The modern B2B marketing stack is overloaded with tools and metrics that promise to impact the funnel. However, the most impactful tactic is mostly neglected. Marketing teams many times focus on new prospects and typically neglect their own customers. As an outcome marketing activity, tools and budget are heavily focussed on bringing more leads. This race for MQLs (marketing qualified leads) ignores a huge revenue opportunity of customer generated leads, upsells, churn reduction and customer amplified branding.
The impact of customer advocacy on buying decisions is dramatic, and at large, untapped. Gartner found that 65% of the buying decision in B2B is impacted by word-of-mouth such as the voice of the customer. This means that press releases, website content, webinars etc. - all these tactics combined impact only 35% of a prospect’s buying decision. Ironically classic lead generation tools such as content marketing, SEO, paid ads, and even sales development reps (SDR’s) have less impact on the buying decision than customer references, online reviews, testimonials, referrals and overall voice of the customer. “It can't be” you say, well check this out - Hubspot researched the sources of information its buyers rely on when making the purchase decision and found that on average the salesperson impact is about 20% versus customer referral over 50%! Look at their chart.
Now, let’s consider the current customer communication common practice. Although digitized, many customer marketing practices are somewhat outdated. A classic customer marketing calendar can look something like this: in May we’ll have a customer event in the Bay area, in June we send them our quarterly newsletter, and in July we’ll run a customer-story campaign.
Feel the pattern? Each activity is standalone and disconnected from any ongoing relationship framework. These tactics are overused and becoming less effective in engaging customers. For me this is old school marketing.
Examining these 2 issues - lack of customer marketing focus by many marketers, and non-relational / non-interactive marketing for customers, versus the overall impact of customer advocacy - makes one realize that customer marketing is broken.
It’s time to adopt a ‘customer-first’ approach across marketing and product teams that align with customer success. If you’re a marketer - add customer advocacy to your marketing stack. If you’re a customer success leader or product manager - adopt a true ongoing bidirectional communication framework.
That’s why we set out to create a customer relationship framework that keeps B2B customers interactively engaged with the brand in an ongoing digital relationship. We wanted to couple customer relationship management with customer marketing. We envisioned a platform that fosters customer delight and value (beyond the buzzwords), and leverages the voice of your customers for growth.
So we’ve built Crowdvocate – a SaaS platform combining customer community & social frameworks with advocacy & engagement automation and campaign targeting. We topped that with:
- Engagement motivators
- Action tracking and recognition
- Personalization and gamification
- Business triggers
- Fun customer feedback loops
We’ve also taken a omni-channel approach removing the friction of adopting new communication methods.
Initiating customer-segmented discussions, creating customer networking opportunities, getting product feedback with one click, generating reviews in 3rd party review-sites and having customers amplify your message on their social networks are all powerful and measurable actions.
Need a reference form a mid-size financial customer in NY or UK? – get it with 3 clicks. Want a customer story, a quote, referrals, or a user-written blog? Crowdvocate can help you nail these actions.
Crowdvocate is on a mission to reshape B2B customer engagement & marketing by providing a platform to seamlessly create a customer-first mindset. An end-to-end customer marketing platform based on interactions and experiences that nurture customer delight and brand advocacy.
Relationships matter, now more than ever. Your customers can be your strongest currency and fortify your brand. You have the choice - old-school marketing or customer-driven growth.
What's stopping you from joining this revolution!