6 Perspectives On Realistic Goals For New Advocate Marketing Programs (Guest Post)

If you’re anything like me, you have to set explicit goals for yourself before you can get anything really important done. Not only do goals help us prioritize our actions in order to achieve the desired results, they also let us know if all that time, effort and money we’re putting into something is paying off.

Goal setting was just one of the topics ReadyTalk’s Bo Bandy and I touched on during a recent American Marketing Association Webinar about how to get your customers talking about you with advocate marketing.
Bo shared that the goals she and her colleagues set for the ReadyTalk Summit Club advocate marketing program included:increasing lead generation

• building a customer community
• boosting product feedback
• accelerating the sales cycle
• supporting other marketing tactics, such as guest blog posts, case studies and social media posts

“Our big challenge was that we wanted all of these things from every customer, but we were afraid to ask, so formalizing an advocacy program could give us a mechanism for making these asks and making them more frequently and in an important format,” Bo explained.

Sound familiar?

During the Q&A period at the end of the webinar, many of you who attended asked some fantastic questions that we unfortunately didn’t have enough time to address. Some of the most popular were around goal setting and results:

What types of goals are realistic for organizations just getting started with an advocate marketing program and how often should those goals be reassessed?

Instead of answering this question myself (yawn!), I decided to field it to Influitive’s own advocates – marketers like Bo who are currently running advocate marketing programs at their organizations.

Stephanie Burns, Marketing Program Manager at Junction Solutions

First, decide who is your target audience. Prospects? Customers? Employees? Whatever that total number is, I recommend taking 1% of that number and have them join your advocate marketing program. Every month, try to double that number.

Liz Richardson, Social Media and Advocate Marketing Manager at Bomgar Corporation

An advocate marketing program, if executed well, should without a doubt grow and nourish the relationship between you and your customers. As for hard and fast numbers, based on our experience, you can expect:
• About 10% to 15% of the people you invite to join your program – more if you send to an exclusive list that you already have a relationship with or who have advocated for you in the past.
• To increase the number of case studies acquired by at least 30% (in our case it was 50% initially).
• To have a fountain of content available for social material and customer references that you never had before!

Kimberly Griffith, XOXO Customer Success Administrator at Ceridian

Track the number of new advocates that join weekly, the types of challenges/ rewards that are most popular, and how many of your customers are willing to be references. These references can bring a huge dollar amount ROI based on deal size. It’s important to re-evaluate week-to-week and month-to-month as you start out. You can get lost in the microscope and you may have to take a step back and ask yourself, “What kind of impact has the advocacy program had on the organization this month/quarter?” You WILL see results!

Liz Pedro, Director of Customer Success Marketing at Mitel

Social stats (new followers, posts), revenue (new leads generated and status), new reviews, new customer references and advocate engagement. I have a dashboard in Influitive’s AdvocateHub that I watch daily to ensure we are tracking against our goals accurately. From there, I run monthly reports.

Matt Davis, Marketing Manager at Allocadia

Here’s an unconventional goal that could benefit smaller companies or ones who are new to advocate marketing programs: Measure the number of people you can now engage who were not the principal buyers of your product. Here at Allocadia, our sales conversations usually involve a small team of stakeholders, but the number of end users is much higher — often in the hundreds. Our advocate program has really brought Allocadia users and fans “out of the woodwork”. Five of our top ten advocates were not involved in the buying process of our software. In fact, our #1 provider of referral leads was someone we were introduced to for the first time via the program!

To learn more about goal-setting and best practices for your advocate marketing program, get your copy of The Advocate Marketing Playbook. It’s a detailed how-to guide that provides marketers with a blueprint from which to build and manage a successful advocate marketing program.

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Jim Williams is the VP of Marketing at Influitive, the advocate marketing experts. He is a veteran marketer for early- and growth-stage tech companies who loves bringing new-concept products to market. Before joining Influitive, Jim held marketing leadership roles at Eloqua, Unveil Solutions, Lernout & Hauspie, and several PR agencies. Even though he loves marketing, most of Jim’s energy is directed towards ensuring that his two kids have fantastic and memorable childhoods.

Find the Paths Your Customers Follow (Guest Post)

SHINY OBJECTS ARE DISTRACTING

ReadyTalk recently invited me to provide a webinar on delivering content for demand generation and customer engagement (check out the recording) Finding new ways to deliver content is extremely valuable. But even more important is engaging customers with proven content marketing— and doing it really well.

B2B marketers love to find the shiny new objects that will work for demand generation. Keep in mind most of these shiny objects are channels for content and not the content itself. Executing a content marketing strategy really well requires a full understanding of who your customers are, how they work, the problems they face, where they look for ideas and answers, and measuring the right metrics for success. Simply using shiny object channels because they are “new” is pointless if your customers aren’t in the vicinity.

Don’t make content marketing any harder! Doing content marketing really well requires hard and smart work. The Content Marketing Institute shares a wealth of statistics to emphasize the point:

• 93% of B2B marketers use Content Marketing yet only 42% say they are effective
• B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy are far more likely to consider themselves effective (66% vs. 11%)
• The biggest B2B content marketing challenges are producing content that engages and having a lack of integration across channels.

