Everyone agrees that content is vital to marketing. But “feeding the content beast” is expensive and time consuming. According to a recent study from Curata, the top three challenges of content marketing are:
1. Creating original content
2. Having time to create content
3. Finding high-quality content
Well, here’s the good news: You have a secret content marketing weapon that will help you overcome all three of these obstacles. That weapon is your highly-satisfied customers, AKA your “Brand Advocates.”
Your Advocates will gladly create compelling content such as:
Highly positive reviews
Answers to prospects’ questions
Positive tweets, posts, and comments
Videos, photos, and other multimedia content
Advocate-generated content provides powerful benefits to your company and brand:
Amplify positive Word of Mouth and/or combat negative Word of Mouth
Increase online ratings on third party review sites such as Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
Improve search engine rankings by putting fresh, relevant content on your site
And since Advocates are your most passionate and enthusiastic customers, you don’t have to motivate them with perks, coupons, or cash. So what’s the secret to getting Advocates to create compelling content for your brand? Download the whitepaper now to find out.
You’ll learn how to:
Find your Brand Advocates
Turn Advocates into content creating machines to support marketing initiatives
Leverage the authentic and compelling content your Advocates create
Watch the recordingby clicking the orange “Play” button in the player below.
You have a secret content marketing weapon: Brand Advocates. As your most loyal, engaged, and enthusiastic customers, they’ll gladly create positive reviews, glowing testimonials, and more. Unlike your high paid agency or in-house copywriter, you don’t have to pay them thousands or hundreds of thousands or dollars to create compelling content. Simply make it easy for Advocates and they will happily create fantastic and authentic content.
The top three content marketing challenges are creating original content, having time to create content, and creating high quality content. By turning Advocates into content creators, marketers can overcome all three of these obstacles.
Brand Advocates are highly satisfied customers who recommend a brand or product without pay or incentives. They recommend because they’ve had good experiences with a product or service and they want to help others.
Advocates will create various types of content including reviews, testimonials (stories), answers to prospects’ questions, positive tweets and posts, plus multimedia content such as pictures and videos.
Compared to brand content, Advocate content is more trusted and credible, more influential, and less expensive.
Advocate content sells products by boosting conversion rates, increasing time on websites and average order size, and influencing purchase decisions of prospective customers.
A critical part of a content marketing strategy that involves Brand Advocates is to leverage the content they create smartly. Brands should post Advocate-generated content on their websites, put it in the consumer purchase path, on social channels, on third party review sites, and more.
Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force.”Published by John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a major business publisher, Brand Advocates shows how companies are leveraging Brand Advocates to build their brands and businesses – and how you can too! Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.
No one wants coal in their stocking from their CEO. That’s why marketers spend vast time, money, and effort making Black Friday a great success. Approaching the holidays, brands typically pump up advertising, push promotions, discount products, etc. But if you want to hear a more innovative and cost-effective way to boost Black Friday sales, check out this sweet success story that leverages content marketing and brand advocacy.
After releasing a new version of their product, a software company wanted to get their customers to upgrade. Knowing that their customers are more effective salespeople, they got their Brand Advocates to create stories about the benefits of upgrading. These stories were sent to customers who hadn’t yet upgraded, coupled with an exclusive promotional offer. The result? A whopping68% sales conversion rate – about 50X higher than traditional online marketing conversion rates. (I’ll wait for you to pick your jaw up off the floor….)
Twitter is finally learning a lesson from Facebook: If you can’t buy it, build it. In the coming months, Twitter plans to update its mobile applications to introduce filters for photos that will allow people to share altered images on Twitter and bypass Instagram, the popular mobilecentric photo-sharing network, according to people who work at the company but asked not to be named as they are not allowed to discuss unannounced projects. The filters on Instagram make photos look like they were shot with 1960s Kodachrome or with 1890s sepia tone film.
The biggest recent gripe by brands on Facebook (as well as George Takei and Mark Cuban) has been the fact that fans don’t see all of their posts. Now, it appears that users can fix this. A reader tipped off sister site Inside Facebook, showing that some users can select to see notifications on desktop and mobile each time a page posts. By opting in to receive notifications whenever a page posts something, users can then see every post — answering a major problem for users and pages alike.
