10 Ways to Sell an Advocate Marketing Program to Your CMO

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 8.18.51 AMPeople are talking about your brand and there is no way around it. The more you know about what people are saying about your brand and having the resources to energize your advocates to write positive reviews and recommendations, the better off you will be. You know  advocate marketing is powerful, but how do you convince your CMO? This article is full of  action items and linked resources to help you fully prepare your argument case for an advocate marketing program.

10 Ways to Sell an Advocate Marketing Program to Your CMO

1. Keep it simple. Advocacy is a fancy term for word of mouth marketing, and the term Advocate is often confused with influencer.

 Tell your CMO: “I’d like to start a word of mouth marketing program.” Don’t say: “I’d like to start an advocacy program”

2. Find the pain point. Advocate marketing combats negative word of mouth, low ratings, high customer acquisition costs and provides value from Facebook marketing.

 Focus on the CMO’s/brand’s pain point and show how an advocacy program will help fix it.


3. Present the facts. 94% of consumers trust word of mouth, only 24% trust ads. Many companies get more than half of their sales from word of mouth.

 Present information about the influence of world of mouth on your company's sales to your CMO. You may need to work closely with the sales and finance analyst team to gather this information.

4. Showcase negative word of mouth. Negative word of mouth comes in many forms: poor reviews, ratings, nasty posts on Facebook, negative tweets and venomous comments in online forums.

 Take screen shots of negative content about your brand and share with with your CMO. Go one step further and have your CMO search “[brand name] sucks” and see how many results appear.

5. Prove it. Many companies get more than half of their sales from word of mouth. 80% of consumers change their mind after reading a single bad review. One negative post, on average, has a much higher impact on customer purchase decisions as five positive posts.

 Share research with them that proves that even a few negative reviews can kill your sales and ruin your reputation.

6. Share statistics. A one-star increase in ratings on Yelp can boost restaurant sales by 5-9%. Numerous studies prove that advocacy drives sales.

 Read advocate marketing statistics and compile the most interesting and relevant ones to your brand and present them to your CMO.

7. Set clear expectations. When making the case for advocacy, it’s important to estimate how many Advocates you can identify, how many will recommend your brand and product, how many will create, share and publish positive reviews and etc.

 Create an estimate to share with your CMO. Need help? Let’s schedule time for an advocate marketing strategy consultation.

8. Focus on Return on Advocacy. Advocate marketing programs have compelling, measurable ROI as measured by media and sales value.  Club One Fitness got $525,000 in lifetime membership revenues from a two month advocacy campaign. Parallels, a software company, got a 30% sales conversion rate when Advocate shared offers and testimonials with peers.

 To help you estimate the Return on Advocacy, download What’s a Brand Advocate Worth?

9. Take a stand. About 90% of most companies marketing investments go into traditional marketing. Show why your company should move some of its marketing dollars into advocate marketing.

✔ Arm yourself with the facts: what’s your sales conversion rate for traditional marketing programs? How many leads are you getting? How qualified are those leads?

 Drawing on relevant case studies and examples, show how advocacy programs are more effective and less expensive than traditional marketing programs.

10. Show how a Brand Advocate program will supercharge your company’s content marketing. Companies spend about 26% of their marketing budgets on developing content. Advocates create content that marketers dream of. Ancestry.com generated over 6,800 glowing Advocate testimonials in less than 90 days.

✔ Show how a Brand Advocate program will deliver thousands of pieces of premium content like highly positive reviews and glowing customer testimonials for less than the cost of brand-developed content.

>> Schedule an advocate marketing strategy consultation <<


For even more information on advocate marketing, best practices, case studies and how to do it yourself, check out Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force (Wiley; ISBN: 978-1-1183-3603-8; July 2012; Hardcover & E-book)