Content Marketing Institute & Marketing Profs – 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends

STEPS TO SUCCESS

Build a Strategy

Of course this makes sense, right? But how many B2B marketing organizations truly have a content marketing strategy? Build a plan and work the plan. A strategy helps identify how customers engage, the information they are looking for, the resources needed, the tactics, and measuring success. Producing reams of content, writing blogs and blasting emails are not an effective content marketing strategy. Focus on the audience, with the channels, the timing, contributors and desired outcomes.

Customer Journeys

Do you know how your customers discovered your business? Don’t just give the kneejerk answer that they ‘Googled it’. Of course customers will search the web for a solution. But how else did they research, learn, and discuss the problems they have and how your solutions may help? Who did they talk to? How much time did they spend on your web site? What content did they consume the most of?

Customers take a winding path to their purchase decision. Sometimes the path is long and slow with many stops. Other times the journey is rapid and impulsive. It’s critical to find the most common paths your customers engage and focus the right efforts to delivering content they find valuable.

Focused Purposeful Content

Customers need different types of content at different stages in the decision making journeys. Develop content that is educational, entertaining, and engaging. Don’t overwhelm potential customers with details on product features before they even understand the problem and opportunity they face. Talk less about your company and share ideas that show you understand the challenges your customers face. Imagine going to a cocktail party where there is always ‘that one guy’ who only talks about himself and how great he thinks he is. He never listens to or cares about conversing with other. Does he leave a positive impression? Compare that to the party host who asks a lot of questions, listens, shows interest, and introduces you to others in the room. Empathy, understanding and ideas with your content will make the best impression. Educate, entertain, and engage!

Integrate Tools to Support the Entire Journey

When marketers pursue shiny objects they often create islands of disconnected information. Customers can engage through all of these channels but a complete picture doesn’t take shape. Make sure all of your tools can centrally integrate with a marketing automation and CRM platform. These platforms help marketers with coordinated customer engagement. For example, we use ReadyTalk in-house at Heinz Marketing which is integrated with our marketing automation platform. When customers view presentations we can score that interaction along with other interaction from reading our blog, downloading our books, and engaging with us through social media. If these channels were disconnected, we wouldn’t have the complete view of what individuals show interest in. And from there we wouldn’t know the right content to recommend for our next interaction. Integration provides a complete view and helps customers navigate their decision making journey.

Focus on the right areas with your content marketing to follow the paths your customers follow. Don’t get distracted by the shiny objects.

Brian Hansford, Client Services Director, Heinz Marketing

Find the Paths your Customers follow

Brian Hansford is a Client Services Director manages the marketing automation practice at Heinz Marketing. Brian is a 20 year B2B marketing veteran and previously worked for organizations such as Open Text, Citrix, Attachmate and Cambridge Technology Partners. Brian is an Eloqua Product Master and frequently speaks on and publishes original content on B2B marketing, database health, content marketing and marketing automation. Brian lives in Redmond, WA and you can follow him on Twitter (@RemarkMarketing).

New from ReadyTalk – iPhone App Web Participant

Joining web meetings from your iPhone has never been easier. Whether you are in the office or on the road, you can now participate in both the audio and web portions of the meeting right from your mobile device.
When you join an on-demand or a scheduled meeting, you will have the option to select “Web & Audio,” “Web Only,” or “Audio Only.” When you select “Web & Audio” and then “Join,” you will be placed into the call and be able to view the web meeting on your phone. Not only can you see slides, but you can see applications or desktop sharing, chat and utilize the raise hand feature all from your iPhone.

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According to Nielsen, two-thirds of US consumers own smartphones and this number will only grow. ReadyTalk is constantly communicating with our customers and prospects to ensure you are getting the tools you need to meet on the run, so you won’t miss a beat! To learn more about ReadyTalk’s mobile conferencing applications, click here.

Or give it a try for yourself! Try it for free. And let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

New Collaboration Features Available From ReadyTalk

Collaborating just got easier! Starting today, you can choose to present from multiple monitors, pause your screen share and share specific applications.

Multiple Monitors

With the multiple monitor feature, you can now conveniently select which monitor to share from your desktop or application enabling you to show content from any monitor you select.  For example, you can show the full-screen PowerPoint view vs. the “presenter view” to all audiences.

Dual Monitors

You now have the option of selecting which monitor you’d like to share when desktop or application sharing.  

Pause Application Sharing

Have you been in a web meeting and wanted to pause your screen share to do something on your computer that you don’t want your participants to see?

As a chairperson or co-presenter, with pause, you are able to do just that making it a better user experience and allows you to deliver a more polished presentation and keep confidential information – confidential.

In the screen sharing tool bar, a pause button has been added. This button enables you to freeze the screen sharing session on a specific screen and allows you to navigate around your desktop without your participants seeing what you are doing. When you are ready to share again you simply click the button.

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Simply select pause to pause screen share.

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Select play to continue sharing your screen

Share Applications for Mac Users

Mac users can now share individual applications versus your entire desktop. This feature allows you to share a specific application with a participant and allow them to navigate around the app remotely, without having to share your entire desktop. Basically, allow them take a test drive right from their  office.  It’s also good for when you have to do training and want the participant to have some hands-on experience with a specific app, however, don’t want them to have access to your entire desktop.

Give it a try for yourself! Try it for free. And let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.