Story by Aparna Isa Dass, Assistant Manager of Customer Marketing, Cvent

August 15, 2023

Companies can influence customer behavior in many ways, but a brand advocate is not a typical customer—they are the cream of the crop. Ensuring the person vouching for your company has a good experience is perhaps the most significant action any company can take to boost brand awareness. 

There are benefits on the other side of the coin, too. Taking the time to revamp the advocate platform at Cvent resulted in a boost in engagement, improved business KPIs, and increased collaboration between Cvent teams. 

I have worked in marketing and communications for 15 years, starting in a customer-centric role. I then decided I wanted to flex my creative writing and journalism muscles, so I took up a role as a senior editor, writing about small businesses in India. From there, my journey took me through PR and then customer marketing at a software company where I learned about brand reputation and referrals.

When I landed a customer marketing position at Cvent in 2020, all of my experience fell into place. Cvent is a leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider. Our solutions help event planners and marketers simplify the event-management process, whether the meeting is in-person, online, or a hybrid of the two. My role here draws on all the creative and marketing skills I’ve developed so far, all in the name of serving our loyal advocates.  


A Community Refresh to Boost Engagement by 11%

When I arrived, Cvent already had an advocate community, Cvent Celebrity, which housed our top-tier advocates. Our advocates were active, but there were opportunities to update the look and feel of the space. Moinak Ray, whose team ran the program before I stepped in, became my mentor, and he explained where the community had been and where Cvent wanted it to be. Gradually he handed me the reins and gave me the freedom to establish an atmosphere focused on customer centricity and discover what works best.

Influitive has the best features of any advocacy platform and executes those features better than anyone else in the market.

To power Celebrity, we use Influitive, which has the best features of any advocacy platform and executes those features better than anyone else in the market. I wanted to change the look and feel of Celebrity by adding more color, vibrancy, animation, and better rewards. We started introducing more variety in our banners, making them opportunity-driven, brighter in look, and we even incorporated animated gifs.

At the same time, we changed our reward structure, creating levels and making sure that someone does not reach a new level just by getting points. Instead, they have to perform certain activities to move up the ladder. Alongside this change, we adopted a new gifting partner, Reachdesk, to run alongside our customer success software, Tango. Now, we can offer the ever-popular gift cards as well as a greater variety of gifts, including ones of higher value. 

In making these changes, we realized the inaccuracy of some assumptions. For example, we thought having a lot of challenges (targeted asks) encouraged engagement, but it actually hindered activity. In 2021, we saw our engagement dip compared to the previous year, so we looked into our challenge flow and how we connect with our audience. We decided to focus on quality over quantity. Rather than laying out so many challenges in front of people and risking them becoming overwhelmed, we decided to limit the quantity of the challenges and improve the quality of the asks. 

It was similar for our onboarding process. We used to present the entire community to new advocates who logged into Celebrity for the first time, which diverted their attention. Now, we nurture them first by presenting five to seven targeted challenges. After those challenges are completed, the entirety of the Celebrity experience becomes unlocked. 

We noticed that when we interacted with advocates during an action, they would complete more activities. If we saw an advocate redeem their points for a gift card, we might tell them they can get another gift card by participating in a case study. The advocate often finds our suggestions worthwhile, making them feel like they are getting a more exclusive, one-on-one experience. And our efforts worked. Engagement rose by 11% in 2022, and we won the People’s Choice: Most Passionate Community at the 2022 BAMMIE Awards.


Influitive Features and Customer Support Make It Possible

We can make all these changes to Celebrity because of Influitive’s easy-to-use interface, which offers administrative options that are diverse without being complex. 

The reports are thorough and detailed, while the seamless reporting process eliminates the need I might otherwise feel to micromanage. I don’t need to constantly ask a team member for updates on the number of webinar registrations, for example, because I can see the number right there in front of me. That eliminates stress for everyone, and it saves me time as an administrator. Influitive continues to add thoughtful functionalities, such as the ability to record testimonials within the platform, making my life simpler.

A colleague recently had a last-minute request for a report with segregated audiences. They were used to working with other platforms and assumed the information would take more than a week to generate. I used Influitive to fulfill the request in two days. 

The thoughtful functionalities Influitive continues to add, such as the ability to record testimonials within the platform, make my life simpler.

