The ROI Of Advocacy Part 2: Improving Funded Initiatives

In our previous blog post about the ROI of advocacy, we covered how advocate marketing programs drive monetary value for your company.

However, advocates impact much more than just pipeline.

There’s also the intangible impact an army of eager advocates can have on the initiatives you already pay for, including:

  • Feedback collection
  • Content creation
  • Boosting brand awareness
  • Beta testing
  • Running focus groups
  • Generating social media buzz

Ask yourself and your executives: what would it be worth to you if all of those things were easier, faster and a better experience for your customers than they are today?

How to calculate the ROI of advocate marketing
Download now

How advocacy impacts brand building

Advocates can make channels you already invest in for brand awareness and reputation-building much more effective and valuable.

Here are a few examples of the ways advocates help you develop relationships and extend your reach:

1. Advocate reviews can solidify your brand’s image
powerpoint image person laptop

According to a Google study, 60 percent of B2B technology buyers consult product reviews from peers before making purchasing decisions. This means having genuine reviews on third-party websites like G2 Crowd, AppExchange and Spiceworks is vital to making the first cut during your prospect’s evaluation phase—which happens well before they reach out to anyone at your company.

Success Story: Code42 operates in the hyper-competitive backup software space. To stand out, Angela Higgins, Director of Customer Engagement, asked Code42’s advocates to share feedback by writing online reviews across third-party websites. Her efforts inspired the brand’s advocates to increase Code42’s number of reviews by 900% and make the brand the Backup Software market Leader on G2 Crowd.

powerpoint crossed pencils2. Advocates make content creation easier, faster and better

It’s estimated that B2B firms with 250+ employees allocate roughly $558,400 worth of internal marketing headcount on content development annually. If they outsource to agencies or freelancers, they’re investing an additional average of $202,800 annually. Advocates can quickly help you create better, more authentic content faster—and for far less.

Success Story: Chris Peltz, Customer Success Operations Manager at HP Software, used the ITSM Insiders advocate community to challenge its customers and partners to provide their best tips for IT service management. ITSM Insiders happily responded by writing world-class advice that HP Software easily compiled into a full-length eBook.

3. Advocates boost social engagement and build better communities

powerpoint handsIt can be tough to evaluate the business value of social media and online communities. According to a Social Media Examiner report, B2C marketers (71%) were much more likely to develop a loyal fan base through social media than B2B marketers (62%). However, advocates can help boost engagement on these channels while removing some of the burden on community and social media managers.

Success Story: A few months after re-launching its Ambassador program in February 2014, the Hootsuite marketing team started using Influitive’s AdvocateHub to mobilize advocates at scale. By making it easier for Ambassadors to interact with each other, Hootsuite decreased its new customer drop-off rate and increased its “self-solve” rate from 30% to 65% in its support forum. Ambassadors also helped generate 81 million Hootsuite-related social impressions on Twitter.

4. Advocates improve the effectiveness of event investments

powerpoint person podium presentation

A Regalix study found that nearly half of marketers say that events make up 10 to 25% of their budget. However, the returns on event sponsorship are usually questionable; Kissmetrics found that 82% of marketers can’t quantify attendee interactions at their corporate events. Your advocates’ authentic passion will make pre-event promotion and attracting prospects to your booth easier and more worthwhile.

Success Story: Lauren Berry, Customer Marketing Associate at Okta, gave the brand’s advocates special treatment before, during and after its annual Oktane conference using its advocate marketing program, the Okta Ozone. As a result, Lauren built pre-event buzz by driving 1.1 million social impressions for #Oktane16, and sourced 38 advocates speakers. She also received tons of advocate quotes and stories to use in next year’s event promotions and upcoming demand gen campaigns. Learn more on page 7 of this eBook.

5. Advocates take you with them when they change companies

powerpoint hand holding briefcaseWhen a happy customer changes companies, they often bring their love for your brand along with them. The value of second-order revenue from advocates buying you at their new company can be difficult to track, but, as Jason Lemkin, founder of SaaStr—the largest community of SaaS founders and entrepreneurs—says: “They’re more profitable (no additional marketing or customer acquisition costs).”

Success Story: Bo Bandy has created a special group in her advocate community for passionate advocates who are no longer ReadyTalk customers, either because they moved to a new company or their business was acquired. Maintaining these advocate relationships has been valuable for influencing future deals. “Sometimes, a prospect will ask to speak to somebody who’s no longer a customer. From that standpoint, it’s nice to tap into this group,” says Bo.

How can advocacy help other departments?

Advocacy isn’t just for your marketing and sales teams. It can have a much wider impact on initiatives through your whole company.

Here are some ways Influitive customers are harnessing advocate power throughout their company:

1. Developing better products by providing valuable feedback, insights, feature requests and eager beta testers to product teams.

Jillian Zacchia headshot“As a technology business, our clients always want to know what’s next for our software, so we developed a campaign to get our users voting for features and releases. The one with the most votes was pushed to the top of our roadmap and users got insider information on when they could expect it on the platform.”

Jillian Zacchia, Content Generation Specialist at Acquisio

2. Supporting client success teams by educating customers and identifying cross-sell, upsell and renewal opportunities.

KevinL“Across our business, the advocates that engage with us, or come back [to the program] frequently, are the ones that typically renew with us. They ask us specific questions (directly tied to retention or renewal) that I give back to our customer success and account management teams.”

Kevin Lau, Sr. Marketing Manager, Customer Retention & Advocacy at NetBase

3. Equipping executive teams with real-time customer feedback. (No more “going with your gut.”)

KimEllis_001_square“My CMO will call me up and say, ‘Kim, I need to test the messaging on whatever solution we’re about to work on.’ Within a day, I can get him feedback from customers. When we first started, the business [and executives] used to ask us, ‘Why do we need an advocacy program?’ Now, they say, ‘OK, the advocate program is off the table. We have to have it.’”

Kim Ellis, Director, Customer Connect at BMC Software

How to find enough time for advocacy
Download eBook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *