HomeBlog Understanding How Customer Advocacy Impacts Demand Creation

Understanding How Customer Advocacy Impacts Demand Creation

August 01, 2016 | By Jen Horton

  • When organizations understand where advocacy impacts demand creation, they can better justify advocacy investments
  • First, assess where customer advocacy can support key demand creation processes
  • Use the results of demand creation performance to make the business case for improving advocacy

When customers are not happy, they are vulnerable to competitive replacement, and their sentiments can harm your brand reputation – and demand creation performance. When customers are happy, they build brand reputation and create new sources of demand, and they can be leveraged for demand creation programs and tactics. It’s obvious, right? But how do you actually prove and quantify the impact?

While many organizations are leveraging customer advocates for better demand creation, their efforts are often opportunistic at best. When organizations understand where advocacy has an impact on demand creation, they can better justify advocacy investments – which results in better demand creation planning. The first step is to assess where customer advocacy can support key demand creation processes:

  • Seed. The use of traditional and social media to set the stage for demand creation. Activating customer advocates to share their positive experiences helps to build reputation. Impact can be measured by Net Promoter Score, brand sentiment, and influenced pipeline and revenue.
  • Create. The creation of original demand, with a focus on quality vs. quantity. Referral and upsell/cross-sell programs can source high-quality demand directly through advocates. Impact can be measured by lead generation, lead conversion efficiency, and sourced pipeline and revenue.
  • Accelerate. Efforts geared to help move qualified demand more quickly through to revenue. Advocacy-infused content effectively supports buyers throughout all stages of the buying process. Impact can be measured by lead velocity (time spent in each demand stage), and influenced pipeline and revenue.
  • Enable. Helping reps increase their productivity for both sales- and marketing-sourced demand. Direct access to advocates helps buyers mitigate risk in purchase decisions by better understanding what it will be like to be a customer. Impact can be measured by sales quota attainment, deal dynamics, and influenced pipeline and revenue.
  • Nurture. The care and feeding of prospects that are not ready for sales, or that have fallen out of the Demand Waterfall®. Advocacy-infused content helps buyers build a stronger business case to re-evaluate the organization. Impact can be measured by lead conversion efficiency, lead velocity, and sourced and influenced pipeline and revenue.

Next, demand creators and customer marketing professionals need to baseline the impact measures and gather data from available sources to assess what options exist for leveraging advocacy. Then, the teams can design a pilot to test and quantify the impact of advocacy. When results can be tied directly to demand creation performance (i.e. sourced and influenced demand), the organization can use the results to build the business case to improve the quality of advocacy efforts and identify new opportunities for demand creation leverage.

Jen Horton

Jen is a marketing executive with more than 15 years of experience in high-growth b-to-b organizations. An early adopter of marketing automation technology and closed-loop lead management processes, she is passionate about sales and marketing process improvement, sales and marketing effectiveness measurement, demand generation strategy and execution, product and solution marketing, sales enablement and customer experience marketing. Follow Jen on Twitter @jenhorton

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