Welcome to Advocamp

Advocamp, the biggest customer engagement and advocacy event of the year, kicked off bright and early this morning. Excited campers from across the globe filed into the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, which was transformed into a sprawling campground.

Campers were greeted with an immersive camping decor theme complete with evergreen trees, log stumps, and unbeatable lakefront views—minus the sunburn.

Advocate marketing workshops

The day began with two tracks of educational workshops led by Influitive’s services team. Kaitlin Ross (Enterprise Consultant) laid down the foundations of advocate marketing, while Deena Zenyk (Director of the Centre of Excellence), and Liz Richardson (Director of Client Services) gave an advanced look at the Discover, Nurture, Mobilize advocate marketing framework, and the campaigns-based approach to customer engagement.

Head Counselor Buck kicks off Advocamp

The event officially kicked off at 1pm, with Head Camp Counsellor Buck on hand to welcome everyone to their first day of camp.

Counselor Buck challenged everyone to take on his Grandpappy’s mission to bring advocacy to new departments in 2018

He even shared some home-made crafts with the campers—including a map for CS to guide their customer journey, a customer-centric compass to help guide executives, and a special horn for sales teams to get their customers to do the sales pitching for them.

Mainstage talks

Mark Organ

Next, Influitive CEO and Advocamp founder Mark Organ gave a first look at his “Advocate Marketing 2.0″ framework for mobilizing an army of rabid fans to help solve challenges in every area of your organization—including product development, customer success, and PR. This framework comes from his newly released book The Messenger is the Message: How to Mobilize Customers and Unleash the Power of Advocate Marketing, which was co-authored by Deena Zenyk (and is now available on Amazon.)

Mark introduced the four principles of Advocate Marketing 2.0:

  1. Hear your advocates’ product vision. Then build exactly that.
  2. Everybody has a little bit of advocate in them, even the supposed critics. It’s just a matter of engaging them in the right way.
  3. Your advocates see more than you, so set them free. Your advocates know more about their needs than you ever will, so find ways to unleash their full power.
  4. Empower your advocates, and they will power your growth. If you give your advocates a platform, they’ll surprise you with how much they’re able to help you.

Next up was a series of AMP talks by Aaron Painter (Vice President Of Microsoft China), April Dunford (Founder of Rocket Launch Marketing), Sean Ellis (Founder & CEO of Growthhackers.com), Daniel Lemin (Co-founder of Selectivor & Best-selling Author), and Jon Wuebben (Author of Future Marketing).

The room was rife with a-ha moments and metaphorical light bulbs popping up as these speakers shared stories and big ideas for putting your customer engagement and advocacy at the forefront of your go-to-market strategy.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Aaron Painter

Aaron spoke on the importance of listening to help build relationships, and cultivate respect and loyalty. He shared the example of China Literature, an innovative company which had the largest IPO ever anywhere in the world. The reason they are so successful? Both their product and their business model relies intimately on listening to customers.

Their platform, whose North American counterparts are Kindle and Kobo, is unique because it lets authors contribute to books continuously, and customers can choose to buy only a few chapters of a book. Plus, readers can give feedback directly to authors. Ultimately, Aaron encourages marketers to realize that there’s a lot we can learn from innovations in other countries, industries, and spaces to fuel business growth.

2. April Dunford

April talked about how to use context to help customers understand how awesome your product is. She mentioned a 2007 Washington Post article where a world-renowned violinist played in a subway station. The experimenters expected him to make more money than a regular busker, being of obviously superior quality. Much to everyone’s surprise though, he made a paltry $34.73.

The lesson here? A great product in a lousy context prevents people from recognizing its value. April recommends thinking carefully about the context in which you present your product. Some of the ways we give context to our products are setting prices, highlighting certain features, and choosing to tell specific customer stories.

April encourages marketers to set the right context for their offerings by:

a) Shedding past assumptions about your product and your customers
b) Isolating your key competitive advantages by polling your advocate community
c) Positioning yourself in a market where your unique value is obvious

3. Sean Ellis

Sean talked about the importance of cementing customer loyalty through strategic onboarding. He recommends running experiments to continuously refine your onboarding experience and to drive advocacy at the early implementation stages.

He gave the example of Facebook, where marketers realized that new users needed to add 7 friends within the first 10 days to become a Daily Active User (their North Star Metric). Once the product accomplished that, users were poised for long-term loyalty. Advocacy becomes a function of having a great experience, and users enhance their own experience by inviting friends. This is why advocacy leads to exponential growth.

4. Daniel Lemin

Daniel spoke on how for the first time in 17 years, trust in all four major institutions are declining, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Daniel brought the laughs and showed a hilarious video on the “natural” food ploy to illustrate why consumers no longer trust advertisers:

To get through to jaded consumers, Daniel recommends focusing on the three critical factors to drive loyalty: quality, value, and service.

5. Jon Wuebben

Jon spoke on “Prosumers,” a new breed of consumers who are also producers of content. (Or, in a term he coined 20 minutes before hitting the stage “Prosumer-cates”—that’s Prosumers + advocates!)

User-generated content blurs the line between producers and consumers. The companies that embrace this model where marketing and product ideation are fluidly integrated are the companies who will succeed in today’s landscape.

Jon also recommends bringing creatives to work for you instead of hiring an external agency, who will never understand your business as deeply.

Letting off some steam at the end of the day

Next, campers enjoyed food and drinks, while mingling in a reception generously sponsored by TrustRadius.

Campers connected with one another at the recharging stations, and during networking breaks. They also checked out the general store for camp supplies, and awesome books from speakers at the event.

In the evening, Mark Organ hosted an intimate private gathering to celebrate the customers who contributed to The Messenger is the Message.

After a full day of learning and listening, campers were ready to turn into their tents early to rest up for a full Day 2.

Read all about the adventures of Day 2 and Day 3 here:

Influitive CEO's New Book: The Messenger is the Message
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