What do you expect from your marketing department – to be your brand advocates in the marketplace or to be your customer advocates within your company. Chances are that you will say both but only empower and reward them to be brand advocates in the marketplace.
And therein lies a problem.
You see, most buying decisions happen when your people are not in the room – not part of the conversations that lead to buying decisions. So for them to be brand advocates is to a certain degree a waste of time. What you need is for your customers and prospects to be your brand advocates. They will be more effective as they participate in the conversations that matter.
Brand advocacy among your customers and prospect is a naturally occurring phenomenon – as long as you do not screw up in the marketplace that is. The question is, how can you increase the volume of brand advocacy among your audiences? The answer is not by adding company-employed brand advocates to the mix. The answer lays instead in turning your marketing employees into passionate customer advocates within your company. By having them become customer advocates they will gain a higher level of trust among your customers and prospects – giving them a more prominent seat at the table where the real buying decisions are being made. Not only that, but by turning them into customer advocates instead of brand advocates you will also break the “groupthink” mentality that often occurs within new product innovation teams – allowing you to build better products and reduce your new product failures.
So by setting up a reciprocal relationship with your customers as it relates to advocacy – I scratch your back if you scratch mine – you will end up with a higher level of influence in buying decisions and in the long run perhaps with better products.