I am currently binge watching a TV show on Netflix. The reason I started watching it was because a friend suggested it to me. It’s an example of the most basic form of advocacy, which is of course, word of mouth. There is no form of marketing that works better than the recommendation of a trusted person. When we hear a positive message about everything from a good TV show through to a major purchase, we often react with affirmative action. Or, to put it simply, we commonly buy things based on the advice of others.
Harnessing that process for your own business should, in theory at least, be as simple as just ensuring you produce a high-quality product or service. Once you do this enough, then the word will get out.
This was certainly true for many years when we all tended to operate in closed market environments, where geographically you were limited to a small number of suppliers. However, as is usually the case in any marketing function these days, the Internet has changed everything. While the principles of word of mouth remain, the transmission method and the role it plays in the marketing of your brand has changed dramatically.
In many ways, the creation of an advocacy based marketing strategy is less about the awareness of your brand per se, and more about making existing awareness visible to the right people, via the right environment. You need to find ways of reaching out to new customers with your existing word of mouth support and then open the opportunity up to the new customers you make to further enhance your reputation.
Specific methods of doing this will vary somewhat depending on your business, but usually, they will feature the following (to name a few):
- Testimonials on your website. A good review, clearly gathered from a legitimate source, speaks volumes.
- Social media reach. Your approach to social media is vital to spreading advocacy. If you are reaching out to customers, then there is very little with the power to promote or harm, than social media.
- Online review websites such as Trustpilot and Feefo offer as quality trust-worthy sources for consumers, primarily because it is user-driven.
- Cross media approach. Where all this really comes together is in consistency of message, brand and quality across everything from print to your digital presence. There is little point in having a fantastic base of people who are happy with what you do if it isn’t consistently linked back to your brand.
It is worth reiterating here that the real key is to specifically apply your message to generate the response you want. I very carefully didn’t give you the name of the TV show at the start of this article and now, as a result, no matter how good it is you cannot benefit from my recommendation. Clarity of the message is absolutely vital, and this is just a brief overview of the potential of advocacy-based marketing.
Why not give us a call and we will be happy to look at your specific needs.