Why invest in customer advocacy?

Paul Crabtree 4th February 2020 B2B Branding, Customer Advocacy

Despite the undisputed power of personal recommendations, influencers and word of mouth, in a B2B world, case studies and customer success stories are still lacking. Nothing is more powerful than your own customers waxing lyrical about your product or service. Customer stories not only boost your credibility, but they also differentiate you from the competition.

Multiple reports cite case studies as the most effective form of content marketing. And yet, as an agency that produces customer success stories, particularly on video, our clients often have to validate that customer success content makes a difference.

Across clients such as Cisco, Tech Data, Sage, Halma and more, we’ve produced a model that demonstrates the impact good customer success stories can have:

Nurturing prospects

Measured by: engagement and opportunities qualified

In a nurture journey, particularly those built on Account Based Marketing (ABM) principles, success story content is very high impact. It is the voice of your customer speaking directly to your potential customer. People look for validation that the decision they’re making is one someone like them is happy they made. Give them this validation.

Customer relationships

Measured by: renewal rates, account growth rates

Getting your customer to appear in a success story means that your team and theirs spend a short but intense period of time together. This positive time spent making something together will deepen your relationship and offer additional opportunities. Opportunities such as quicker and easier renewals (after all, they’ve been on camera to say how good you are), up-sell/cross-sell conversations (on any shoot, there’s always ample time to explore new avenues) and a much more personal relationship building as you get to know each other better.

Amplified marketing

Measured by: engagement and cost per opportunity to see

Customer advocacy, whether it be success stories, recommendations, referrals or just sharing your content, gives your content more mileage. As your customers share the content, they take their message to their own contacts and you’ve ignited their networks. Your message gets further for less and in front of relevant audiences.

Story-telling for other media

Measured by: ease and lower cost to produce better marketing

With the stories agreed and signed off, case studies can be used for award entries, testimonial banks, all forms of social media, sales presentations, website content and more. Re-use this authentic content to get your message out as far as possible.

Sales conversion rate

Measured by: comparative conversion rate of those who consume

The true measure of impact is the overall sales close rate. Although influenced by many different factors, isolating those customers who have consumed your customer stories compared to those who haven’t will provide a comparative conversion rate. This should NOT be the only metric used. 

Brand affinity

Measured by: Net Promoter Score (NPS)The process of carrying out a project like this is a benefit in itself. Using surveys to understand how customers feel about you and engaging with them on this deeper level will give them more of a personal stake in you. In return, any feedback you get should be invested back in your relationship. Is it working? You can use NPS to grade your customers and track how they feel about your brand.

Many of the techniques above rely on a combination of strong storytelling, excellent content distribution and a marketing automation platform that can help you measure and analyse the journey of your case study content. The days of views/impressions for measuring advocacy are thankfully well and truly over.

While customer success stories can be an involved piece of content (certainly more time consuming than writing a blog) and require commitment both from you and your customer, the outcomes for both parties far outweigh the involvement required.

Paul Crabtree

Paul Crabtree

Managing Director