Marketing is all about building relationships between brands and consumers. It’s important to interact with consumers in a way that the company can sustain strong long-term relationships with them. This is where Advocacy Marketing comes in. Advocacy Marketing goes way beyond customer loyalty because it heavily relies on recruiting the best group of people to their team. Companies do this by identifying their highest potential customers, also known as advocates, and getting them to talk positive about their brand in the right places, such as social networks or anywhere they might have influence. This helps companies build long-term relationships with a group of consumers who will always defend their brand.
Advocacy programs are developed in order to scale, increase credibility, and demonstrate a strong commitment to their customers. It’s important for a company’s brand, to combat overwhelming clutter, to overcome suspicion and cynicism, and to earn profits as a result of retention rates. So how do you find these advocates? They are not necessarily a company’s biggest or oldest customers; in fact, the smaller customers may have just as much motivation to become an advocate. Advocates volunteer because they want continued service from the marketer in order to keep these companies going so that they will always be able to serve them. If these customers feel like they are receiving more than they deserve from a transaction or relationship, they will feel a psychological need to restore balance and will ultimately volunteer to help out the company.
A company can find advocates through customer service, launching loyalty programs, staging events, and forming user groups and advisory panels. Marketers can maximize the reach of efforts to college students by forming a strong relationship with them. Many research shows that consumers will trust each other far more than they’ll trust marketers, employees, or companies. It is expected that customers will do online research and consider advice from their peers before they make a purchase decision. Above all, always give advocates recognition and access to special events, reviews, and important information and focus on building a long-term relationship with these advocates who are an extension of your brand. After all, the most powerful form of marketing is happy, loyal customers.