Brand Advocates Are Customer Acquisition Machines: Each Will Bring You 3 New Customers

Fun fact: Customer acquisition is the top priority for B2B companies according to BtoB Magazine. Here's an even funner fact: Each energized Brand Advocate will bring a company three new customers. The best part? You don't have to pay them!

A new Zuberance report lays out the business case for advocacy and shows why energizing Brand Advocates is a highly effective and cost-efficient strategy for boosting customer acquisition.

First, what do we mean by an “energized Advocate?” This is a highly-satisfied customer that authentically recommends your brand, product, or service, whether it’s face-to-face, on social networks or third party review sites, via email, etc.

Advocates Deliver $567 Million for an Enterprise Software Company

In their book, Answering the Ultimate Question, How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business, authors Richard Owen and Dr. Laura L. Brooks stated that, on average, each Advocate for an enterprise software company will bring in about one-half of a customer via referrals (the actual number was .54). The average customer spend within this industry is $1.05 million. In other words, 1,000 Advocates would bring in 540 new customers, generating a whopping $567 million for the company.

Each Advocate Brings You 3 New Customers

Using .54 as the base case for advocacy, we add 2.5 new customers. Why? There are four additional factors that were not accounted for in Owen and Brooks’ original estimate.

1. Advocates are highly effective “sales people.”

Living in the era of social media, we all know that people trust their peers more than advertising (92% vs 24% in fact, according to Nielsen). Plus, 89% of people say online reviews influence their purchase decisions, according to the eTailing Group. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, got a stunning 30% sales conversion rate – about 60X higher than traditional online conversion rates – when Advocates shared offers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and via email.

2. Advocates are frequent recommenders.

In many high-interest categories like restaurants, travel and tourism, and media and entertainment, Advocates refer many more than four prospects. (This was the assumption in the Owen and Brooks analysis.) For example, think about the incredible hotel you stayed at during your recent trip to New York and how many friends and colleagues you raved to afterwards. In fact, 28% of Brand Advocates recommend their favorite brands and products once weekly (source: Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates, Zuberance).

3. Advocates recommend in multiple ways.

In addition to referrals, Advocates drive sales by creating positive reviews and testimonials plus sharing promotional offers and content with their social networks. These activities drive not just social chatter, but sales.

4. Empowered by social media, Advocates reach thousands of prospects.

Since Owen and Brooks conducted their study in 2008, the adoption and use of social media has skyrocketed. Facebook’s Paul Adams states in his book, Grouped, that one Advocate recommendation reaches 10,000 people if it’s passed along only three times.

Depending on the size of your Advocate army and customer lifetime value, energizing your brand’s Advocates may boost several millions of dollars in sales. And since you don’t need to pay authentic advocates, the cost of acquiring customers via advocacy is dramatically less – about 50 percent less in many cases – compared to traditional marketing programs like paid media advertising. Now is the time to turn your Advocates into powerful and inexpensive customer acquisition machines.

Download "The Business Case for Advocacy" now to learn more.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

CDW's Head of Social Recognized by BtoB Magazine as 'Top Digital Marketer' for Advocacy Strategy

Lauren McCadney, senior manager-social media for IT retailer, CDW, has been recognized by BtoB Magazine as one of the Top Digital Marketers of 2012 for her successful brand advocacy strategy. Lauren was recognized among digital marketers from top brands like Adobe, Cisco, Visa, IBM, and more. CDW's superb customer service has created an army of Advocates like Justin Dorfman, a self-described "hard-core CDW Advocate," who has purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of computer gear from CDW while serving in IT positions for various companies. In fact, CDW Advocates spend about 14 times what a typical customer spends. The company examines these Advocates to uncover what they have in common to see if there are ways it can create more of them.

CDW has energized Advocates like Justin Dorfman to create and share positive reviews. 36% of CDW Advocates have created reviews and 22% have shared them with their networks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email.

Here's a video of Lauren discussing ways to leverage Advocate-generated content:


Zuberance Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, interviewed Lauren on her advocacy success in his new book, "Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force." You can read the interview here.

Congratulations to Lauren and the CDW team on this outstanding accomplishment!

Parallels' Innovative VP of Marketing Featured in BtoB Magazine

Kim Johnston, VP of Marketing for Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company and also a Zuberance customer, was featured in BtoB Magazine today. In her conversation with CMO Close-Up, she discussed how the company is taking advantage of the trend of more Apple products moving into the enterprise, as well as how her experience at Symantec Corp. influenced her current approach. The interview also highlighted the success Parallels has seen in energizing their Brand Advocates.

"Social for us is very two-way. We learn a lot from them, but it's also a vehicle that we offer back out. In terms of customer advocacy, we turned on an advocacy program a couple of months ago through an agency called Zuberance. That program yielded well over 1,000 reviews, where business customers in their own words are talking about the impact that Parallels Desktop for Mac has had on their businesses. They're not hesitating to share that with one another, too. The dialogue is so rich that the customers are sharing with one another. It's been really nice to see that authentic word-of-mouth marketing is working and doing quite well," says Kim Johnston.

Read the full BtoB "CMO Close-Up" here.

Kim Johnston was a guest speaker in a recent webinar, "How Box, AVG, and Parallels are Leveraging Customer Advocates to Drive Sales." Click here to watch now.

