5 Things That Will Put Your Advocate Marketing Program Into Overdrive

A well-designed advocate marketing strategy is built around the needs of the advocate. Remember, you are developing a program that continually asks your customers and other constituents to take time out of their day to help you market and sell. That’s a big ask.

Start by carefully considering what the program provides the advocate. Do they want recognition? Access? Social capital? These are common motivators for fans and the entire program should be oriented towards delivering on these needs.

When designing your advocate marketing program, you’ll probably start by breaking it down into these fundamental pieces:

  • First, you’ll need to identify likely advocates and invite them into your program.
  • Second, you’ll need to engage advocates in a variety of different campaigns that match their interests.
  • Third, you’ll want to make sure that you can measure the impact of the program.

In order to achieve each of these pieces, however, you have to set your program up for success. You can’t just invite a few people to adovcate for you and hope for the best.

1. A (flexible) plan

This is a strategic plan that specifies the program’s objectives, process, organization, technology and metrics (four of which happen to also be pivotal pillars of a successful advocate marketing program).

Your plan is a living document that can be updated as you learn more about who your advocates are, what they want and how they can contribute to your organization’s objectives.

2. A process that scales

The advocate marketing process defines how you recruit, engage and recognize your advocates. It also includes recommendations on how to plan and analyze advocacy efforts. The steps can vary – what’s important is that there is a standard process so that the program can scale.

3. A supporting organization

Advocate marketing is not a people-intensive effort. In fact, the advocate marketing organization really only needs two people: an executive sponsor (typically the CMO) and a functional owner of advocate marketing (the Advocate Marketing Manager).

There’s a good chance that your Advocate Marketing Manager already exists somewhere within your company, either in a community management or customer marketing capacity. They should be creative communicators who can also plan strategically with the help of their executive sponsor and analyze the results of their work.

While the Advocate Marketing Manager may invite colleagues from other departments to participate in planning and generating ideas for future campaigns, he or she will likely be the sole individual responsible for the day-to-day operation of the program.

4. Technology

Technology can act as a “force multiplier” for the program. Some companies may use email, spreadsheets or a CRM application (or a combination of all three), but others will want a dedicated application or platform that allows a single marketer to organize, communicate with and mobilize advocates at scale.

5. Metrics

You should measure your program to determine its business impact. Use a combination of tactical metrics, like the number of advocates currently engaged in the program, as well as strategic metrics that show how the program impacts your company, like revenue sourced and influenced by advocacy.

We’ll be exploring each of these essential pillars in more detail in future posts, and you can also find them in The Advocate Marketing Playbook:

The Advocate Marketing PlaybookRegister now to receive your copy of The Advocate Marketing Playbook this fall

The Advocate Marketing Playbook provides marketers with a blueprint from which to build and manage a successful advocate marketing program; it’s a detailed “how-to” guide based on proven best practices.

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This post is part of a series of resources excerpted or adapted from The Advocate Marketing Playbook, created by TOPO. Click here to read the other posts in this series.

 Photo credit: ChrisDownUK

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