporting and ROI tool to measure the overall return on investment. Additionally, we measure ROI as it relates to opportunities in Salesforce. With the integration between our Influitive hub and Salesforce, we’re able to keep a close eye on what opportunities our advocates are influencing and whether those opportunities turn into closed deals. When you know how the program’s impacting the bottom line, that’s how you justify it and gain internal buy in. 

Q: What techniques do you use to foster loyalty among community members over time, especially for multi-year members?

We employ a discover, nurture and mobilize strategy. We’re always discovering new advocates, nurturing the ones that are in the program and then mobilizing them to do acts of advocacy at key times. 

We also make sure that we balance all of our content in the community so that we’re not asking for too much at one time. We strike a balance of posting a good blend of fun and strategic campaigns. We do this on a quarterly basis to make sure that we’re creating a top-notch experience for our community members. We’re also monitoring what’s in our discussion forums and keeping an eye on what people are talking about. We try our best to ensure that the content is relevant to everyone. 

We also strategize to ensure our community is primed for key time-periods throughout the year. For example, back to school is an important time of year for publishers and educators, so we tie our quantity of available community content to that time as we know our members are more likely to engage with the community then.

Q: How do you get your advocates to write reviews for you on G2? 

Often what we do to drive more G2 reviews is weave the ask into one or more of our strategic campaigns. For example, right before COVID began, we did a PI Day campaign where we said we would give members a gift card to a pizza place in exchange for writing a review. Our advocates could choose which restaurant they wanted a gift card to, and the results were fantastic.

Another campaign we ran to drive more reviews took place on Valentine’s Day. We made an “All You Need is Love” campaign and in one of the challenges we used the ‘box of chocolates’ metaphor from the movie Forrest Gump. We showed a picture of a box of chocolates and said, “It’s always nice to know what you’re getting yourself into before adopting a product or solution. That’s why honest reviews are so meaningful.” 

Q: Do you manage a customer community and advocacy program? 

Our customer community and advocacy program is together as one big program! Influitive helps us provide the value that members expect from a community. Simultaneously, we’re trying to nurture and build advocates that will help us promote the Wiley brand. We see advocacy and community, which are often two separate programs, to really work well hand-in-hand for us. 

We believe that it’s much less confusing when our customer advocates  have just one single place to go. We also find this helps with serving up new content. When there’s new content to add, we can really focus on providing a single quality resource since it’s going to one place and doesn’t need to be repurposed for a separate medium. The content tends to come across more genuine and less manipulated.

Additionally, we think that creating an environment of reciprocity is very important. We’re not asking our customers to be in multiple places, with each asking for activities. We don’t want to over ask and throw off the balance of reciprocity.  And a single advocacy community helps us do that. I use the example of that friend that asks you to help them move five times in a row but never says thank you. On that sixth time, you might be “busy” because there was no reciprocity,and t’s the same for your advocates. If you have lots of expectations for them in your community, but you’re not giving them any rewards and you’re not helping with their experience, then they’re not going to engage for long. We always try to think about how we can help our community members and advocates. If we help them first, they’ll often want to help us in return, and it’s a true win-win. 

Listen to the full webinar recording to hear more from Nicole and Jessica about their customer communities powered by Influitive. Be sure to check out our Webinars page for upcoming customer spotlights.