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Be an Advocacy Advocate

August 20, 2013|Bob Peterson

To take advocacy programs to the next level, marketers need to follow their own advice by becoming advocacy advocates, promoting the value of advocacy within their organizations. This is a great way to raise awareness for the good work your team is doing to generate advocacy content.

I can think of few assets more valuable to b-to-b organizations than a happy customer who is willing to share his or her experience with other customers and prospects. It’s a rare sales cycle that doesn’t include an advocacy asset somewhere, and it’s a marketer’s nirvana to add the voice of a satisfied customer to a webinar, speaking engagement or case study.

Thumbs up on green backgroundSo, if organizations agree on the value of customer advocacy, why do so many struggle to advance this critically important effort? Is it because advocacy is under-resourced in many organizations? Is it because its value is usually hard to measure? Or is it simply because advocacy is largely invisible to leaders who control the marketing budget?

To take advocacy programs to the next level, marketers need to follow their own advice by becoming advocacy advocates, promoting the value of advocacy within their organizations. This is a great way to raise awareness for the good work your team is doing to generate advocacy content. Here are three strategies to try:

1. Promote advocacy assets at the executive level. Many C-level executives may not be aware of advocacy work, simply because it’s invisible to them. Take time to share new content with your leadership team – or, even better, include them in the production process so they can connect directly with customers. This can also have the benefit of supporting an executive sponsorship program.

2. Introduce new assets in sales meetings. Getting a standing slot in quarterly sales review meetings to formally present new advocacy content will jumpstart utilization. Often, new content sits on the shelf for far too long, as sales doesn’t even know it exists. A sales meeting is also a great time to solicit new ideas for advocacy content (to help sales help you help them!).

3. Employ analytics to measure the value of advocacy. This is an area where we see great progress and potential. Establishing attribution of the impact of advocacy on closed business is the most powerful way to prove value. If possible, work with your operations teams to automate the process.

Marketers must never assume the value of any activity is self-evident. A little self-promotion can go a long way, and nowhere is this more true than in customer advocacy. Being passive about the worth of advocacy runs the risk of positioning it as a nice-to-have rather than mission-critical function. Unfortunately, nice-to-haves often become used-to-haves.

Taking advocacy to the next level requires investments in resources and technology, and your organization’s list of important corporate initiatives competing for these investments is likely long. Make sure your advocacy initiatives stay at the top of the list by becoming an advocacy advocate in your own organization.

Bob Peterson

Bob Peterson is a sales and marketing thought leader with more than 20 years of experience working in mid- to large-sized global organizations, with emphasis on the financial services and software sectors. Bob has particularly focused on developing account-based marketing strategies to help sales and marketing organizations forge tighter alignment.
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