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  • September 13, 2013

Why Advocates Should Be Part Of The Modern Marketer’s Strategy

Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of  Jim Williams, VP of Marketing at Influitive, the advocate marketing experts.

Here’s a fun exercise. Take five minutes to think about the contrast between your life as a consumer and that as a B2B marketer. If you saw a movie this weekend, you might have Facebooked some friends for their opinion first, then tweeted your 140-character review after. On your way to dinner, you probably compared restaurant reviews on Yelp. Afterward, maybe you went on Angie’s List to find a contractor to fix the garage door you backed into last week while texting.

Then you showed up at work on Monday and dove into your next campaign, wracking your brain to come up with the best way to reach your buyer and messages that will get them to engage. See the difference? As a consumer, you didn’t make your movie, dinner or contractor decisions based on what some marketing flak had to say -- you got first-hand opinions from your peers.   '

Your customers are Yelping your product right now.

Just as they visit Yelp before dining out, your prospects will find current customers and learn about their experiences with your products in just a few clicks on LinkedIn, Quora or any one of the hundreds of product review sites.

When you consider that nearly 60% of a typical B2B purchase decision is now made before a customer even talks to a salesperson and word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions, it’s clear that, as marketers, we must find innovative ways to transform this process from something that is accidental, to a process that is intentional, actionable and measurable -- all without disrupting those peer-to-peer interactions.   The most powerful way to tackle this problem is through advocate marketing.

WTF is advocate marketing?

Advocates are more than just satisfied customers. They’re enthusiasts who believe in your company’s vision and can also include employees and alumni, investors, champions and partners.   You already know who these advocates are -- the passionate fans speaking at events, briefing analysts and referring customers. But for every one of those outspoken enthusiasts, there are many more happy customers sitting on the sidelines, quietly enjoying your product.   How do you mobilize this army of admirers to drive demand and pipeline?

A formalized advocate marketing program does just that, incorporating fans into nearly every aspect of existing sales, marketing, and product design and development processes. So now you have a mission: find, organize and mobilize your company’s biggest fans to support key business objectives.

Here’s how you do it: A blueprint for your advocate marketing program

For years, marketers have been trying harness the enthusiasm of happy customers to convert leads to revenue. Unfortunately, these efforts are often haphazard at best and it’s hasn’t been easy for modern marketers like you to streamline all of these moving parts into a cohesive advocate marketing strategy.   You need a blueprint to get your advocate marketing program of the ground, and that’s why Influitive is releasing The Advocate Marketing Playbook, created by sales and marketing consulting and advisory firm TOPO, this fall.

The five-part Playbook is the senior marketer’s guide for creating a successful advocate marketing program from scratch, and contains helpful, how-to advice and resources, such as worksheets, spreadsheets and calendars.

Download Part 1 of The Advocate Marketing Playbook for more information about advocate marketing and launching your own advocate marketing program, and stay tuned for more posts about advocate marketing from Influitive on It’s All About Revenue!

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