What Is Advocacy Marketing? And Why Use It?

Advocacy marketing is a hot topic that continues to come up in our conversations with clients, so today we’re sharing the first article in a two-part primer on advocacy marketing. In this series we will answer the following questions:

  • What is advocacy marketing?
  • Why should you use advocacy marketing?
  • What is missing from most advocacy marketing programs?
  • How can you tap into advocacy marketing to reach your marketing goals?

What Is Advocacy Marketing?

Advocacy marketing is the strategic process of creating strong relationships with clients and customers in which the relationship has gone far beyond transactional. Now these clients and customers are raving fans. They help spread the word about how fantastic your products and services are. They are your advocates both in the public square and by one-on-one word of mouth conversations.

Why Advocacy Marketing?

According to a report by Nielsen, 83 percent of consumers place the most trust in the recommendations of friends and family. And 66 percent trust the opinions of consumers they found online. Does this resonate with you? Consider who you consult before making a big purchase–say, a car seat for an infant. First you probably ask your friends and family. Then you consult online reviews and bloggers.

It’s not enough to have a great product. It’s not enough to market it. You’ve got to find those trusted advocates to share their great experiences and strong belief in your company and products.

In addition to the fact that advocacy marketing works, another reason to emphasize advocacy marketing in your marketing plan is because it is a low cost line item on your budget.

What Most Advocacy Marketing Programs Are Missing

Hubspot’s Carl Pieri explains what a lot of companies are getting wrong with advocacy marketing:

“Rather than working on cultivating interactions that drive value for their advocates, most advocacy programs try to harvest customer generosity, with little success. The way you think about why a customer would participate in an advocacy program should align with the way you think about why a prospect would buy your product/service: they would never buy it if they didn’t believe that they were going to get more out of it than they put in. It’s the exact same for a customer advocacy program: customers should feel they are getting much more out of the advocacy program than they are putting in.”

Successful advocacy programs elevate the client experience to VIP level. Think personal relationships with leadership, early access to news, beta testing products, and special rewards for referrals.

Remember, your advocates are proud to be associated with the company. And they have an emotional connection to the company and its products. By spending time learning about your biggest fans–what motivates them and what they want most–you’ll begin to unlock the incredible potential of your advocacy marketing program.

In our next article we will unpack five steps to turn clients into brand evangelists using advocacy marketing.

by McKinley Marketing Partners