Not only did President Barack Obama beat challenger Mitt Romney to win reelection, but he shoved pop star Justin Bieber off the top of the charts for most re-tweeted Twitter tweet ever. The tweet, “Four more years,” with a photo of the president hugging first lady Michelle Obama, was sent about 8:16 p.m. Pacific time as the major TV networks were calling the race in Obama’s favor. In three hours, the message had been re-tweeted about 455,000 times, easily shattering the previous record of 223,000 set by Bieber in September.
Yelp, Foursquare is gunning for you. The social network is adding to its iOS app and website a fairly minor yet hugely significant feature: Ratings. With the addition, Foursquare says its service will tell users where people actually like to go, not just the places they’ve visited.
Hurricane Sandy was devastating. It took the lives of 113 people. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people will be left homeless. 8,000,000 people were without power from South Carolina to Maine (and many still remain without power). Amid the chaos, four major retailers somehow saw Hurricane Sandy as a marketing opportunity. Perhaps the potential dollar signs clouded their common sense and sensitivity for fellow Americans.
First, what do we mean by an “energized Advocate?” This is a highly-satisfied customer that authentically recommends your brand, product, or service, whether it’s face-to-face, on social networks or third party review sites, via email, etc.
Advocates Deliver $567 Million for an Enterprise Software Company
In their book, Answering the Ultimate Question, How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business, authors Richard Owen and Dr. Laura L. Brooks stated that, on average, each Advocate for an enterprise software company will bring in about one-half of a customer via referrals (the actual number was .54). The average customer spend within this industry is $1.05 million. In other words, 1,000 Advocates would bring in 540 new customers, generating a whopping $567 million for the company.
Each Advocate Brings You 3 New Customers
Using .54 as the base case for advocacy, we add 2.5 new customers. Why? There are four additional factors that were not accounted for in Owen and Brooks’ original estimate.
1. Advocates are highly effective “sales people.”
Living in the era of social media, we all know that people trust their peers more than advertising (92% vs 24% in fact, according to Nielsen). Plus, 89% of people say online reviews influence their purchase decisions, according to the eTailing Group. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, got a stunning 30% sales conversion rate – about 60X higher than traditional online conversion rates – when Advocates shared offers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and via email.
2. Advocates are frequent recommenders.
In many high-interest categories like restaurants, travel and tourism, and media and entertainment, Advocates refer many more than four prospects. (This was the assumption in the Owen and Brooks analysis.) For example, think about the incredible hotel you stayed at during your recent trip to New York and how many friends and colleagues you raved to afterwards. In fact, 28% of Brand Advocates recommend their favorite brands and products once weekly (source: Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates, Zuberance).
4. Empowered by social media, Advocates reach thousands of prospects.
Since Owen and Brooks conducted their study in 2008, the adoption and use of social media has skyrocketed. Facebook’s Paul Adams states in his book, Grouped, that one Advocate recommendation reaches 10,000 people if it’s passed along only three times.
Depending on the size of your Advocate army and customer lifetime value, energizing your brand’s Advocates may boost several millions of dollars in sales. And since you don’t need to pay authentic advocates, the cost of acquiring customers via advocacy is dramatically less – about 50 percent less in many cases – compared to traditional marketing programs like paid media advertising. Now is the time to turn your Advocates into powerful and inexpensive customer acquisition machines.
Watch the recordingby clicking the orange “Play” button in the player below.
Marketing author Bill Lee triggered a firestorm of controversy when he declared recently in a provocative Harvard Business Review blog post that traditional marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead.
What do you think? Is it time to sound the death knell for traditional marketing? Is traditional marketing still alive and well? Are paid, owned, and earned media merging?
Traditional marketing- including advertising, public relations, branding, and corporate communications- is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.
The way that marketing is perceived by customers has dramatically changed. Buyers aren’t paying attention. They’re increasingly doing research on their own through online resources and social media before ever engaging with your brand.
According to a Corporate Executive Board study, 57% B2B customers buying decisions are complete before they engage with the supplier. By then, they don’t need to consult with any sales people. Instead they want to know what their peers and other customers think of the company.
