As one of IdeaScale’s Co-Founders and head of marketing, I am obsessed with our customers.
As a bootstrapped company, our customers are our investors, but they are also our collaborative product developers who help us decide what to build next, they are our tastemakers who tell us how we’re doing in the market place and they are also a key part of our marketing strategy.
When we run our annual customer survey, we found that apart from the majority who found us from a web search that 31% heard about us from someone else who was a customer: through a direct referral, a mention on social media, a review, a presentation that that customer had given, or something else. It was for that reason that we standardized our approach to brand advocacy and created our own system that helps to identify our brand advocates, activate them in the right moment, and rewards them for their advocacy – all while tracking this activity for our team to be able to access at any point. Let me break down how we do each part of this process.
How to Identify Brand Advocates
If we’re going to amplify the voices of our happiest and most successful customer, we need to know who they are.
At IdeaScale, we identify advocates by three different methods:
• High NPS scores
• A high customer health score
• Quarterly accounts meeting with each account manager about their best customers.
The meetings with account managers, in particular, are helpful because the account managers offer so much additional value and context to everyone we’ve already identified and then some. With their help, we build our outreach list for the coming quarter. If a customer has already completed a brand advocacy action for us in the past quarter, we eliminate them from our list for that particular quarter so as not to overwhelm them.
How to Activate Brand Advocates
When a potential brand advocate has been identified, the marketing team will reach out via email and invite each contact to complete a new brand advocacy activity based on their stage in the relationship (for example, certain low touch activities like leaving a review for us online start a relationship versus high effort activities like presenting about their program at an external event which come later). The marketing team maintains a library of email templates to use in their outreach.
How to Reward Brand Advocates
Inevitably, not everyone takes us up on our invitation, but we also generally generate 20-40 brand advocacy activities each quarter from this outreach which drives 30% of inbound interest. That’s worth a lot of money to IdeaScale and we want to thank our advocates for that help. So each time a brand advocacy activity is completed, the marketing team notes it in a custom section of the Salesforce contact record and that triggers a notification to send a thank you or gift. Generally, IdeaScale uses Loop and Tie at increasing price tiers so that the customer can find something that they really want.
How to Track Brand Advocates
As I’ve already mentioned, we track everything in Salesforce. This was a completely bespoke system that our team created ourselves since we found most brand advocacy platforms were either too expensive for us to consider or their feature set was incomplete.
We track each brand advocacy action completed by updating it manually, but that actually triggers a number of automated tasks, like increasing the number of points that each advocate has so that we can rank them and apply a label to that point level, the last time that they completed an action (so that we don’t overwhelm our customers with asks), and notifies our team that it’s time to send a reward. We also track the content of each action so that it’s easier for our internal team to find brand advocacy content to share.
This means that the number of active brand advocates has become a standing marketing KPI. We are constantly increasing both the number of activities and the number of advocates every quarter.
You don’t need to have your own system built to get started
The first most important step is to know how to identify your advocates. Who is experiencing value? How are you collecting those signals? Once you know that then the rest of the strategy will start to snap into place. This will help you build a strong relationship with your best, most enthusiastic clients.
Want to see the full list of brand advocacy activities that we track? Message me on LinkedIn.
Jessica Day is a Co-Founder & the Chief Marketing Director of IdeaScale, innovation management platform that connects organizations to people with ideas. Those ideas can change the world - not just your business. Find ideas to aid in digital transformation, to face the age of automation, to fight climate change, inequality and beyond.