We rely on the Influitive team for quick feedback and responses. When I send an email, I know I’ll get an answer quickly, often within an hour. Their customer service is above and beyond anything I’ve experienced before. I once emailed about a specific issue, and Support Specialist Mahmoud Diab asked if I wanted to jump on a call to discuss it. It was 2:00 a.m. in his time zone! I feel special being part of Influitive because they take care of me as a customer. Influitive treats me exactly how I want my customers to feel. 

But it’s more than support. Our CSMs, including Sebastian John, are always willing to explore and find new ways to enhance Celebrity and our advocate experience. Not every technology partner is so proactive. We have good chemistry, and our relationship with Influitive is more like that of a colleague than a vendor. 

I feel special being a part of the Influitive community because they take care of me as a customer. Influitive treats me exactly how I want my customers to feel.


Internal Collaboration Makes the Case for Our Community

With the support of Influitive, we have begun to engage and collaborate much more with stakeholders across Cvent. Celebrity has a large audience, but we weren’t tapping it appropriately. If another Cvent team needed something from advocates, we would create an appropriate challenge for that request—but everything was a singular instance. We didn’t proactively approach other areas of the company to identify ways the advocate community could help them achieve their goals. 

Our relationship with Influitive is more like that of a colleague than a vendor.

We started to hold bi-weekly meetings with various teams to determine their needs and wants and began to work together to get the most out of our community. The Client Services (CS) team, for example, talks to Cvent customers all day, every day. It dawned on us that they would have the best idea of whether a customer is a good fit for our advocacy program. So, we helped the CS team develop a scoring system to identify customers who would be good candidates for Celebrity membership. We also started working with the product team to explore the feedback from reviews. The product team has gained a better idea of areas of improvement, and as they incorporated the changes our advocates wanted, we began to see higher ratings. 

Half the battle is informing other teams of the activity within Celebrity and how they can leverage our advocates. I take 10 minutes at our company-wide monthly connects to discuss how our advocates can be an asset. Does the sales team need to close a deal quickly? We can provide a reference at a moment’s notice, or even have one of our Celebrities talk one-on-one with a prospective customer. We have also begun internal cross-promotions. For two weeks each month, we advertise another team’s program or campaign on a hero banner within Celebrity, and they spread the word about Celebrity, respectively.

When all departments can see the value of an advocate program, allocating more budget to maximize the impact of the customer community is an easier conversation.

Every department is different, with its own goals and KPIs. That’s why we developed a monthly email that details how Celebrity improved demand generation, sales, reviews, and more. This helps everyone in our business visualize how Celebrity helped them achieve their goals and improve the bottom line. All departments can now see the value of the advocate program, allocating more budget to maximize rewards for certain promotions or at certain times of the year.

Overall, team engagement has improved, and we’ve gotten to know more people, projects, and initiatives happening throughout Cvent. In addition to enhancing the advocate experience, Celebrity has become a place for internal knowledge sharing. Everyone who sees Celebrity knows we’re doing something right. 


Don’t Be Afraid to Change, Learn, and Iterate

My team and I are always open to trying new things because we don’t want our advocates to get program fatigue. I feel that whenever they log in to Celebrity, there should be something different there for them. We removed the daily points people got for logging in because they were too easy to find. In place of daily points, we introduced a weekly challenge. That has resulted in higher engagement because a person has to search within our various channels to find the challenge. Along the way, they might come across an interesting blog post or learn about an upcoming webinar they want to attend. 

Sometimes changes don’t work out the way we expected. We once ran a raffle for AirPods. A raffle ticket was 500 points, the equivalent of $5. It seemed reasonable, and people agreed to that exchange when they entered the raffle. However, after seeing their points total drop, some people messaged us that they didn’t want to participate in the raffle and requested their points be returned. We learned that some advocates are very protective of their points and would rather redeem them outright than use them to take a chance at a much bigger prize. If something doesn’t work, we learn and take a new approach. We’re fortunate that our leadership team is open to this iterative process because they know that there’s a justification behind any change.

When I examine every aspect of keeping a customer happy, Influitive works incredibly well. It acts as a seamless bridge between Cvent and our advocates and enables us to work better as a team.

We are constantly working with the Influitive team to think of ways to improve. Right now, we’re looking to create a brand value campaign and continue to think about creative ways to add evergreen content. We also want to introduce a roundtable conference for Celebrity. Many of our advocates do not need gift cards—they are at a point in their career where it’s more valuable to them to be considered thought leaders. I want Celebrity to become an avenue that provides that for them through networking and exchanging ideas. 

When I examine every aspect of keeping a customer happy, Influitive works incredibly well. It acts as a seamless bridge between Cvent and our advocates and enables us to work better as a team.

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