CEO’s have lost all patience with CMO’s. 73% say CMO’s lack credibility and ability to generate sufficient business growth. 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it all will generate increased business. 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.
The traditional marketing approach to marketing and sales doesn’t make sense especially in today’s connected world. Employees, consultants, partners, etc don’t come from the buyer’s world and they don’t share the buyer’s interest. This is not a promising arrangement to persuade people. Social media makes it easy for prospects to connect with buyers.
Stop trying to persuade buyers. Get skilled at getting your customers to persuade and influence your buyers using four pillars of new marketing:
Marketing (which encompasses everything from product, price, place, promotion) is not only alive and well, it’s core to a business’ success. In short, marketing isn’t dead. Marketing is everything.
Everything is with, not instead of. While some things might become antiquated or less powerful, they’re still very relevant.
Some brands in the pharmaceutical or finance industry, for example, have to live in the domain of creating a level of persuasion because they’re regulated by law or have products that have incremental difference to their competitors.
Advertising is not dying. In fact, it’s not on life support, it’s not sick, and it probably doesn’t have the sniffles.
Just because you trust your peers more than advertising, doesn’t mean you can’t see an ad. I don’t need peer reviews to decide to switch toilet paper. Some brands need to put the message into the general zeitgeist of the world that their product now has variance on it- it’s now on sale or has a new feature.
Brand advocacy programs are absolutely critical. However, the challenge we face is that if they’re successful, it takes a lot of work. It’s the difference between dropping a bomb and doing hand to hand combat door to door. Brands must be prepared for the success that will come with engaging Advocates.
If you want to inform a large audience about your brand, advertising is still very much alive (as is marketing, thank you very much). Saying that marketing is dead is like saying that product development is dead and that branding is dead. It may get a lot of clicks, but there’s no substance or truth behind it.
Bill is the President of Customer Reference Forum and Executive Director of The Summit on Customer Engagement. For the last nine years, his conferences have drawn leading customer engagement and advocacy practitioners from top global firms as well as dynamic smaller firms. In addition to its widely respected conferences, Bill and his team at Lee Consulting Group provide workshops, consulting, research and other educational and community building services to help clients reinvent customer relationships and achieve dramatic growth. Bill is the author The Hidden Wealth of Customers (Harvard Business Review Press, June 2012), which has been featured in Forbes Online, Fast Company Online, Marketing Magnified (CMO Council), CRM Magazine and other publications.
Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image – an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency (although he prefers the title, Media Hacker) and author of Six Pixels of Separation (Business Plus, 2009). He has been called a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert and community leader. He is also a Blogger, Podcaster, passionate entrepreneur and speaker who connects with people worldwide by sharing his marketing insights on digital marketing and new media. In 2008, Mitch was named Canada’s Most Influential Male in Social Media, one of the top 100 online marketers in the world, and was awarded the highly prestigious Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. Most recently, Mitch was named one of iMedia’s 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators in the world. His next book, CTRL ALT DEL will be published in May 2013.
Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force. Published by John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a major business publisher, Brand Advocates shows how companies are leveraging Brand Advocates to build their brands and businesses – and how you can too! Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.
If someone told you there was a shoebox full of hand-written highly qualified referral leads buried next to a tree in South Dakota, would you grab a shovel and venture to retrive them? Judging by the stats below, I’m sure every marketer and salesperson would be on the next flight to South Dakota cracking a bottle of champagne!
Facts about Lead Generation
Sixty percent of B2B marketers say generating leads is their top goal for 2012, followed closely by 57 percent who said “converting leads into paying customers” is their top priority (MarketingSherpa, “2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey”).
In a recent survey by HubSpot, about 25 percent of marketers said referral leads were worth $1,000 per lead to their company and about 10 percent said referrals were worth more than $10,000.
Today, we’ve announced a new lead generation solution to help marketers and salespeople generate thousands of “free” referral leads from their own Brand Advocates and their social networks.
