Meet Your 2018 Advocamp Field Day Speakers

Chris Newton

Advocamp is right around the corner, and we have an incredible lineup of speakers this year. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to a few of them.

But first, you may have noticed that Advocamp looks a little different in 2018. On October 3, 2018, Advocamp Field Day will make its debut. We’re bringing the experience to the world stage, while keeping it closer than ever.

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If you’re already familiar with Advocamp and are wondering what exactly “Field Day” is, it’s a whole new spin on the Advocamp Experience.

Some things will remain the same: Advocamp is still the world’s largest customer advocacy, engagement and experience event of the year. You can expect many amazing speakers, educational sessions, and opportunities to network with other industry professionals around all things advocacy.

But some things are different: For starters, we’re hosting the entire conference online. Some of the sessions will be broadcast live from Toronto, while many other speakers will be coming to you from all over. If you can’t make it in-person, you can tune in from wherever you are in the world. New elements like discussion forums for each session will enable deeper engagement with our expert speakers and new networking opportunities with peers before, during, and after the event. Attending Advocamp has never been easier (or more affordable!)

For those joining us in Toronto, we’re excited to invite you to our office on October 2nd—the day before the conference—to meet our team in person and see where the magic happens. We can’t wait to meet you!

influitive's hq

A peek inside Influitive’s Toronto headquarters

By bringing the the conference to the global stage, we’ve been able to attract more amazing speakers. (Many of them will be joining remotely themselves!)

So without further ado, we’re excited to present our Advocamp Field Day 2018 speakers! Meet them below.

april dunford

Why I believe advocacy is so fundamentally powerful

We don’t believe much of what brands have to say about themselves anymore—instead, we’re looking for what real customers have to say. Advocates are powerful because they have credibility and can speak to customers in a way that brands fundamentally cannot. As buyers, we want to hear from people like us—people who have experienced our frustrations and can credibly say “We are just like you and here’s what we did.”

Advocates are powerful because they have credibility and can speak to customers in a way that brands fundamentally… Click To Tweet

The brands I advocate for (and what they’ve done to cement my loyalty)

I advocate for a lot of consumer brands that I love and they have cemented that loyalty by producing great products. Anyone that has ever talked to me about running knows I am married to my Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes and I’ve got an unreasonable love for Lamy fountain pens. Do I wish they did more to recognize me or work with me? Absolutely! I’m a big fan regardless, but I’m absolutely an untapped resource for the brands I rave about.

How I see customer advocacy changing over the next 10 years:

I think we are still in the early days of advocacy. I still see a bit of confusion between advocates and influencers and people sometimes use those terms interchangeably. I think we will see some disillusionment around the use of influencers (particularly celebrities and particularly for B2B brands) and see some of that interest and focus shift toward working with advocates.

What I’m going to talk about at Advocamp this year

My expertise is around positioning, so I’m going to talk about how to use positioning to help shape how customers see the market that you operate in. It’s a talk about harnessing market forces and how advocates fit into that.

My favorite things to do in Toronto

Toronto is a great place to drink beer! Barhop is dangerously close to the Influitive office, but further afield the Bellwoods Brewery is in a cool part of town with great restaurants. Birreria Volo is on the College Street strip. The Amsterdam Brewhouse comes with a nice view of the lake and the Millstreet Brew Hall is in the art-filled Distillery District. You could do a nice tour of Toronto by drinking in each of these places! Just maybe don’t visit them all on the same night.

The best book I’ve read recently

I just finished Rand Fishkin’s book Lost and Founder which I would describe as a cut-the-crap guide to what startups are really like. For anyone who’s been in the trenches of startup stuff for a few years, this book is a welcome dose of the honest truth.

Find April on LinkedIn or Twitter.

don peppers

Why I believe advocacy is so fundamentally powerful

A customer advocate wants your business to succeed because they’ll benefit themselves from your success. It’s really that simple. Whenever you make a genuinely emotional connection with a customer, or when the customer feels that you’re always on their side and protecting their own interests – that’s the kind of relationship that leads someone to become a customer advocate.

The brands I advocate for (and what they’ve done to cement my loyalty)

I am an avid advocate for Amazon, USAA, and American Express. Each of these brands, at one point or another, has either reached out to help me to protect my own interest, even when it wasn’t economic (in the short term) for them to do so, or has forged an emotional bond, based on values and personal attributes.

For example, USAA once advised me that I should buy less home insurance from them than I thought I needed, based on the fact that I had overlooked the value of the land my house was built on (and the land value itself didn’t need insurance protection from fire, theft, flood, etc).

How I see customer advocacy changing over the next 10 years

As technology continues to streamline the customer experience, we can expect a great deal of the competitive battle to shift. Today most companies have their hands full just trying to take the unnecessary friction out of their customer experience. And taking friction out of the CX has the added benefit of reducing a company’s operating costs, which are quite easily measured.

But within 10 years, customer advocacy will become a key competitive differentiator, if not the key differentiator. At this point, however, companies will no longer be able to justify their spending based on immediate cost savings and revenue upticks. Instead, they will have to begin estimating the actual value of a customer’s long-term loyalty and support.

