PeopleMatter CMO: Why Listening Is The Most Powerful Tool In Marketing

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Nancy Sansom, Chief Marketing Officer at PeopleMatter.

We all love a good recommendation. Whether it’s asking about the best place to grab a bite or a beer in a new city, finding the best photographer for your wedding or trying to find someone to fill an open position at your company, recommendations really carry a lot of weight. Sure some of those recommendations lead you astray, but when you get a great one, you remember it.

Both in our personal and professional lives, people appreciate a real, candid recommendation. It’s so much more meaningful when it comes from someone who’s “been there and done that,” rather than right from a sales rep or marketer’s mouth. The fact of the matter is recommendations drive business, and it’s our raving fans who keep the tank full.

We’ve always thanked our awesome clients who’ve been references for us and sent them goodies after the fact to show our appreciation. We even thought we were doing a pretty darn good job! What we didn’t know is how much more we could be doing and how much better we could be doing it.

But then we found Influitive

When we heard about new advocate marketing software company called Influitive, it knocked our socks off. Their message is simple – your customers love you…why not turn your biggest fans into an army of advocates, so they can share the love and get all kinds of great resources at their fingertips in return? Simple, but genius! Hindsight really is 20/20.

Sounds great, but how does it work?

Chances are when you’re looking for a reference, you have a group of people who come to mind right off the bat. Just like when you’re recommending restaurants to friends in town visiting, you have your favorites and probably mention the same few every time. But maybe there’s a whole crop of restaurants out there that are amazing, you’ve just never actually tried them.

The folks at Influitive get that. They know that maybe you have a sea of clients, but you aren’t able to connect with all of them all the time. Influitive helps you discover, reach and mobilize your fan base. The most powerful marketing is the voice of our customers, so just like the famous quote from Jerry McGuire, Influitive “had us at hello.”

peoplematter rockstarsHow exactly do you capture all that customer enthusiasm? Influitive has advocate marketing software called AdvocateHub, which is basically a fancy name for an online community in which you invite your customers to join. Every company gets to rename their AdvocateHub something that matches their brand. We chose PeopleMatter Rockstars, because, let’s be honest…our customers really do rock.

It’s still a two-way street

So what’s in it for them? A lot. It’s a professional network to connect with others just like them. It’s an opportunity to access a boatload of educational resources. And it’s fun. We create all kinds of challenges – everything from posing get-to-know-you questions and asking for product feedback to asking them to share tweets or raise their hand to be part of a case study or press release. There truly is something for everyone.


Challenges = cha-ching!

Here’s the best part. As clients complete those challenges, they rack up points. And those points are like money in the bank. They can be traded in for all sorts of sweet prizes. Did we mention iPad minis, gift cards, LinkedIn upgrades, special professional services and PeopleMatter swag?



The rewards are about recognition. We want our fans to know how much they mean to us, because without them, we wouldn’t be here.

Our team members matter, too

Another major bonus of partnering with Influitive? We’re also asking the entire PeopleMatter team to join a separate community within PeopleMatter Rockstars. It offers lots of similar perks – connecting with departments outside of their own, asking the senior management team their burning questions and driving company culture with fun challenges.

For our team, just as with our customers, it’s about recognizing how much we value each and every person who makes up PeopleMatter. It’s also about keeping everyone engaged. When people feel involved and appreciated, they’re happier and more productive.

This is just the beginning

We just launched PeopleMatter Rockstars a few weeks ago and our customers have already completed 647 challenges! Some have even said it’s straight up addicting! And even more of them are chiming in and giving us great feedback. They not only have amazing ideas for challenges and rewards, but also suggestions on how to make PeopleMatter and the Rockstars community even more beneficial for them.

And that’s what it’s all about. We always knew our customers’ voices were the most important, we just needed an extra set of ears to make sure they were always heard. Influitive, or for us, PeopleMatter Rockstars, is that extra set of ears. And if you ask us, we have a lot more to gain from listening than talking.

NancyAbout Nancy Sansom: As Chief Marketing Officer, Nancy leads PeopleMatter’s creative marketing team and is responsible for demand generation, product marketing, brand, communications and partnerships. She oversees and drives PeopleMatter’s marketing strategy while supporting Sales 2.0 methodologies to reinforce company sales growth. By leveraging large strategic and channel partnerships, Nancy focuses on building groundswell within PeopleMatter’s four primary target verticals.

With more than 15 years of experience leading product management and marketing departments in the SaaS industry, she brings a cohesive dynamic to the marketing department. Prior to joining PeopleMatter, Nancy served in many executive leadership roles at Benefitfocus. Most recently, she was the Senior Vice President of Product Design and Marketing where she focused on the design and launch of new products and technology while managing marketing, communications, events, partnership programs and inside sales. Nancy earned her MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and has been a member of Kellogg School of Management’s Executive Education program. Nancy spends her free time lifting weights and spending time with her husband and two sons.

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