B2B Buyers are relying less on traditional marketing and advertising when it comes to determining which brands they want to buy from. According to the 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report, the top three resources buyers rely on when researching potential vendors are analysts, peers and independant web research.
According to Laura Ramos, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, one of the best way to generate the social proof buyers are looking for is to leverage your customer advocates. “In this digital age, where information accessibility and service-oriented business models favor buyers, it is essential to market to and through your advocates.”
But to harness the power of your advocates, you need to understand them really well. In Ardarth Albee‘s new eBook, The Brand Advocate Persona, she explains how developing advocate personas will allow your brand to increase word of mouth, generate more leads and speed up time to revenue. (You can access the ebook for free here.)
“If [buyer] personas help companies better serve their distinct and varied audiences, then using this framework to better understand how and why a buyer turns into an advocate can only help to improve customer marketing effectiveness,” says Ardath.
Here are some key points from the eBook on how to create advocate personas and make them an essential part of your marketing strategy.
What is a brand advocate persona?
While buyer personas are a composite sketch of your prospects, an advocate persona is meant to embody the needs and priorities of people who have already become customers. These advocates are enthusiastic customers, partners and employees who will happily share their experience of your brand with their networks.
Your advocate personas should help your brand understand what will drive engagement and build a stronger relationships with your customers. Once you determine what they value most and how they’d like to advocate, you can start to build a program that will amplify their love for your brand.
>How to build a brand advocate persona
Brand advocates already understand the objectives of your service and how it adds value to their organization or role. Your focus should be helping them become even more successful with your products and deepening their trust and admiration for your brand.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Start with listening
“Listening to your advocates is about identifying who is already advocating for your brand, what they’re saying and where they’re saying it,” says Ardath. Taking the time to research about your current advocate’s opinions can give you an idea of who is advocating for you and who isn’t.
2. One-on-one interviews.
If you want to know what your brand advocates really want, you don’t have to travel far—just ask your employees! Adarth recommends having 1:1 meetings with different departments of your company and learning about what customers are inquiring about. For example, customer service know what parts of your brand or product customers are struggling with; account managers know why your customers renew or purchase new products from you and product development can share what features of your next release are driving the most interest.
3. Extrapolate insights to construct the persona.
Now that you understand your brand advocates’ interests, the next step is to determine the commonalities among them. Ardath says you first need to ask yourself “which persona(s) does it make the most sense to develop in relation to the type of activities they’re most willing to participate in? Given this, which business goals does it make the most sense to pursue?”
Once you know the types of advocate personas you’d like to create, here are the six components you should include in each persona:
- Motivations for advocacy. Why will they participate?
- Orientation attributes. What do all of your brand advocate personas have in common?
- Activation opportunities. What activities can you persuade them to participate in?
- Topics that inspire. What types of topics do they find inspiring about your product and brand?
- Obstacles to advocacy. What would stop them from participating in advocating?
- Engagement scenarios. What would the advocate marketing program look like in relation to your brand and advocate persona?