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Advocacy Marketing involves the use of advocates to promote your product. It typically involves people or brands which act as a third party to encourage customers to buy. It can also involve company employees acting as advocates for the customer, to personalize your sales approach. Advocacy marketing is about creating trust in your product, and a positive brand image. The goal is to gain new customers and increase customer loyalty.
As the B2B market has changed due to the onset of social media, brands have recognized that traditional product-oriented marketing is not as effective. Buyers now research and get recommendations as to the best products and services available. We know that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process (Google/Millward Brown Digital). Brand advocacy can enter into this conversation. Marketers insert influencers or customer brand ambassadors into the mass of online information. Influential people with an online presence who engage your target audience may give endorsements (sometimes offered free products for testing). Brands also engage customers to become brand ambassadors: 3 out of 4 B2B buyers rely on communication on social media with peers about buying decisions (IDC), and according to Influitive, word-of-mouth recommendations from peers influence over 90% of all B2B buying decisions. Such communication can be encouraged through online groups or forums. The goal of establishing these forums is to make customers more involved with your brand. Businesses also encourage customer referrals through reward systems. These are indirect approaches which the buyer interprets as more trustworthy than traditional, more self-serving sales methods.
Customer satisfaction is a large factor, as satisfied customers are more likely to refer your brand. This is where employee advocacy – using employees to reach out to customers in a more personalized way to create trust, offering a good product, good customer relations, and an overall positive impression of your company come into play. People don’t recommend bad products or companies that have bad service. The buyer’s experience with your product or service is a driving force. Referrals, recommendations, and an interesting online presence can give your brand a positive image, leading to a larger customer base and greater customer loyalty.
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