Zuberance’s new “Advocate Referrals” solution is not a tell-a-friend tool or pay for referrals tactic. It’s a complete referral marketing solution that enables companies to systematically:
Identify Advocates from among customers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, website visitors, and more;
Leverage Advocates to generate referral leads by making it easy for Advocates to create and/or share compelling content and offers with their social and business networks;
Track and optimize results in real-time.
How it works:
The Zuberance Advocate Platform automatically tracks which Advocates are sharing content and offers with their social networks; how many referrals have been generated; and the conversion rate for these referrals. A/B testing enables marketers to compare and analyze what offers or content being shared by Advocates are generating the most referrals. The Zuberance Advocate Platform also enables marketers to automatically re-engage Advocates to spur more sharing and referrals.
“Referral leads are the Gold Standard of leads, the Glengarry leads. These are the leads that marketers need and salespeople crave,” said Rob Fuggetta, Zuberance Founder & CEO. “Zuberance’s Advocate Referrals delivers thousands of qualified referral leads into the sales funnel, boosting sales fast,” he stated.
Your enthusiastic customers (AKA “Brand Advocates”) are a powerful and inexpensive customer acquisition machine. We estimate that each energized Advocate gets three new customers for your business. Depending on the number of your Advocates and your customers’ the lifetime value, this may be worth several millions of dollars. And since you don’t need to pay authentic Advocates, the cost of acquiring customers via advocacy is dramatically less – about 50 percent less in many cases – compared to traditional marketing programs like paid media advertising.
You’re excited about starting a Brand Advocate program. Now you need to “sell” your CMO or VP marketing on the idea.
Here’s some advice and guidance on how to get your CMO’s blessings and budget for an advocacy program:
1. Keep it simple. Advocacy is a fancy term for Word of Mouth marketing. Some people may not understand or even heard of the term “advocacy.” But your CMO (and nearly all business people for that matter) know the power of Word of Mouth. So instead of saying to your CMO, “We’d like to start an advocacy program,” try telling them: “We’d like to start a Word of Mouth marketing program.”
2. Find the CMO’s pain/attack the pain. This is “sales 101.”Focus in on the CMO’s pain and show him or her how an advocacy program will help fix it. See chart below:
How Advocacy can Help
Negative Word of Mouth, e.g. low online ratings
Boost online ratings
Symantec doubled its star ratings and increased sales 200% on Amazon.com in one quarter after energizing its Advocates
High customer acquisition costs
Lower customer acquisition costs
Ooma, a VoIP provider, cut acquisition costs 54% by energizing its Advocates
Get more value from Facebook marketing
Find Advocates from among Facebook fans and turn them into a marketing force
Ancestry.com has identified over 2,000 Advocates on its Facebook page, and is inviting Advocates to share testimonials plus offers with their Facebook friends.
4. Show your CMO negative Word of Mouth about your company. Negative Word of Mouth comes in many forms: poor reviews and ratings; nasty posts on Facebook and Twitter; venomous comments in online forums. Screen-grab this content and show it to your CMO. Or just have your CMO type in your company or brand name with the word “sucks” and see how many hits you get.
5. Prove that negative Word of Mouth – even a little – can hurt your company’s sales. If your CMO responds by saying, “Oh well, a few negative reviews aren’t a big problem,” share research with him or her that proves that even a few negative reviews can kill your sales and ruin your reputation. One negative post on social media, on average, has as much impact on customer purchase decisions as five positive posts, NM Incite says. And 80% of consumers change their mind after reading a single bad review, according to a survey by Cone, a Boston-based strategy and communications agency.
6. Provide stats proving that positive Word of Mouth boosts sales. Numerous studies prove that advocacy drives sales. A one-star increase in ratings on Yelp can boost restaurant sales by 5% to 9%, a Harvard study showed. And companies with only 12% higher Net Promoter Scores (a measure of advocacy) grew their revenues 2X faster than companies with lower Net Promoter Scores, according to a Bain study.
7. Set clear expectations. When making the case for advocacy, it’s important to estimate on how many Advocates you can identify; how many will recommend your brand and product; how many will create and/or share or publish positive reviews, testimonials, etc.
