Who Are Your Advocates And What Makes Them Tick?

(IT) iStock_000038011692LargeWhen designing and executing any effective and engaging marketing program or campaign, it’s key to know who your audience is and speak their language, so to speak (pardon the pun).

Most companies have already developed personas to help them better understand, market and sell to their buyers. But they often stop there.

What about existing customers, partners and employees who have not only already invested in a relationship with your company, but who have also become enthusiastic advocates for your brand?

Buyer personas vs. advocate personas

Developing a framework with which to better understand your advocates is just as important as understanding your potential buyers – especially if you’re going to invite them into an advocate marketing program.

While there are often some similarities among these personas, what motivates someone to buy isn’t the same as what motivates them to advocate for your brand over the long-term.

The psychology of advocacy

When considering implementing an advocate marketing program, an objection that many marketers have is: “That sounds great and all, but my customers, partners or employees would never do that.”

Those marketers are wrong.

Here’s why: It’s simply human nature to advocate for things you love, whether they’re restaurants, movies, smartphones or enterprise business-to-business software. People become advocates because they’re hardwired to connect with others, establish relationships and build social capital.

Who are your advocates and what makes them tick?

Beyond human nature, however, there are unique qualities among individual advocate types that marketers must take into consideration. What motivates and engages an IT professional in an advocate marketing program is likely to be very different from what will appeal to a marketer or a salesperson, for example.

Understanding the persona(s) you are targeting with your program and the individual activities within it can help you design invitations, challenges, rewards, and messaging that appeal specifically to that audience, generating higher levels of engagement.

After years of helping top companies develop successful advocate marketing programs that engage tens of thousands of advocates – from HR professionals to developers to employees and more – we have compiled our best practices and asked other advocate marketers for their best practices for keeping specific advocate personas engaged over the long-term.

New eBook series: Engaging Your Advocates

covers-graphicThis new eBook series explores the art and science behind engaging advocate marketing programs, including:

  • Insight into the advocate persona (e.g., IT, HR, sales, etc.)
  • Key challenges and how to address them
  • How to position your asks effectively
  • Sample challenges from real advocate marketing programs
  • Tips from marketers who have experience working with this persona

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