Advocacy Engine

Engendering advocacy with your loyal customers is a powerful and cost effective way to build sales.  Advocates are loyal users who act as sales folks extending the impact of your brand as well as in-field market researchers providing insights into how consumers perceive your advertising, your brand and the competition.   Engendering advocacy is not just a one-off tactic.  It is a way of organizing the entire way you go-to-market.

Techtao's Advocacy Engine

The Advocacy Engine diagram highlights key elements of an ongoing advocacy campaign.  A goal of this engine is to identify and nurture a cadre of loyal brand users to speak favorably, on and off line, about your brand to friends and family as well as to listen to and act on insights your advocates share with you.

To jump start your Advocacy Engine, ensure all advertising includes elements inviting consumers to a place where they can provide into a database their name and opt-in email address.  Consumers will provide their contact information to companies they trust in exchange for offers of value — a white paper, a promise for ongoing information of value, coupons/rebates/samples, or an opportunity to make a difference in future brand development.  Test different methods and always remember “please” and “thank you” in the communications stream.

With the consumers in your database, send periodic emails, providing information consumers value and inviting feedback on your product, advertising, and areas of consumer interest.  Subsequent emails can report on findings you receive.  These consumers are your pool of future advocates.

Using the database, invite selective consumers to participate in moderated online discussion boards.  This is a great place to learn about your brand and the competition as well as ask for feedback on future possible marketing campaigns.

When engaging with social media websites platforms, always clearly identity who you are and your position with the brand.  Never lie!  Invite consumers back to your website to learn more and to opt-in for more information and involvement.  Better yet, develop a tool that reinforces the essence of your brand that you can give away to folks in social marketing groups. Consumers should be able to customize this tool and make it their own as well as share with others.  If possible, within the tool provide a way for consumers to share the experience they are having with your brand.

With advocates it is important to first listen, then educate and finally provide value your advocates can share with others – new information “they are the first to know” and many product samples/coupons/rebates.  Whenever possible share with your advocate community the changes that have resulted from their input.  Empower your advocates to increase their feeling of brand ownership.   Ongoing communication can take the form of emails, invitations to visit password protected discussion boards and three-dimensional USPS mailings of samples, coupons and surveys.  The communications should be customized to let your advocates know they are important and special!

Engendering advocacy is an iterative process.  It is not just a tactic done once, but a powerful cost effective way to go-to-market.  In the future, success brands will harness the power of advocates to promote and improve their brand.

“Begin, the rest is easy.”

Previously published in New Jersey Entrepreneur where Tom McMillian is the recognized as New Jersey’s Marketing Expert.

2014 // Category : Advocacy & Blog // No Comments

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