Brand advocacy can be a compelling asset for your company. In this digital age, online marketing tools and social media platforms give companies and customers many ways to have their voices heard. This can be a cost effective way to build your brand and form bonds of loyalty with your customers. These brand advocates can help spread the word about your products and services, and by doing so, gives them an endorsement that can be an invaluable source of credibility.
If you are a business owner who looking for business growth and expansion. in this episode of The Virtual CMO podcast, we talk about brand advocates, fractional executives for marketing, customer behavior, and more. Hear The Five Echelon Group's Founder / CMO Eric Dickmann talk with fellow Fractional CMO and Fangled Tech's CEO- Andrew Deutsch.
Andrew Deutsch is a multilingual marketing expert and CEO of Fangled Tech. He is driven in helping teams develop innovative and effective strategies. As a Fractional CMO, Deutsch collaborates with stakeholders and enterprises to strengthen brand influence, grow sales, and develop a long-term roadmap to success. He and his team work to navigate the complex waters of business and secure positive results in all types of markets and economic conditions.
What is a Brand Advocate?
Research says that 92% of online consumers trust recommendations from social circles and testimonials from brand advocates. EveryoneSocial defines brand advocates as customers or employees who proactively promote your company on their pages by word of mouth, email, or even by video content without receiving any commission or incentive. Your brand should be memorable; but memorable for the right things. You want your brand to be remembered for the great work you’ve done in giving effective solutions to the problems of your customers.
Junior vs. Experienced Marketing Professionals
So how can you build brand advocates? Hiring a young professional straight out of college to manage a company's marketing efforts may be cost effective but too often, they don't have the skills and experience needed to build and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy. The lessons learned from their textbooks and professors are only the building blocks of knowledge. A seasoned-marketing professional knows how to apply these lessons in different industries, with different tools, and by engaging outside professionals when needed.
At its core, marketing is answering all the relevant questions arising during a sales cycle and turning a potential customer into a ready buyer. While many young marketing professionals are proficient with social media platforms, cash is the currency that drives the world, not likes and followers. Andrew mentions that he would prefer online connections that would do business with him rather than 300,000 followers who won't give him profit at all. You can't buy food in the grocery store with likes; you need cash! Hiring a seasoned execute can help companies build out the kind of marketing strategy and can build trust and loyalty with customers, and ultimately, create brand advocates.
Outsourced Agency vs. Fractional CMO
When considering a strategy to build out brand advocates, you could hire internal resources, engage with an outside agency, or bring in a Fractional CMO to build out and execute a marketing plan. There are pros and cons to each and the best solution depends on your company's unique situation.
Understanding Your Customers Better
Awareness drives interest, which then begins to build demand. Marketing is not just about collecting leads; it's about recognizing the customer's behavior and needs, and understanding the market's total potential. Gathering leads is a nurturing process and they have to mature before moving them over to sales. Unfortunately, many companies are not sure who their customers are and this is critical when designing a marketing strategy.
Deutsch explains that the customers establish relationships with companies not only because of the high-quality products they sell but because these organizations were able to provide value and exceed service expectations. Andrew says that people like to work with teams that help them resolve their problems quickly and efficiently. As a business owner, it's important to understand your customer's pain points and understand how a particular product or service will solve a problem or address a need.
The challenge nowadays with globalizing your brand is cultural translation. Customers want to know what differentiates your foreign product from the local market goods. What makes you stand out? What more do you have to offer? These are the questions that you have to answer for customers in any market. In the global market, you may think that you've got a solution that can easily be sold globally; but in reality, it may not culturally fit without some modifications. Simple things like packaging, imagery, or how a product might ultimately be used can make the difference between how a product is received in a different county. It's not as simple as translating content from one language to another, it goes much deeper than that to truly understand the unique needs and customs of a foreign market. Andrew Deutsch admits that despite working with hundreds of markets locally and overseas for over thirty years, he still needs a team of professionals to help him cover all the blind spots when establishing new brands in foreign markets.
The Biggest Mistake
Andrew tells us that companies' biggest mistake is forgetting their brand story and identifying their target customer persona. Marketing is allowing people to know who you are and what they can gain by buying your product or service. The goal is to service them in a way that customers become brand advocates for your products and services. Giving them a good overall experience, one that they would feel comfortable advocating to their family or friends. Sadly, most companies fail in this goal and fail to follow through. Any missteps in the buyer's journey can negate all the positive goodwill built along the way.
Have you ever wondered why Apple is so successful? People line up around the corner to buy an Apple product because Apple has built an army of brand advocates that love the brand and advocate it to others. Passion like that takes years to develop. You've got to spend a lot of focus, time, and dedication in strengthening your brand advocacy and building customer loyalty but with Apple as the most valuable company in the world, you can see that it pays off in the long term!
We want people to know who we are. See our products, buy them, love them, and tell everyone to become an advocate for that brand. That's what we want. That's what marketing is about. The sales team is involved in part of that.”
Making a Strong Value Proposition for Your Brand Advocates
Having a clear, straight-to-the-point value proposition is essential to your business. The value proposition helps people understand why they should do business with you and convince them why your product is more valuable to them than your competitors'. Deutsch encourages us to build a tribe of advocates and by establishing a strong value proposition. Think about people lining up in front of Apple stores or even making pre-orders of the product just because Apple announced a new product line. Apple can make people excited about their product launches because they have invested so much time, money, and effort in building their value proposition.
In making your value proposition, you should make the benefits of your product or service easily accessible and understood by your target market. Many companies fail in having brand advocates because their proposition vaguely answers people's needs. The best brands in the market have unique but clear offers, and answer how their product or service will help the person solve a particular problem or satisfy a need.
CXL enumerates tips in creating a strong value proposition:
- People should read and understand your value proposition CLEARLY- Your customers must be able to understand the message you are relaying to them in less than five seconds. Don't use complicated words in your proposition; express your thoughts clearly and as straightforward as possible.
- Use the RIGHT language for your proposition - This process would involve an immense amount of research because you will need to know what kind of language your customers are speaking, and build your marketing concept from there. Going out of your office and interviewing people is needed in this course of action.
- Follow a FORMAT- A great value proposition consists of four elements: Headline, sub-headline (2 or 3 sentence paragraph), bullet points (containing key benefits and features), and related visuals (an image that underlines your written message).
Using Automation in Your Brand Advocacy
Andrew Deutsch reminds us to walk our talk. Many automation programs backfire because people see them simply as a tool for cutting costs. Don't automate for automation sake! Don't automate everything to the point that you alienate your customers or confuse your employees. Automation is indeed cost and time-efficient, but it has to be adequately implemented. Andrew adds that having a properly working CRM (customer relationship management) is like having two or three virtual assistants working for you every day. Investing in a CRM software like HubSpot and Salesforce is vital because it will help your business and staff ensure quality customer service. .
Live Stream Replay
- Cash is the currency that drives the world, not likes, and followers.
- Customers establish relationships with companies not only because of the high-quality products they sell, but because these organizations were able to exceed expectations during the sales process.
- Having a clear and straight-to-the-point value proposition is essential to your business because this is the first thing that they look at when checking out your brand.
- A personal touch is still an absolute requirement in building brand advocates.
Episode and Guest Links
- To learn more about Virtual CMO, strategic marketing consulting services, or anything else discussed here, please contact The Five Echelon Group.
- The Five Echelon Group's Resources to Restart Your Business
- If you have feedback, questions, or are interested in being a guest on the show, please contact us here.
- For more exclusive talk and advice on global marketing concepts, brand advocacy, and B2B and B2C marketing, visit Fangled Tech.
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