digital marketing

Enhancing Brand Advocacy is Top Marketing Priority for CMO's

A recent study from IBM surveyed 1,700 CMOs on their top marketing priorities for the next three to five years. As you can see in the chart below, marketers plan to most drastically increase their technology investment in social media, customer analytics, and CRM.

Investing more in social, analytics, and CRM means that marketers will gain more customer data and insights, highlighting a larger strategic desire to improve customer loyalty and advocacy. In fact, 67% of CMOs said that enhancing customer loyalty/advocacy was their top priority in managing the shift toward digital technologies.

To learn more about the power of Brand Advocates, download our whitepaper, "What's a Brand Advocate Worth?"

New Marketing Technologies: CIO's and CMO's Need to Work Together

The new Forrester Research Inc report, “Emerging Technology Applications For Marketing," stresses the importance of businesses understanding up-and-coming marketing technology in order to effectively communicate to customers.  These technologies are a great support to the marketing mix.  Forrester advises CIO’s and CMO’s to work together for ideal business success. In order to stay relevant and reliable, CIO’s should be aware of new technologies that could be incorporated into the marketing strategy, especially in B2B companies. Some key takeaways from this report are as follows:

  • When you address customer needs effectively, sales follow.  Marketing should focus on putting the customer in the driver’s seat, which ultimately benefits the bottom line.
  • 58% of Marketing Professionals think IT and Marketing speak different languages.  56% think IT doesn’t understand our business.  In reality, the two departments are very closely related – both have a clear set of processes that help the organization relate to the customer, enhance the brand experience, collect data and help secure revenue.
  • One of the four emerging technologies to watch in 2011 is: Brand Advocate platforms to energize Word of Mouth (WOM).  Zuberance was given a notable mention as a supplier of this technology!
  • Consumers are increasingly more proactive in their advocacy of brands through recommendations across social media channels, which is extremely helpful for B2C companies.  But, B2B marketers can use Brand Advocate platforms to encourage WOM by loyal customers in order to generate sales leads, references, and share your thought leadership.
  • Encourage your marketing team to get customer feedback on how to improve.  With thoughtful responses you can deliver better customer service and collaborate with IT to find new technologies and vendors to address concerns or opportunities.

In conclusion, IT and Marketing can easily work together to employ new marketing initiatives that deliver more value and are sustainable in our highly social world.

-Lucy Arnold, Marketing Coordinator, Zuberance

Extreme Brand Advocates: My Sister's Story

Now here’s an extreme example of a Brand Advocate and how she leverages social media to promote her favorite brand:  my sister Kelsey goes beyond simply “liking” and “following,” her favorite brand, the San Jose Sharks.  She advocates them in any situation (wins, losses, Game 7’s, playoff eliminations), in any location (home, away, hostile enemy territory), and on many different social networks.

In her blog, Under Review, Kelsey discusses the goings-on throughout the entire National Hockey League, however she mostly uses it to promote the San Jose Sharks.  After wins, she’s there to share her thoughts on the victory; and after losses, she’s there to revamp and re-energize disgruntled fans.  Even in posts about other teams, she still manages to sneak in a plug for (or boast about) the Sharks.  She may live in Vancouver Canucks territory, but it’s no secret to her readers where her loyalty truly lies.

What takes her beyond simple fandom to true brand advocacy is that she advocates for the entire organization.  She recently touted to all her friends on Facebook, “why Sharks announcers [Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda] are effing awesome,” accompanied by a youtube clip of the Top 10 NHL goals scored in the nick of the time.  (Hahn gives a widely entertaining call which is by far the best on the list.)

She uses her Twitter account to retweet posts by the Sharks, Sharks announcers, and players, and to promote her own blog.  Although she uses different social networks, blog accounts, and microblogging accounts to socially promote her favorite brand, her loyalty and advocacy goes far beyond the realm of the Internet.  In fact, most of her promotion happens offline: through phone calls, text messages, and sometimes even talking with people face to face!  Imagine that.

During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kelsey took the advocacy for her brand off the web and into the real world!  She traveled over 1000 miles to cheer on the Sharks as they attempted to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.  She wore her jersey and cheered loudly in the midst of 19,000 angry Kings fans gathered in the Staples Center, risking her pride (and safety) for the encouragement and support of her team.  Of course, the Sharks won that game 4-3 in overtime.

While this may be an extreme example of brand advocacy due to its tie into sports enthusiasm, it goes to show how much a brand can come to mean to a person, and how that one person can advocate for and promote that brand to thousands of other people.

Molly Bowman, Marketing Intern, Zuberance