Check Out Upcoming Online Summit April 12 on Social Media for B2B

Date: April 12, 2012                  Time: All day event                  Price: FREE REGISTER NOW

Webcast provider, BrightTALK, is hosting an all day online summit on the topic of "Social B2B" on April 12 where our Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, will be presenting on brand advocacy.

Social media has definitely been the buzz word for the last decade, but what makes it unique for B2B organizations? Does Facebook and Google+ work for B2B and is LinkedIn the best social network to engage professionals? Experts will share their best practices on social media programs aimed at the B2B buyer, social CRM and the important steps you need to take to become a social business.

Some of the presentations include:

  • How Three B2B Companies Are Leveraging Brand Advocates to Drive Sales featuring Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance
  • Mastering B2B Social Media featuring Kipp Bodnar, Inbound Marketing, Hubspot
  • The Shift to Social Business featuring Michael Brito, SVP Social Business, Edelman Digital
  • The Secrets of Building Online B2B Audiences with Social Media featuring Quoc-Thai Dang, Demand Generation Marketing Manager, BrightTALK
  • And more!


[Slideshare] Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates

Click here to view the presentation on Slideshare.

View more presentations from Zuberance
Don't forget to register for our webinar where Zuberance Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, will present these findings and the implications for marketers. Register Now!


[INFOGRAPHIC] Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates

Brand Advocates – consumers and business buyers who frequently recommend brands and products without being paid – are highly trusted and influential. Their recommendations drive trillions of dollars of purchase decisions for everything from cars to computers, fish tacos to fitness memberships, software to smart phones. Now, a new study sponsored by Zuberance has revealed three surprising findings about Brand Advocates. This study provides further evidence about the power and influence of Brand Advocates.The message in the data is clear for B2C and B2B marketers: find and activate your Advocates now to generate more recommendations, referrals, and revenues.

Download the full report here.

Don't miss our March 21 webinar: Founder/CEO of Zuberance, Rob Fuggetta, will present the findings from "Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates" and share the implications for marketers. Click here to register.

(Click here to view the Infographic in your browser.)

The Power of B2B Word of Mouth

Need more evidence that Word of Mouth is the most powerful driver of business for B2B marketers? 48% of B2B marketers say half or more of their business comes from Word of Mouth, according to a new Zuberance poll.

We conducted the poll during our September 21, 2011 webinar, “Secrets of B2B Social Media and Word of Mouth marketing.”

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance

Upcoming Sept 21 Webinar: Secrets of B2B Social Media & Word of Mouth Marketing #B2BWOM

Title: Secrets of B2B Social Media & Word of Mouth MarketingDate: Wednesday, September 21 Time: 11am PST/ 2pm EST

Twitter hashtag: #B2BWOM

Click here to Register now!

As a B2B marketer, are you harnessing the power of social media and Word of Mouth to drive leads and sales?

Register now to attend this free webinar featuring real-world case studies from leading B2B companies like Intuit, Adobe, Microsoft, CDW and more!

What You’ll Learn

  • How to generate referral leads and boost sales via social media and Word of Mouth
  • How to turn Facebook fans and Twitter followers into a powerful marketing force
  • The Do’s & Don’ts of social media marketing involving customer advocates

Expert Presenters

Laura Messerschmitt, VP of Marketing, Outright (@ljmesser)

Laura Messerschmitt is the Vice President of Marketing at Outright, an online bookkeeping solution for small businesses.  Prior to Outright, she spent seven years with Intuit, where she led social media marketing efforts and advocacy programs.   She holds a B.S. in Mathematics (Summa Cum Laude) from UCLA and an MBA from Stanford University.


Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO of Zuberance (@robfuggetta)

Rob has more than 20 years of experience in Word of Mouth marketing. His WOM strategies have created marketing success for Apple, Intuit, Norton, and many others. Fuggetta is a frequent speaker and author of the upcoming book, “Energize! How to Turn Fans, Followers, and Enthusiastic Customers into Social Media Marketing Machines.”

Register Now!

Whitepaper: Top 5 Myths of B2B Word of Mouth

Download: Top 5 Myths of B2B Word of Mouth. Word of Mouth (WOM) is the "world's most powerful sales tool," according to Nielsen. Today, thanks to social media channels like blogs, Twitter, review sites and more, WOM and online recommendations are more influential than ever. But is WOM effective in B2B environments? Discover what's fact and what's fiction in B2B Word of Mouth marketing.

Download this whitepaper and learn:

  • What role does social media play in influencing business purchase decisions?
  • How to measure B2B Word of Mouth
  • How B2B and B2C WOM compare.

We want to hear from you!  Share your thoughts on the whitepaper here.

A successful social media campaign is integrated with all marketing and media efforts

Social media isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. If the client is in the B2B space they need to spend months if not years building a relationship. That’s because B2B sales cycles can be extremely long, said Mark Kurtz, Chief Growth Office and VP of New Media for Gage Marketing.

But in the B2C space, Gage can be very aggressive through promotions, contests, and ad campaigns. Ultimately though, social media doesn’t exist and survive in a bubble. It’s all about integrating a campaign, said Kurtz.

Connect social media with all forms of media.

-David Spark, Social Media Journalist, Spark Media Solutions