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We have used case studies from customers who have had great success with our product. That has been on the of the marketing advocarte stategies that has worked for us.
Hope that helps some.
As Kaitlyn mentioned, customer stories that show the challenges, solutions, and results are invaluable. Include metrics if possible. Create a high impact video if possible.
Depending on your customer profile, perhaps a referral program might help.
I agree with Anthony on the video. We did videos at my last company and posted them to our website and they were a major hit.
Referral programs are great and even sweepstakes programs, offer something cool and you will get results.
The core of a successful advocate program is that you need customers who love your product. If you don't have customers who love your product, then immediately stop spending effort on an advocate program and shift resources to building products people love and creating more awareness amongst your customers in terms of what your product does for them. If you have the critical foundation of customers who love your products, then you can build upon it by surfacing opportunities for your customers to spread their love for your product. To do that, think about what you're offering your customers...is it:
The opportunity to show off their expertise and build their personal brand?
- Participation in relevant conversations across social media?
- Speaking opportunities at live events?
- Product reviews?
- Blog posts?
- Exclusive membership in product planning/roadmap calls?
- Early access to beta features of your product?
- Community status?
- The opportunity to show off their expertise and build their personal brand?
Marketo does everything Courtland mentioned and if you can't tell, I love it!
We recently launched a customer advocacy and networking program to promote best practices sharing and take our relationship with advocates to the next level. As each new client is nominated to the program, they share where they are looking for ideas and where they have tips to share. This format allows us to easily identify subject matter experts for speaking engagements. Two reference activities are also required to join, though most members have far exceeded that threshold.
The program has been relatively easy to manage. The internal nomination process is run through Marketo. Meetings are held online once a month with one in-person meeting of the client group a year. A topic calendar is created based on what clients have indicated they need help with. One to two clients are on point each session to be “topic leaders” and get the discussion going. I ask that they create 1-3 slides to frame the dialogue.
As an aside, we are revamping our Marketo client scoring model to reflect client engagement. We’ll continue to take the lead score to zero once the deal closes and then score off of a Salesforce custom object based to track things like references, case studies, press release quotes, media interviews, speakerships at industry events or our webinars, product pilots, social media amplification, attending customer events, etc.
Current customers could be your best marketing tools and sources of intelligence. But instead of just generating the standard case study, testimonial, etc and just shooting those out as emails present the assets in a cohesive package. I find in large organizations, there is no shortage of people who love to hear themselves speak.
- Sponsor a webinar for that individual to share their best practices and use as an opportunity to present their case study, whitepaper, downloadables. (record it)
We also started a customer advisory board (CAB) that allows us to present what's potentially on the roadmap, and allows clients to network and share best practices. We hold general meetings maybe once or twice a year and use Linkedin groups in between. Keep them talking to each other and generating more quotables. Actuallly, our CAB got so big that it grew into a whole conference (http://www.spotlighttms.com/ctic-2013/) which was chock-full of more marketing assets for us.
Awesome conversation guys! Yes Courtland, having a great product is helpful, especially when your clients are ‘marketers’ and understand this ‘Advocate world’ (lucky for us at Marketo!) So I could talk for days on this one but I will give a couple things and also happy to have a conversation with any of you as I run the Enterprise advocate program here at Marketo for a few years:
- Create your recruiting pools- how do you find your customer advocates?
o Out of enablement, is there an easy way to find the supper happy, great to work with clients that your enablement team just closed. When our team closes a client from the onboarding period they have a check box ‘is client referenceable- if so why?’ this has been a good steady flow of people we can go after to recruit.
o Employee nomination, I typically stay away from sales but instead drive employee nominations from our client facing org (unless your reps own the relationship with the customer after the sale than yes they could be a good recruiting source as well)
o LIVE; Roadshows, summit, events are great ways to identify your hand raisers! We had our inside sales guys wear ‘Join the Advocate Program’ t-shirts at summit last year. It was a great opportunity to test out there sales skills and pitch customers on why they should join Marketo’s Advocate program. We had over 200 signs ups in 2 days! All with a quick Marketo form, tracked, auto email, reminders! Awesome!
o Build relationships with execs internally and with your peers, promote yourself and what you are trying to do so people come to you with the best customers to have join the program.
- Don’t be afraid to go after large enterprise accounts, they are just people who work for big awesome companies! Let them tell you they can’t do PR or endorse any vendors but maybe they can take reference calls, or tell you how they are using their product so you at least can tell the story internally. Building relationships is key!
- Content! We build it but are sales people able to really tell the story? I think you have to have a certain mix of customer case studies and assets on your website to cover industry, size, product, etc to check that box. Once you have that, we at Marketo are really trying to focus energy on getting stories and communicating them in a way to sales that allows them to ‘tell the customer stories’. Case studies and PPT slides are sometimes hard to understand the pain the customer had before you, what the challenges were like and then oh by the way how your product made their world so much better! Once you build content, don’t forget to promote and tell it to the rest of organization again and again!
I think Cate Vanasse with Egenica and Delinda Tinkey with NextGen on this thread are GREAT examples of amazing advocates for Marketo. I think they have both done a great job in not looking at working with me within the advocate program as just for ‘Marketo’. Both of them have built an amazing brand for themselves within their organizations and out in the world with the speaking opportunities and the PR we have set up for them over the years. Even if you don’t have opportunities or value-adds to give back to your advocates don’t let that stop you, true advocates for your product WANT to be advocates (to some degree, I try not to live in lala land) and do not NEED something in return. Search for your true advocates and just take care of them along the way!