You’re interested in beginning to harness the power of your advocates…but you’re not sure how to show the value of advocate marketing to get buy-in from your boss.
Don’t worry! It’s easier than you think.
You can show tangible monetary returns on your program in two ways: revenue growth and cost savings.
First, you can easily tie acts of advocacy directly to revenue through things like:
Second, advocates can help you save time and money by sharing valuable feedback and supporting your initiatives.
How can advocacy increase your revenue?
The easiest way to show the ROI for your program is to measure how acts of advocacy directly affect new business and pipeline.
To demonstrate the link between advocate activity and revenue, you can track:
1. New business and pipeline from advocate referrals
Michael Beahm, Senior Marketing Manager at Blackbaud, started the Blackbaud Champions advocate community to create a humanizing touch point between the brand and its customers. “It helps our customers feel a closeness to our brand by participating in different opportunities to share content and to share their story with us,” he says. In return, Blackbaud’s advocates helped Michael exceed his annual referral goal, boosting referral pipeline 40X between 2013 and 2015.
2. Faster time to close with advocate references
Kim Ellis, Director, Customer Connect at BMC Software, launched an advocate marketing program to give BMC’s advocates a place to learn about BMC products, submit feedback and enjoy exclusive perks. “BMC Software has faced a number of challenges with our customers feeling disconnected. I knew an advocate marketing program would make a huge difference,” she says. Thanks to Kim’s hard work, advocates influenced $100 million in revenue for the brand by acting as references.
3. Influenced opportunities with advocate-generated content
Bo Bandy, Director of Marketing for ReadyTalk, empowered her company’s advocates to create and promote content through the ReadyTalk Summit Club advocate community. “We think of advocate marketing as giving our customers a formal channel where they can express their love of ReadyTalk,” she says. As a result of the program, Bo’s marketing team exceeded their content goals, resulting in 3 closed-won deals and an extra $60,000 in sales pipeline.
4. Increased renewals and account growth
Danielle Camara, Senior Manager of Customer Marketing for Marketo, started the Purple Select advocate community as a way to build 1:1 connections with her large customer base. “We knew we were ignoring thousands of happy, loyal customers and raving fans,” she says. As a result of Danielle’s efforts to make Marketo’s advocates feel closer to the brand, customers in the Purple Select program have a 95% retention rate.
How can your advocates save you money?
Asking for advocate feedback can help you cut costs on already-funded initiatives, which can then be re-allocated to pay for your advocate community.
By continuously engaging your advocates and asking for their input, you can:
- Eliminate investments in third-party research for product or branding feedback
- Reduce support costs
- Save on headcount-related costs
- Scale back product testing and quality assurance spend
- Save your team time and effort tracking down customers for fire drill requests
Here are a few ways Influitive customers generate cost savings through their advocate communities:
1. Saving money on third-party feedback collection
“One of our challenges is being able to qualify some of our gut feelings. Invariably, we go to a third party. They’ll do some telephone-based research—it might take them six weeks and cost $10,000. The truth is they’re reaching out to customers you already know. We used Influitive to remove that layer. To test new branding around customer communications, we put a challenge up in the Influitive community. Within 24 hours, we had 60 unique pieces of feedback which allowed us to say, ‘Yeah, this direction is right.’”
–David Coates, Senior Marketing Manager at Iron Mountain
2. Reducing the burden on CS, support and marketing resources
“We believe that the Teacher Learning Network saves Edmodo at least $500,000 yearly. Our 1,000 ambassadors [are] covering most of our support wall, [so] we haven’t had to hire as many support agents. They’re essentially our social media leg of marketing; they host our meetups and help our event manager so she hasn’t had to hire an event coordinator. The certified trainers have hosted over 240 trainings in the last three months. They have impacted around 3,500 training participants who had probably never heard of us before, and now they’re spending an hour with a teacher who’s actually used the platform.”
–Kevyn Klein, former Director of Customer Success & Advocacy at Edmodo
3. Making advocacy scalable and faster for your whole team
“AdvocateHub helps us to communicate with over 1,500 advocates at one time…We are able to get feedback from our advocates on future products, marketing materials and strategies. It saves me tons of time! It replaces and scales back the manual task of individually emailing advocates when we need something. It wouldn’t be possible to run a global program like ours without AdvocateHub.”
–Jessica Mitchell, Marketing Manager at SMART Technologies