9. Show why your company should move some of its marketing dollars into advocacy. About 90 percent of most company’s marketing investments go to traditional marketing like ads. Yet only 1 in 5 CMOs say they’re getting the marketing results they want. Arm yourself with the facts: What’s your sales conversion rate for traditional marketing programs? How many leads are you getting? How qualified are these leads? Then, drawing on relevant case studies and examples, show how advocacy programs are more effective and less expensive than traditional marketing programs.
10. Show how a Brand Advocate program will super-charge your company’s Content Marketing Program. Depending on the size of your company, your company may be spending millions of dollars developing content. (Companies spend about 26% of their marketing budgets on developing content, one study showed.) One design firm charges $10,000 to $15,000 for a single infographic! Show how a Brand Advocate program will deliver thousands of pieces of premium content like highly positive reviews and glowing customer testimonials for less than the cost of brand-developed content. Ancestry.com, the popular genealogy website, generated over 6,800 glowing Advocate testimonials in less than 90 days.
Getting more customer recommendations is considered the Holy Grail in the social media age. For example, restaurants that boost their Yelp ratings by only one star can increase revenues by a whopping nine percent, according to recent research by Michael Luca from Harvard Business School. For a large restaurant chain, this can mean millions of dollars in sales.
Now, a ground-breaking new book shows marketers, small business owners, and even non-profits how to generate thousands of customer recommendations and boost online ratings by turning their best customers – “Brand Advocates” – into a volunteer marketing force.
The book, Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force (Wiley; ISBN: 978-1-1183-3603-8; July 2012; Hardcover & E-book) provides a step-by-step guide on how marketers, small business owners, and others can:
Discover who their Brand Advocates are and what makes these influential customers tick
Energize Advocates, generating thousands of positive recommendations on Amazon.com, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere without paying for or providing incentives to Advocates
Reward Brand Advocates by giving them what they crave most (here’s a hint: it isn’t money)
Measure results and ROI from advocacy programs
Advocacy is Hot
Driving customer advocacy is now the #1 digital priority for CMOs worldwide, a recent IBM study of global CMOs showed. And eMarketer recently stated: “Brand advocacy has become a critical part of the social media marketing mix.”
“Ultimate Guidebook to Brand Advocacy”
Brand Advocates is the first book that focuses on these influential consumers and shows marketers exactly how to engage and energize them to drive positive Word of Mouth, referral leads, and sales.
Porter Gale, the former VP Marketing at Virgin America, calls Brand Advocates the “ultimate guidebook to brand advocacy.” Says Gale: “Advocacy is the ultimate goal for every brand. Rob Fuggetta’s book is simple, clear, and filled with practical advice.”
Packed with Real-World Case Studies
Brand Advocates is packed with dozens of real-world case studies from multiple industries and verticals including consumer products, restaurants, health and fitness, automotive, software, consumer electronics, and more. It includes a chapter devoted to how B2B marketers can activate Advocates as well.
Brand Advocates shows how GMC, Ford, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, Club One Fitness, Virgin America, Intuit, Microsoft, Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, and many others are leveraging their Advocates to amplify positive Word of Mouth and sales.
Who Should Read Brand Advocates?
Brand Advocates is valuable for a wide range of audiences:
B2C and B2B marketers in a variety of roles: branding, online/digital, social media, demand generation, eCommerce, corporate communications, market research, and more
Sales executives and managers
Customer experience and loyalty program professionals
Executives and managers in ad agencies, digital agencies, public relations firms, and other marketing services providers
Small business owners and entrepreneurs
Professionals in non-profit organizations, government agencies, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) plus in political campaigns
College students in business and marketing programs
In addition, any company or organization that is measuring customer satisfaction, loyalty, or advocacy via Net Promoter® can also benefit from Brand Advocates. The book describes how to turn Promoters into a powerful marketing force.
About the Author
Rob Fuggetta is the world’s foremost authority on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the founder and CEO of Zuberance, a leading social media marketing company that powers award-winning advocacy programs for consumer and business brands. A twenty-year veteran of Silicon Valley, Fuggetta has played a leadership role in three start-ups including Genuity, a Verizon spinout. He was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary Silicon Valley marketing and communications firm that helped put Apple on the map.