As you recruit customers into your advocate marketing program, they become part of a community in which they grow and develop, both personally and professionally. Much like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for human development, advocates have their own needs and motivations as they progress through the customer lifecycle and your advocate marketing program.

As these needs are met, they advance their way up the pyramid until they reach the top.

Take a peek at the infographic below to see what these specific needs are:

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hierarchy of advocate needs-01

Click to view the full-sized infographic.



1. Physical rewards

Located at the bottom of the pyramid, physical gifts are often an exciting opportunity for newly-engaged advocates. They enjoy these tangible rewards that initially motivate them to earn even more points. Tangible rewards typically include branded swag, small-value gift cards or other treats. These “stuff” rewards tend to lose their allure over time, however. Eventually, needs transform into higher-order ones.

2. Recognition

Once an advocate has redeemed a few physical rewards, they often seek other forms of reinforcement and belonging in the advocate marketing program. They want to be recognized as an advocate. A simple thank you card or wishing them happy birthday (they’ll ask, “How did you know?”) can fulfill this need.

The tangible rewards are nice for these advocates, but the positive feedback will be something they desire. It’s also a great way to start building one-to-one relationships with advocates over time.

3. Empowerment

Empowerment addresses the advocate’s desire to have a seat at the table and act like an official member of your team, making suggestions and providing input on decisions. This can be done by soliciting feedback from them or asking their opinion on product features. Your advocate should feel like they are making an impact on your brand and product.

4. VIP experience

Having power over product features is one thing, but eventually your advocate will be excited by the opportunity for VIP access. Giving your advocate access to special events, speaking opportunities or meetings with senior executives makes them feel special.

This level on the pyramid is generally only attainable by your most engaged advocates. These are high-performing members that deserve a premium experience.

5. Influence

While few advocates make it to this tier on the pyramid, they are the best-of-the-best who have had all their other needs fulfilled. As a result, they become your super advocates who will do almost anything for you, including shout from the rooftops about how much they love you.

All you have to do is give them a spotlight and they will revel in the opportunity to become an influencer in your industry. Treating them as a thought leader and inviting them to share their expertise at events or in content will keep them coming back for more.

Bottom line

While there are other motivations that advocate marketing software can provide, such as points, badges and levels, these five needs must be  provided by the program administrator to form and strengthen bonds between your advocates and your brand.

Advcoate Marketing Playbook CompleteTake your customer relationships to the next level with advocate marketing

The Advocate Marketing Playbook is a detailed “how-to” guide for turning your customers into raving brand advocates. Access your free copy to get proven best practices for building and managing a successful advocate marketing program.

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