Periodically I write posts for the Emerald Marketing Association (EMA), where I’m also a board member. Earlier in October I wrote this piece (with editing by Leah Rosin — thanks, Leah!) and I am reposting it with permission here.
I really enjoyed Rob’s presentation, his effervescent enthusiasm for the effectiveness and power of brand advocates was contagious. I hope you’ll pick up his book and consider how you can use this subset of your customers to power more conversions.
If you’re a marketer, or business owner who wants to grow your marketing chops, and you are located in Western Oregon, I recommend you check out the EMA.
— Jay Thompson
Without a doubt, personal recommendations are the most powerful and persuasive type of marketing. Rob Fuggetta, author of Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers Into a Powerful Marketing Force, and CEO of Zuberance, spoke to an enthusiastic (and large) audience of area marketers during the Emerald Marketing Association’s October Lunch & Learn at the Valley River Inn Conference Center.
Rob Fuggetta is a passionate advocate for passionate advocates. He’s made them the focus of his business, and the subject of a book for marketers and anyone seeking to use the power of the subset of your customers who recommend your business to others.
Rob’s presentation was packed with tips and ideas for marketers. Here are but a few highlights to consider (before you head out to buy a copy of his book!)
Many forms of advertising that are commonly used have terrible effectiveness. My favorite (tweeted below) example: you are more likely to give birth to twins than to click on a banner ad. Yet many companies continue to buy banner ads, seeing them as “better than nothing.” Apparently even barely better than nothing is good enough for many companies. Rob points to a better strategy: tap the power of Brand Advocates.
Brand Advocates are a powerful, and underutilized marketing asset. Simply put, they are your customers that recommend your company or brand to others. They aren’t paid by you to do so. They aren’t your Facebook “Likes.” They don’t act this way because you gave them a coupon or discount or special offer. They don’t do this because you somehow persuaded them, but because you earned their recommendation by delivering them a product or service that they truly like. You gave them something of value, and they liked the experience of purchasing or interacting with your organization so much that they spontaneously tell their friends or family or colleagues about your company.
You can identify them by asking one question, also called The Ultimate Question:
How likely are you to recommend (company name/product name) to a friend or colleague?
(Using a 0 to 10 scale) 0-6 = Detractors, 7-8 =Passives, 9-10 =Advocates
Many firms have adopted this method of measurement, and use it to calculate an important measure of a brand’s performance, the Net Promoter Score (NPS.)
Percent Promoters — Percent Detractors = NPS
Research has shown that there is a clear link between NPS and revenue growth. Simply put, if you have a high NPS score, your revenues grow. A low NPS means you’re likely to be losing ground as more people are unhappy with your company compared to those that love it.
Rob then went on to show examples of technological solutions that make it easy to identify your Promoters, or Advocates and also to enable them to provide you with favorable online reviews or comments, powerful tools to influence buying decisions by others. Rob’s take (natural for the CEO and Founder of a company that provides a tech platform designed to tap into the power of consumer advocates) is that while it is possible to put together technology that identifies, tracks, and nurtures advocates, it can be difficult to scale this work for large companies without a dedicated platform. Still, the principles involved can be applied to smaller businesses as well. What is most important is to identify and communicate with your advocates, and ask them to help spread the word about your company or products.
Rob’s presentation concluded with a lively Q&A period. Our thanks to the Duck Store for attending and having Rob’s book available for purchase (and the author’s autograph.)