What I’m going to talk about at Advocamp this year

Among other things, I’ll be discussing the three most important steps for converting loyal customers into genuine customer advocates:

1) Showing empathy,
2) Demonstrating trust, and
3) Making a human connection.

The best book I’ve read recently

My favourite books are always the ones I start to read purely for business purposes, but then they also turn out to be fun. And Influitive’s own Mark Organ’s book, The Messenger is the Message, definitely falls into that category.

For pure business entertainment I would highly recommend John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, the story of the greed, deceit and borderline psychotic behaviors that surrounded the rise and fall of one of Silicon Valley’s most darling unicorns, the biotech company Theranos.

Find Don on LinkedIn or Twitter.

sangram vajre

Why I believe advocacy is so fundamentally powerful

Advocacy is the currency with which great companies trade. Without a community, you are merely building a commodity, and that’s no fun.

The brands I advocate for (and what they’ve done to cement my loyalty)

I advocate for Drift, Hubspot, Salesforce, Gainsight, and of course, Terminus because they all lead with a #CommunityFirst mindset.

How I see customer advocacy changing over the next 10 years

Today, advocacy is an afterthought. In years to come, it will be how great companies lead—they’ll not only focus on customers, but also future customers.

What I’m going to talk about at Advocamp this year

I’ll be talking about “the authenticity curve” and how you can humanize customer experience at every stage of your business to better engage your current and future customers.

What I’m most looking forward to at Advocamp

I’m excited to meet amazing new friends from great tech companies.

The best book I’ve read recently

It’s a tie between the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Behind The Cloud. Both books talk about a central concept that never changes: if you are on your customer’s side, you will win.

Find Sangram on LinkedIn or Twitter.

amy bills

Why I believe advocacy is so fundamentally powerful

The currency of customer advocacy is authenticity, and there is nothing more valuable. Genuine insight, opinions, and shared experience are highly sought after and obviously not something a company can fabricate. Advocates provide an authentic viewpoint that is in demand—everyone is interested in the opinions of their peers—and breaks through the noise.

The brands I advocate for (and what they do to cement my loyalty)

I am a big fan of organizations that clearly empower their employees to provide a great customer experience. And I am not a fan of organizations that espouse customer experience, but don’t carry that through to the way they engage their employees. When the workforce is miserable and does not feel connected to their own employer, it’s very easy to tell from the experience they provide the customer. Conversely, when companies carry a culture of service and innovation all the way through to their employees, those employees can in turn deliver on that culture to their customers.

How I see customer advocacy changing over the next 10 years

One of the big challenges for practitioners who want to create advocacy programs is building a business case to demonstrate that advocacy can impact growth, retention, and efficiency. It sometimes requires a leap of faith, one that forward looking leaders are willing to take. As advocacy programs mature and innovate, the ability to connect advocacy to those objectives will improve. That will make it easier for the next wave to justify investment.

What I’m going to talk about at Advocamp this year

There is a misconception that the time to create advocates is after they have been part of your community for a long time. In my session, “More than the Endgame: Activating Advocates throughout the Customer Journey,” I am going to talk about all of the places during the customer journey where advocates can be created and activated. Customer advocacy is about so much more than asking someone to be a reference because they have used your product for 10 years.

The best book I’ve read recently

I loved Setting the Table by Danny Meyer, the restaurateur behind Union Square Café and ShakeShack. This is a book about the hospitality business, yes, but many of its tenets are applicable anywhere—empowering employees; hiring not only for skills, but also for attitude; and taking risks based on personal convictions.

Find Amy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Why I believe advocacy is so fundamentally powerful

Now more than ever, people have the power to shape brands and products. Word-of-mouth drives nearly 20% of purchase decisions. Without an active advocacy program, business leaders are leaving a large percentage of their opportunity on the table. Why wouldn’t you want to capitalize on it?

The brands I advocate for (and what they’ve done to cement my loyalty)

I’m a fan of companies that have take a unique approach to their business and their product. MailChimp is one of my favorite B2B brands. They’ve been so mindful about including their product mascot (Freddie, the cheerful chimp) through the product experience, beyond just their marketing efforts. It’s a delight to use, and it’s fun to talk about. That’s a magic for formula for any B2B brand.

How I see customer advocacy changing over the next 10 years

Marketing strategy is going through a major shift right now. Word-of-mouth and advocacy weren’t really major strategic imperatives even a few years ago, but because of the changing nature of customer behavior, they’ve become a mandate. Few companies have an actual plan to create advocacy and word-of-mouth, and I believe that will change in the coming years.

What I’m going to talk about at Advocamp this year

I’ll be unveiling my brand new book, Talk Triggers, which will be released the same week as Advocamp. I wrote this book with my good friend and colleague Jay Baer, and frankly think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done professionally. Talk triggers are strategic, operational differentiators that compel word-of-mouth, much like MailChimp’s Freddie. We looked at companies that are killing it with word-of-mouth and customer experience, and outlined the simple 6-step process for building talk triggers that ignite word of mouth and customer advocacy.

The best book I’ve read recently

I like Talk Triggers, as you might expect. But as an introvert, I’m also a mega-fan of Susan Cain’s Quiet, now in its fifth year. It goes beyond just making you ponder, it’s also quite practical.

Find Daniel on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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