Who Do You Want Your Advocates To Become?

transforming customers to advocates

Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?” is the title of an e-book by Michael Schrage. We made a twist on the title by replacing Customers with Advocates.

With just 89 pages, the book is available only as an e-book, and at a $3, it’s a great value and fascinating quick read with insights pertaining to anyone who is involved in marketing, product development or customer service.

We liked the book because it is intimately related to the relationship between a company and their customers. And that is at the heart of turning customers into brand advocates. For Influitive, we are slightly biased because we see almost everything that touches the customer as an opportunity for Advocate Marketing.

The book focuses on what happens to your customers when they start using your products to the point where they are transformed by it. We believe that in this process, they also transform from customers into brand advocates.

The author uses several cases from companies and their products to illustrate this transformative aspect. “Successful innovators don’t just ask customers and clients to do something different; they ask them to become someone different.” Here are some examples:

  • Ford’s Model T turned ordinary people into drivers
  • Toyota’s Prius owners become environmentally responsible and ecologically correct
  • Facebook asks its users to become more open and sharing with their personal information
  • Google asked customers to become “instant searchers”

Schrage proceeds by giving us 6 key insights with practical implications for any serious innovators, marketers, and strategists who want their customers to reach this transformative journey:

  1. Invest in the capabilities and competencies of your customers.
  2. Innovate in designing customers, not just new products and services or new user experiences.
  3. Ensure your corporate vision and mission statements reflects your vision of the customer.
  4. Align customer with user experience.
  5. If you can’t be your own best beta, find and design the customers who can.
  6. Anticipate and manage the dark side of The Ask, which helps to identify the innovation’s risk. He calls it the “innovator’s ask” in contrast with Clayton Christensen’s “innovator’s dilemma”. (This final step takes a bit longer to explain, and requires a reading of that chapter)

Schrage challenges us with a final “macro-ask”: “if your customer were a product or a service, what would its most valuable and appealing attributes be?”

You need to be able to answer this fundamental question.

At Influitive, we focus on the customer advocate experience, and in the process we help them become better and more valuable customers for you. They become gold mines of advocacy that can drive exponential value for your business. Your customers aren’t just clients or users and their value is certainly higher than the price they pay to use your products.

That’s our “Ask” and how we think our product transforms our customers.

It’s a tall ask, but it follows what Schrage says: “Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their businesses. Their innovations make customers better and make better customers.”

Michael Schrage’s concept is important for customer advocacy because once your customers have experienced the transformative effects of your products; they become the perfect advocates for them.

Your turn: How are your product innovations transforming your customers?

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