I want you to meet a pretty cool guy (IMHO): Truman Tang, Director of Marketing, Customer and Advocacy, at Influitive.
He’s the mastermind behind our incredible advocate marketing program, Influitive VIP. Truman’s got a pretty long list of accomplishments under his belt, like driving 1,000 customer referrals in a year, running highly effective ABM campaigns with our advocates, and inspiring all of our customers to achieve success with their advocate marketing programs.
He’s achieved all of these things because he has a super-power: creating powerful, long-term relationships with our customer advocates—a forgotten art amongst marketers.
Truman has received an awesome new opportunity (at Google!) and will be leaving Influitive.
Everyone—and I mean everyone—at Influitive will miss him greatly. He’s an awesome team member, a creative marketer, and a friend or mentor to nearly everyone he meets.
But there’s another group of people who are going to miss him: our advocates—the people he’s spent four years educating and guiding. He’s been one of their main touchpoints with our company.
Here’s some of the most heartfelt responses we got from our advocates when we asked them—without any incentive—to send us a goodbye message for Truman:
“Getting to work with Truman has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. I hope to have the opportunity to work with him again!”
“At an advocacy meetup in Boston, Truman started talking about admins and AdvocateHubs he particularly enjoyed. He singled me out, saying he thought what I was doing in particular was really cool. It made me feel like a million dollars. I never told him, but it gave me a huge boost in my confidence. I’ll miss these types of interactions…Truman has an uncanny ability to make those around him feel good about themselves, and the work they’re doing.”
“Truman, you showed me that being an advocate marketer is so much more than referrals and reviews. It is all about building relationships and trust and creating a win-win situation for clients, the company, and myself. Thank you for all of your help and support. I’ll miss seeing your smiling face in VIP.”
“Truman is a talented marketer who thinks outside of the box as it relates to advocacy. He’s really inspired me to think of how I can make my advocate marketing program better and report on those results.”
“Thanks for making the AdvocateHub so fun, but also for providing a ton of value to all of us! You made an online platform really personable with your unique approach and awesome personal touches! Best of luck in your new position. You will be missed!”
The affinity our advocates attach to Truman is quite strong. To them, he’s been a guide, cheerleader and friend.
His passion is one of the main reasons our customer advocates are invested in our platform, loyal to our brand, and delivering results to their own companies.
So, the big question is: how do you keep your advocates’ passion going if your advocate marketer moves on?
What to do when a key player departs your advocacy team
Here are a few ways you can make the transition smoother for your advocates:
1. Clearly communicate with advocates
Be sure to announce any transitions at the right way, and at the right time, to your advocates.
Truman made a heartfelt good-bye video for our advocates a few days before his departure.
Next, we introduced the person who would be running our program (Ashley Duffy!) in the interim, so advocates can put a friendly face to the program. Transparency is key in any handoffs.
Then, we asked advocates to send goodbye messages to Truman so they felt involved.
Make your communications heartfelt, creative and personal. Formal or stiff announcements will work against the meaningful relationships your advocate marketer has worked so hard to create.
2. Get a state of affairs report
Before they depart, make sure your advocate marketer has outlined:
- Any advocacy campaigns still running that need monitoring. Advocates won’t want to be left in the dark if they’ve submitted a referral, or were told they’d be featured in a case study, etc.
- Any upcoming or scheduled advocacy campaigns or requests going out that need to be handled by other team members (i.e. requests for product feedback, references, etc.)
- Outstanding rewards advocates are expecting
- Your program’s budget forecast
- The communications plan for announcing the departure to your advocates
3. Don’t silo advocacy
Your entire company should be interacting with advocates through your advocate marketing program. After all, advocacy benefits your whole company—not just the marketing department.
Plus, this cross-departmental collaboration will soften the blow when a key player leaves because all of your advocate relationships won’t have been in the hands of one person. (There are tons of easy ways to get your whole company excited about your advocate marketing program.)
Ask other teams to step in and help with advocacy requests until you find your new advocate marketer. Which brings us to our final point…
4. Find the right replacement
The best advocate marketers are creative and results-driven, but they’re also masters at building 1:1 human connections, both online and off. This job description covers the qualities and experience you should be looking for in your new advocate marketer.
Why long-term advocacy matters
Can you imagine the loyalty your customers would have for your brand if they felt closer to the real people behind your product or solution?
Some of your customers may already have these types of relationships with some customer-facing employees in your support or success teams. However, your marketing team can help your advocates elevate their careers, feature them in content and build incredible customer experiences for them. This will inspire your customers to become zealous advocates who promote your brand.
Plus, once someone is an advocate, no matter where they go in their career, they’re more likely to take your solutions with them. This is what Jason Lemkin refers to as “second-order revenue”.
If you’re curious about how to start systematically creating strong customer relationships to achieve your marketing, sales and retention goals, there’s a list of Truman’s best advocate marketing advice at the end of this blog.
On a final note, from all of Influitive’s advocates, employees, and partners, we wish Truman well in his new role! His impact won’t ever be forgotten. I can honestly say that I, along with many of our customers, will be life-long advocates of his.
More advocate marketing resources:
- If you’re wondering what an advocate marketing program is or does read this.
- Get Truman’s top dashboards for measuring advocate marketing success.
- Learn about the four motivators that inspire customers to advocate for your company.