The Wikipedia definition of Marketing is “the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.”
And says that Advocacy is “a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.”
In my opinion, Advocacy Programs or Advocacy Marketing Programs are the combination of both these definitions:
“Communicating the value of a product or service” by involving key individuals to influence the direction and success of your company.
Advocacy Marketing or Advocacy Programs are all about doing the best for a company’s customers by involving the most outspoken people on a brand. It is up to the company how to establish the relationship and how to use the powerful information they are provided by these Advocates.
Advocacy Programs are like the Presidential Advisory Committee. These are the people who tell you the honest truth – even when it’s not popular. They have nothing to lose by sharing their expertise on your company and products and everything to gain.
It’s a great relationship program. Get one started at your company today.
Well, I’m going against my New Year’s tradition: I’m making a prediction.
My prediction for 2014 is that companies will focus on Advocacy Marketing.
What is Advocacy Marketing?
My definition of Advocacy Marketing is when a company is able to connect with their influential customers and partners without paying them for their feedback and input. Very similar to Word of Mouth Marketing but in this case, Advocacy takes center stage. It is all about the technical expertise and visibility of the participants of your program.
Advocates of your brand are people who talk, write, teach and use your brand and products/services like it’s their best friend or best discovery.
What Does the Company Do?
At my company, we provide exclusive access to early code, roadmap discussions, monthly webinars on timely topics and licences for our products. If you don’t give Advocates access to your products, you are missing the point. Advocates need to use your product to share incredibly valuable feedback with you and your company.
What to the Advocates Do?
Their role is to be completely honest about their experiences with your company and products/services. It is the company’s responsibility to react appropriately to the valuable feedback.
At Citrix, our Advocate program is the Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) program. It started in 2006 and has evolved into (in my opinion) a great family of incredible people who have the Citrix brand and products/services at heart and help us be successful.
What is My Role?
My role (Citrix Community Programs Manager) is, as described by 2 of our CTPs during my interview, an anarchist with the CTPs and a corporate person with my company. Like a conduit of information translating needs between the company and the Advocates.
After a year at Citrix, I describe my role as part advocate for the program, part cat wrangler and part geek. It’s a role I really love and encourage anyone who likes to help and connect people to investigate Advocacy programs (known by many names: Microsoft MVP, SAP Mentor, Citrix CTP, EMC Hero, etc.) as a career. It’s incredibly rewarding.
The Citrix CTP Program
Our program is a nomination only program where the existing 48 members vote on new candidates annually. The nominees are from all over the world and the primary criteria for acceptance is a good balance of technical expertise, ecosystem visibility and contribution back to the Citrix communities and ecosystem.
In short, the CTPs make our world a better place for our customers and us.
Advocacy Marketing Success
Again, for me, Advocacy Marketing requires a partnership between the company and the advocates. They are not paid and the biggest bonus for the company is completely honest feedback on the company’s business practices and products. (Payment just causes confusion for Advocates and customers.)
In my program, I use the following model: If the Advocates tell us something and we don’t listen; they are free to publicly talk about it. Shame on us for not listening to them the first time. (Of course, I ask them to tell us before going public so we have the opportunity to address their concerns.)
This model has been very successful for my role at Citrix where I manage the Advocacy program at my company – a program called The Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) program.
A Word of Advice
The earlier you can involve your Advocates in your product/service planning the more likely you are to be successful. Why? Because they are out speaking at conferences, with customers, installing your products, using your services, etc. daily. They see the product implementation and compatibility problems long before your customer.
Don’t you want to know about this kind of problem before your customer does?
What do you think? Do you manage an Advocacy program at your company? Do you want to start one? If so, please leave a comment. There is a group of us who are happy to share our experiences with you.
Happy New Year everyone!
p.s. Please don’t let the CTPs know I called this Advocacy MARKETING. There is a distinct distaste for the term Marketing among these highly technical professionals. They are TECHNICAL.
Why customer success is so vital to your marketing culture. (What An Advocate-Centric Marketing Organization Looks Like http://t.co/eoMlUyN3wA)
Perrine Crampton‘s insight:
An interesting topic that everyone should be paying attention to. The future of marketing is through social media. What runs social? Trusted advisors or advocates. It’s going to become critical for businesses to become ‘human’ for their customers.
Today I attended a special Citrix company event – a fireside chat between current Citrix CEO Mark Templeton and former Citrix CEO Roger Roberts.
The conversation began with a few questions and led into a great reminiscing about the good and bad times of the Citrix history. It was obvious that the corporate culture is deeply ingrained in the DNA of Citrix.
Roberts was emphatic about doing the right thing for the right reasons. That employees are a company’s most valuable asset. I wanted to stand up and cheer! It reminded me of the New York Times article on Citrix CEO Mark Templeton’s life lessons as Citrix CEO. This article is what caused me to accept my current position as Community Programs Manager at Citrix.
In the article, Mark shared tough life lessons and learnings. It’s really a good read and well worth your time.
Integrity. It’s not for sissies.
Back to today’s chat between current and former Citrix CEOs: One of the most obvious (to me) keys to the successful corporate culture is their staunch belief in doing the right thing; even when it’s hard.
To make a great company, you have to start with people and help them find their passion. If they are in the wrong role, help them find the right role. Without passion for doing the right thing, a company dies.
Acknowledge The Dead Pig
Roger talked about the ‘dead pig’ on the table. Everyone looks around, trying not to acknowledge that it’s there. (The ‘It’ is the dead pig, the elephant in the room or the well-known problem that no one wants to bring up.)
Acknowledging that the dead pig exists is key to bring the ‘dead pig’ out in the open. Do SOMETHING with it. Don’t ignore it. Bring it out into the open so it doesn’t bury you when it comes up in the future. Think of how you feel when you find out the problem is well-known. If it’s well-known, why wasn’t it FIXED?
Making mistakes is part of the process of success. Repeating mistakes is a problem that cannot be ignored.
In this deflated job market, you must bring your A-game to every interview.
Good interviewing tips but I thought the article was going to cover how to impress through use of social media.
Here are my tips:
1.Research each person you will meet with through LinkedIn. Where did they go to school? What major? Past jobs? Are there any connections to your background? If so, work your research into the conversation. (But not in a ‘creepy’ way.)
2. Google the person. Do they have a website? Check it out.
3. Find the person on Twitter and Facebook. (Typically this info is found on a person’s LinkedIn profile.) What do they talk about? You should be able to get an idea of their personality through what they tweet and post.
4. On LinkedIn: See who you are connected to and how you are connected to your interviewer. Consider reaching out to your 1st level connections for input on your interviewer’s personality and style.
Diversity Hiring That Innovates Business: An atypical approach to solving a very typical hiring practice
Jackye Clayton, Senior Recruiting Manager, Holiday Retirement
From the #WITIsummit on June 5, 2012