We’re now living in the engagement economy, where everyone and everything is always connected. People have always talked, but now they do it at unprecedented scale. That’s important in a world where it takes anywhere from five to 20 touches with your marketing to generate a sales lead, and 80% of marketing reach comes from amplification via customers.
The voice of the customer can be activated at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Customer success stories, online product reviews and references can add value and influence the buyer’s decision-making process throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Activities you include in your customer advocacy program can be tied to a marketing campaign or initiative that amplify the customer’s voice.
Your program should include as many of the customer engagement opportunities from the various marketing groups as possible. The Customer Advocacy team is the point-of-contact to co-create the content and facilitate the conversation between the appropriate group in your organization and the customer, like PR, product marketing or sales.
Let’s take a look at many marketing activities that can be included in a customer advocacy program offering that may traditionally fall under various other marketing responsibilities but leverage the voice of the customer.
- Product Marketing is looking for customers to speak with analysts or complete an online review about their products
- Demand Generation needs a customer success story for a campaign
- Branding wants to leverage customers in a new corporate advertisement and use customer logos on their website
- PR has a media opportunity and field marketing requests a speaker for an event
Get the idea?
As a customer advocacy professional, you may have originally only been tasked to create a program to recruit customer references, to collect their success stories & testimonials, to set up sales reference calls and site visits. Today, customer advocacy is a lynchpin in the marketing mix. And you need to position it as such within your organization.
How then are you presenting these opportunities to your customers and advocates to-be? What if all of these activities, and more, were in one program offering to present to your customers? You then allow the customers to decide on their participation based on their comfort level and interest. This helps all the marketing groups know which customers agree to participate in which activity. You have your customer advocates organized in one place giving all visibility into how their participation can impact many marketing objectives.
Cross-departmental alignment is crucial to creating organization-wide collaboration on customer engagement. You can lessen the confusion surrounding ownership of the customer experience by defining specific responsibility for each group at each stage of the customer journey, while including those activities in one program offering. Now that is engagement marketing and enabling the voice of the customer.
Happy customers are likely an underutilized asset when it comes to generating demand and beyond in the buyer’s journey. When the right initiatives for nurturing and activating customer advocates are in place, they can drive new and authentic word-of-mouth, which is necessary for today’s well-educated and self-directed buyers. This is now marketing in the context of the buyer’s journey where campaigns and initiatives become invitations to engage with your brand.
For more information on how RO Innovation can help you with your customer advocacy and customer reference needs through technology, check out The Right Content at the Right Time.
Content provide by Zoe Meyer, Founder and Managing Director, customer-360