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  • Malorie Leonetti, Marketing Coordinator at NMI

Fan Based or Advocate Marketing – What is it and How to Rock It

When you’re making a purchasing decision for a product or service, where do you go? Most can say that something urges them to use a specific company whether it be talking to someone they know, reading reviews online, or product research. To put it simply – they want to know what people are saying before they decide to try it. In fact, according to BrightLocal, 88 % of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Amazon and Trip Advisor, in a way are fan driven businesses – both are web based platforms but run on reviews, much like the brand advocacy model.

We call ourselves a fan-focused marketing agency, so what does that mean? People call this type of marketing a lot of things; field marketing, fan focused marketing, advocate marketing, loyalty or experiential marketing, word of mouth marketing. Advocacy marketing focuses is just that… the advocacy. You take your company’s happiest customers and motivate them to help you achieve your business objectives (hello greater brand awareness and growth in revenue!). Sports teams and musicians are a great example of businesses that focus on advocate marketing. The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t trying to get new fans every season when they push their promotional material and advertising (thank goodness, because that would be a flop…) but they are speaking to the people that are already fans and motivating them to spread the word and become advocates (ie. Dart Guy)

Dart Guy is a TML super-fan and a prime example of a loyal, brand advocate. He showed up to one of their final games in Washington in full gear and face paint and continued to support them, just like this, for the remainder of their season…Shamelessly showing his love for his favourite team.

From a business standpoint, think of the benefit of having your most valued customers promote your brand for you – all you have to do is provide them with the outstanding product/service that you already are. Consider these people your third party marketers and the more you get, the stronger your business will be! Word of mouth will build trusted advisors and greater brand loyalty.

But how do you do it? Well… you can hire a team who eat, sleeps and breathes this stuff (you’re on the right website ) but you can also follow these tips to get started:

  • Identify your potential advocates

Find the customers that are already passionate about your brand, that utilize it and get excited about it. These individuals will have no problem talking you up to others.

  • Create an experience that makes it fun, enjoyable and rewarding to participate

Once you’ve identified your advocates, you need to think about why they would want to be an advocate – or better yet, what’s in it for them? Advocate marketing emphasizes their wants and needs over the actual acts of advocacy.

  • Keep them excited and keep them engaged

Now you’ve got them, how are you keeping them? Come up with strategic, fun ways to keep your fans just as excited about your brand as you are.

Keep in mind that not all customers are going to be advocates. Recruiting your advocates involves taking a close look at your current customers and identifying those that would spread your message most effectively.

This is one of the most fun, efficient and powerful ways to market your brand but it can also be one of the most complicated – stay tuned as we dig deeper into turning fans into advocates.

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