customer_experience_centric_marketing_leads_the_way_advocampIf you’re heading to Advocamp next week, you probably already know this: customer-centric marketers and organizations have a big lead on the competition.

That sounds pretty good—but how do you get there?

Marketing has undergone a massive transformation over the last five years—and its evolution continues. While we all continue to collectively write our own future, there are two clear trends of massive importance:

  • In the coming years, marketers will own the conversation for the entire customer lifecycle—from first touch to last touch.
  • Experiences matter. Successful companies are focused on delivering amazing experiences to their audiences—from first touch to last touch (maybe skipping the “last touch”—it’s an ongoing relationship).

This evolution means marketers need to focus on creating great experiences across the entire customer lifecycle—even after a customer has signed on the dotted line. Demand gen marketers spend a lot of time thinking about the prospect experience. Let’s bring that with us into how we market to and build relationships with advocates.
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What is a great experience?

The best experiences are personal. The waiter knows your name and favorite table. The hotel makes sure to have a room with a king bed for you. The website shows you relevant information that helps you solve your challenges.

Great experiences stand out because so much in marketing lately would fall into the “bad experiences” category. For example:

  • Emails “personalized” to Mark when your name is Monica.
  • Cold calls from salespeople who don’t know your area of responsibilities, your pains or your goals.
  • A grumpy customer service representative.

As Daniel Newman wrote in Forbes, “From customer service to the digital journey to retail ambiance, our association with a brand is based on how it makes us feel.” Leaving your audience with a positive feeling is one of the most powerful things you can do to build brand affinity, both before and after the sale.

Create better experiences

The easiest way to create a better experience is to embrace that it’s not about you, it’s about them. It’s about your advocates, and their needs and their goals—not your product and your features.

Customer-centric marketers are using technologies like interactive content to build those experiences and have conversations anywhere, anytime and in any channel. Interactive experiences like quizzes, calculators, and assessments are particularly useful because they let marketers ask straight questions and get straight answers—rather than guessing based on “digital body language.”

This is a powerful approach when working with advocates, helping them discover the information they’re looking for while adding more intelligence for marketers to keep the conversation going.

Here are 3 ways to use customer-focused interactive content to deliver more value to your advocates:

1. Help your advocates identify a great referral

An interactive assessment delivers one of several potential outcomes based on how your customer answered questions. A great use case for this type of experience is to help your advocates decide if someone they know would be a great fit for your product or service.

Design an assessment that contains the most important qualifying questions for referrals, from industry to number of employees to top business priorities. Your advocate will be able to more easily identify whether their referral is a good fit, enabling them to send better referrals to your sales team.

2. Keep advocate profiles up to date

One of my favorite things about an in-person conversation is the unexpected details you learn about the other person. This social aspect of a conversation is typically difficult to replicate in marketing, especially when you have hundreds or thousands of customers. It’s qualitative data that is impossible to get in a generic lead generation form.

Quizzes and assessments are digital fuel for those conversations. Through an assessment, your advocates can share their opinions and priorities to round out their profiles. With a connection to marketing automation, your advocate database will always be up-to-the-moment.

Augmenting your prospect data in this way ensures your profiles are complete, and you know which advocates to reach out to for engagement by persona, industry, vertical, or other priority area.

3. Get to know your advocates as people

Your advocates aren’t just names in a database. They’re people, with quirks and specific interests you can learn to personalize your outreach.

For example, create a fun piece of interactive content that buckets users into different types of superheroes, emojis, or purple squirrels. Those outcomes give you, as a marketer, powerful insights into who your customer is as a person – which means every conversation (in-person or digital) you have from that point on can be tailored to their unique interests.

One of the “secrets” to great experiences is that they feel special or unique to who we are – using your marketing resources to get to know your customers better makes it all the more likely you’ll resonate with them in future interactions.

Engagement Doesn’t Stop at the Dotted Line

It’s tempting to treat advocate marketing and demand gen marketing as two different beasts. But they have more in common than you think: they’re both about creating the best possible experiences for your customers.

Don’t stop engaging with and learning about your customers when they sign on the dotted line. Keep using the tools at your disposal to get to know them better and help them advocate for you.

How do you engage with your advocates? Have you experimented with interactive formats? Let us know in the comments!

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 3.00.12 PMFree eBook: 10 Award-Winning Advocate Marketing Success Stories

Learn how some of the best marketers in the biz are working with their advocates to generate more referrals, produce high-quality content, create better customer experiences, engage audiences on social media and more.

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