Advocates are Your Best Salespeople

xanh[1]Last night I had dinner at Xanh (pronounced "sun"), a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant in Mountain View, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley. So of course this morning I advocated Xanh to my colleagues at Zuberance. I made sure to recommend Xanh to Elizabeth Shaw, a marketing manager here at Zuberance, because she is a foodie and so I knew she would be receptive to my recommendation. In fact, I told Elizabeth I would take her for lunch at Xanh next week.

This story shows why Advocates are your best salespeople and a highly efficient marketing channel.

First, Advocates recommend to friends and colleagues who they know are receptive to a recommendation. (I didn't tell my colleague Carter Hostelley because I know he's a steak lover and not a fan of Asian food. I picked Elizabeth because I know she's a food enthusiast.)

Second, Advocates are credible, trusted, and influential. (Elizabeth knows me and she knows I'm a foodie also, so a message from me is going to be very influential.) Numerous studies have shown that Word of Mouth recommendations from friends and peers are up to 5X more influential than advertising and other forms of paid media.

Third, and finally, Advocates do more than recommend brands and products. They'll even bring new customers to you. (Notice how I offered to take Elizabeth to Xanh for lunch. Our research shows that this behavior is not unique among Advocates. Advocates like Shelley S., a Lexus customer, actually brings her friends to the local Lexus dealer so they can take test drives of new Lexus cars.)

Imagine how successful Xanh could be if they could identify and mobilize Xanh Advocates like me. And the best news is that, unlike paid media or a paid salesforce, I'd be willing to keep advocating Xanh without them giving me as much as a free bowl of steamed rice. That's the kind of advertising money truly cannot buy!