Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. Remember the last time, you as a customer, went through a great brand experience. All of us have experiences brands who go above and beyond to make us understand they care about us. It is very likely that we take record those memories. They then turn into stories we tell our friends over a dinner table, or share something on social media. That is precisely what advocacy marketing means.
When customers start spreading the word-of-mouth about their brand experiences in a positive light, they become brand advocates. As brands we should to have all our customers as our advocates.
Let’s be honest, this is essentially word-of-mouth marketing we are talking about. There is literally no other marketing technique that can compete with it at a micro level. But what if we could enable this to take place at scale? Over 90% of consumers report that they trust recommendations by friends and family above anything else. To make it even better, this channel of customer acquisition results in 37% reduction in the churnrate.
You’d be wrong if you thought the goodness stops there. While influencer marketing brings in a 650% ROI to businesses, organic advocacy by beats influecer marketing by 5x. Your advocates are therefore your best customers. They tend to have a higher LTV and a higher retention, making them such a valuable asset to your brand.
But how do the most successful brands of our age carry out their advocacy marketing activity?
Apple: Masters of Advocacy Marketing
iPhone 12 is out and it has many die-hard Apple fans buzzing again. When it comes to brand affinity, few other brands can get past Apple as a brand. The brand-customer relationship is something most other brands envy. With every new release, you see long queues of people waiting to get Apple’s next gadget.
Apple is one of the rare breed ofbrands that can activate advocacy with ease. Advocacy marketing is an integral part of their strategy as the campaign for iPhone X showed. For this campaign, million of people saw authentic selfies taken by Apple’s everyday customers. The great looking, real life selfies made their way to TV commercials, billboards and even paid-ads. The ads would be accompanied with the following copy “Selfies on iPhone X”. This campaign has a high authenticity rate as it was taken by real everyday people using their personal iPhones.
This approach soon caught up with the wider iPhone community of customers and more people started sharing their selfies online. The brand trust, authenticity, popularity and influence grew massively as a result. While we cannot confirm the details, Apple must have rewarded a select number of customers. They would have select a few pieces of content to use for their marketing activity.
Uber: ROI Focued
Brands offering services will arguably have a more difficult job to do here. This is because to need to inspire their customers through their service experience. In this case, Uber’s advocacy marketing initiative is very similar to loyalty point programmes. This approach makes it very easy for people spreading the word-of-mouth, but it lacks real authenticity compared to Apple.
In this example, Uber identifies their active users and offers them free rised in return for referrals. It is unlikely to increase brand affinity as the relationship is very transactional in this scenario. On the other hand, this can be easier if ROI is all that matters to you.
How can one improve a referral programme like this? Try getting people to share their brand experience along with the Invite Code on social media. This brings in user-generated content, creates conversations and provides a much needed customer feedback too.
Southwest Airlines: The Viral One
When it comes to customer experience in the airline industry Southwest is up there. The brand is ahead of their competitors by an average of 17%. That is because their customers are highly engaged with their brand experienced compared to other airlines.
The study shows there are also other factors that metter to customers along with pricing. It is also the ease of use, great customer service experience and nice employees that stood out for customers. As a result the brand is known for having a fun experience and friendly staff. This has resulted in the brand being popular on social media.
Southwestern also creates an environment where advocacy marketing thrives. They make it exciting and fun for people to share their experience online. The brands benefit from a range of creative ideas. It ranges from creative napkin to be snapped for Instagram or an energetic flight attendant who goes viral on youtube. The example is therefore prime example of turning happy customers into brand advocates through a great experience.
This is why we at Pukket believe advocacy marketing is the best way growing your brand. This is a marketing technique like no other. Advocacy marketing is all about building and engaging in meaningful relationship with your customers. And this is only achieveable through an A-star level of customer service. This can be achieved with an engaged community of customers and a great experience that makes customers fall in love with your brand.