Andy Cockburn, CEO and Founder of Mention Me, embarks on his A-Z of loyalty marketing by explaining how an optimised brand advocacy strategy can have a powerful, sustainable, long-term impact across the marketing mix – starting with customer acquisition.
An advocacy-first approach – one that puts customers at the heart of your business, encourages them to refer friends, and finds more brand fans like them – is a critical ingredient for sustainable, organic growth. Yet many brands are yet to realise its full value.
As the economic downturn continues, putting customers at the heart of your marketing might not feel like the biggest priority when there are revenue targets to hit.
But the reality is that an optimised brand advocacy strategy has the potential to open up a sustainable revenue stream, drive organic long-term growth, and maximise the impact of other marketing channels.
To show the powerful effects of thinking advocacy-first, we’re popping the hood of brand advocacy to explore how it can drive unbeatable results for your business.
Here, we’re focusing on the first letter from our advocacy alphabet: A, which stands for Acquisition. Read on to find out how you can leverage brand advocacy to hit one of your most critical KPIs.
Higher costs, lower returns
Acquiring high-value customers isn’t easy. The cost of digital ads and paid search is soaring, while returns are dwindling. Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly cynical about advertising; according to Hubspot, 75 per cent of consumers do not trust paid ads.
All this means one of your key go-to marketing channels is becoming more expensive and less effective. It’s clear that to drive truly sustainable growth – in the tough economic climate and beyond – something needs to change.
Fortunately, there is a highly trusted marketing channel out there that you can use alongside your other activities to make your entire marketing machine more effective…
The power of brand advocacy
When it comes to acquiring new customers, it’s trust that will guide them all the way to checkout.
Imagine, for example, that you’re on the hunt for a new teeth-whitening treatment. What are you most likely to trust: a paid ad on Google, or the bright-smile recommendation of your work colleague?
Chances are, it’s the latter.
A recommendation from someone we know will always carry more weight than an ad from a brand we don’t. The numbers speak for themselves. Mention Me’s latest research reveals that referral is the channel most trusted by consumers, beating out the likes of social media, TV advertising and influencers.
While eye-catching visuals and whip-smart copy might tempt your target audience, it’s trust that will win them over. Without it, you risk tempting consumers to tentatively fill their baskets only to abandon cart at the last minute.
Despite the fact that personal recommendations are more trusted than any advert, many brands still, in the words of NPS Creator Fred Reichheld, treat referrals as “the icing on the cake”. You know how important word of mouth is, but you might not have known how you can actively encourage these recommendations – until now.
With a sophisticated brand advocacy platform, you can control this previously uncontrollable driver of customer acquisition and increase new customer acquisition by up to 30 per cent.
Acquiring the best customer, not just the next customer
As well as an immediate uplift in new customers, harnessing brand advocacy will drive up other key metrics, such as average order value and retention rates.
When a consumer hears about a product from someone they trust, they are predisposed to liking that brand themselves. On average, referred customers spend 11 per cent more on their first order and are five times more likely to recommend brands to others – kickstarting a powerful cycle of exponential growth.
By leveraging and tracking this trust through an optimised brand advocacy strategy, brands can start to welcome a steady stream of customers itching to refer them onwards.
It’s time for a marketing revolution. Rather than focusing your efforts solely on those high-spending customers, focus on nurturing and rewarding your brand advocates – driving revenue for your business, now and in the future.
CEO and Founder