Last updated on April 13th, 2016 at 11:03 am
The frustrating thing about being a B2B Marketer is that most of the information out there is geared towards B2C industries. Marketing to businesses successfully means networking and learning from other B2B professionals.
I attended the B3 – Better B2B Marketer conference where I got to hear some of the top marketers share how they grew their business. This week those insights come from Truman Tang, Senior Marketing Manager at Influitive.
You don’t control your brand anymore. Your customers do.
A big difference between B2B and B2C transactions is the average value per transaction. Purchasing $30,000 enterprise software requires much more thought and deliberation than most B2C purchase, Tang told attendees.
Making the wrong purchase is harmful to a business as a lot of time is needed to set up the product and train everyone how to use it (not the mention the cost of the product itself). With that much at stake it’s tough to make decisions.
That’s where advocates come in.
Prospects are far more likely to trust a product if they hear a review from someone they trust. Despite the rise of SEO, paid ads, and social media, recommendations and word of mouth still have the greatest influence on purchasing decisions. The proof of the success of a product is not in the marketing claims but what people say about it.
According to Tang, advocates contribute in four major ways to product marketing.
Refer: Customers find you new leads
Referrals tend to be the best quality leads in B2B marketing. You start the relationship with a higher level of trust and understanding because someone has already vouched for you, Tang said.
Endorse: Customers say great things about you.
This can involve leaving product reviews, recommending your product to their network.
Educate: Customers teach prospects about you.
This could be creating articles about you or offering to be a case study for your product.
Engage: Customers provide feedback and intelligence.
This includes customers filling out surveys, being a part of user testing groups, and helping to build your online community.
Setting up your own advocate program requires a bit of creativity. Tang shared an example of how Marketo used the Influitive platform to build a hub for their fans called “Purple Select”. Customers would receive points for referring other leads, offering helpful answers, writing a review for the company, or sharing content. These points could then be traded in for cool gear and status points.
Advocate programs have helped Marketo develop more reviews, build a better marketing pipeline, and a bigger community to become one of the leaders in the highly competitive marketing automation industry.