Have you ever recommended a good movie you saw to a friend?
Then, after your friend saw the movie she thanked you for recommending it?
That’s customer advocacy on a basic level.
You, the customer who saw the movie and liked it, advocated on behalf of the movie by recommending it to a friend you knew would likely enjoy it too.
That customer advocacy can scale too…
Say the movie was part of the Star Wars series of movies. There is an entire fan ecosystem around those movies. The producer of those movies (Disney) interacts and engages its fans with special events, fan websites and communities, contests and even opportunities for fans to share their thought leadership on various Stars Wars-related topics. It’s true, you can check it out at StarWars.com.
What ends up happening is that the Star Wars franchise has helped individual Star Wars fans feel valued for their interest and participation in the Star Wars community. Fans have even been rewarded and recognized for their Star Wars thought-leadership contributions to the community.
In this example, Star Wars/Disney makes their franchise about the fans, and as a result those fans continue to advocate on behalf of Star Wars providing that franchise with more promotional power than Disney alone could produce.
What’s the ROI of Disney putting their Star Wars fans first?
According to a Fortune Magazine article from a few years back, it was nearly $42 billion. That’s billion, with a B. Not bad for a few sci-fi fantasy movies.
Here’s the thing, these same Star Wars advocacy fundamentals can be applied to B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tech businesses, and it just so happens that I personally know the Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi who can share the ways of the Customer Advocacy Force...
Join the webinar - Customer Success + Marketing: How to Team Up to Boost Advocacy. February 22, 2018 @ 10 am (PT) / 1 pm (ET)
Join Howard Tarnoff (Founder & Managing Director of Customer Success LLC) and Carlos Gonzalez (Vice President of Customer Success Operations at Ceridian) as they reveal the advocacy playbooks they respectively use to:
Post by: Nick Venturella
When you’re working with customers, or your audience on social media or even your email distribution list, remember those you’re trying to reach with your message, opportunity or solution will only continue to give you their attention if you continue to provide them value.
A harsh truth is, your audience likely doesn’t care too much about what you want them to hear/read as much as they care about whether or not that content actually provides them solutions to problems they have, or stops them in their tracks to change their perspective about your solution to a problem you’ve helped them finally identify that they have (an aha moment, if you will).
You can continually provide your audience value if you stop trying to be the hero of their story and guide them, so they can be the hero of their story (notice the italics for emphasis).
Recently, I was introduced to Donald Miller’s Building a Storybrand blog and podcast (thanks Beky, co-owner of Montae Creative), and I like the way he describes things. Miller’s approach, which I agree with, is that your audience, or your customer, is the hero in their journey toward a solution and success. You are not.
Here’s one reason why you are not the hero in your customer’s story…
Your customer, let’s call her Janey, has her own job in the company she works for, and if she brings you and/or your solution in to help the company she works for and you steal the glory of being the hero, then why does the company need her anymore?
Now that’s an extreme example that doesn’t necessarily take into account other factors, but the emotional response is the same in practical application, and if higher ups at Janey’s company think you’re the hero and they can minimize Janey’s role to save a few bucks now that your solution is in place, what’s really stopping them from doing so?
However, if you come in with your solution and you position Janey as the thought leader who helped drive the decision to seek and implement this solution – and you partner with Janey to ensure she can maximize your solution and show positive results – then you’ve just helped Janey become indispensable.
Yes, your solution helps Janey realize success, but so many things that Janey and her company are in control of are what will make them successful or not. As for your solution, it likely only helps them to reach that success more easily, quickly and efficiently.
In other words, they may have reached success without your solution, but by partnering with Janey and her company your guidance helped accelerate their success.
And…this isn’t a one-sided scenario. You and your solution or brand or company benefit too.
Actually, you will benefit more than any success you might have achieved if you were trying to be the hero because you’ve fostered a positive relationship with Janey and her company. You’ve built trust by proving their success is paramount.
When you do that, your success is inevitable because you have created a positive advocate on your behalf.
Janey advocates on your behalf because she is someone who has gone through the work it takes to be successful under your guidance. Then, as Janey tells her industry colleagues about her success and your solution, the perceived value of your solution goes up. Even more importantly though, the true value of your guidance skyrockets, and that, will attract more Janeys.
posted by: Nick Venturella
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