Why Local Loyalty, Big Data & Content Matter in 2014

Last week we had the opportunity to learn about the hot marketing trends for 2014 with three leading B2B marketers.  "What's Hot in B2B Digital Marketing in 2014" was hosted by our own Rob Fuggetta with panelists Sharon Crost, Lauren McCadney and Rishi Dave. As three of the best and brightest minds in digital marketing, we were excited for these three speakers to discuss the following with us: 1. What's hot in B2B digital marketing in 2014?

2. Why is it a major trend?

3. What should marketers be doing about it?

SharonCrostSharon Crost of Hitachi- Senior Manager Manager, Social Business 

Local Loyalty:

An innovator in social media and visiting professor, Sharon joined us to discuss Local Loyalty. So, what does that mean? Simply put, people aren’t buying from robots or social media spam- people buy from people. TwitterBird  "Local" has a wide variety of meanings in digital and social media; it could refer to geography, a topic areas of interest, or a conversation with someone who is influential.

In 2014, customers want to work with influential leaders, not spammers- business today is all about working relationships with prospects and sales, and each experience should be personalized. To do so, the influencers must be identified and advocates must be provided with content.

LaurenMcCadneyLauren McCadney of CDW- Senior Manager, Social Media

Big Data:

According to McKinsey Global Institute, "Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity." Unfortunately, 82% of CMOs are feeling underprepared for Big Data ( and the data explosion. Lauren shares the keys to Big Data Success:

1.What are you trying to learn or solve for?

2. Amassing the right data

3. Finding analytical talent: Buy it? Borrow it?

Lauren explains how each company has huge volumes of data, but is it actionable? Big Data projects can deliver information and impressive Powerpoints, but effectively using this data is crucial to Big Data success.

RishiDaveRishi Dave of Dell- Executive Director, Digital Marketing


93% of B2B Marketers are using content, but only 42% believes it is effective (MarketingProfs / The Content Marketing Institute.) Rishi believes that companies are struggling with content quality because in the past, content was produced once per quarter, launch or campaign. Today, our open channels with customers require many pieces of marketing material per day, so marketers struggle with maintaining high-quality and engaging content.

While content is one of the best ways to generate qualified leads, it is important to keep in mind that it can take time. Content does not automatically convert leads, but with a constant funnel of content creation, prospects will find you when they are ready to connect.


Connect with the speakers on Twitter: @RobFuggetta@RishiPDave@SharonHDS & @LMcCadney




Top 5 Reasons Brands Should NOT Incentivize Advocates to Create Recommendations

(This post was originally published on WOMMA's "All Things WOM" blog.)

A key takeaway from this year’s WOMM-U is that brand advocacy is hot! Not only was it a topic of many of the panel discussions, but also a recent IBM study stated that advocacy is the #1 priority for CMO’s worldwide. Let’s take a look at a key principle of brand advocacy: Don’t incentivize Advocates.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s inauthentic. Paying for recommendations (whether it’s cash, discounts, or rewards) is basically telling your customers, “Look, since our product isn’t worth talking about genuinely, how about I give you some rewards points for an endorsement and we’ll call it even?” Don’t enlist your Advocates as mercenaries. You’re compromising your credibility and reputation.
  2. It’s unnecessary. The top reasons that Advocates recommend is to help others (Comscore, Yahoo!, Dec. 2006) and because they’ve had great experiences with a product or company (Zuberance, 2012). In fact, only 1% of Advocates recommend after being incentivized with rewards or discounts. The key to energizing Advocates to create recommendations is to simply make it easy for them. No incentives necessary.
  3. It turns your customers into spammers. We all have that one friend who constantly shares Living Social deals, for example, on Facebook and Twitter. Why? Because if they get three friends to buy the deal, they get their deal for free. The frequent spam causes us to tune them out, possibly defriend or unfollow them, and definitely devalue the sincerity of their recommendation.
  4. It creates unwanted expectations from your customers. If you continue to offer rewards or money to customers for their referrals, you’re conditioning them to always expect something in return. The minute you stop compensating them, is the minute they stop showing the “love.” 
  5. It’s LAME. Before investing in paid recommendations, focus on improving your company and products so it’s worthy of true praise. Do you think Apple has ever paid their customers for a recommendation? No way! Their products are brilliant, and therefore they’ve created millions of genuine Advocates.

Now, that being said, recognizing and thanking your Advocates is an advocacy best practice. However, it should never be a quid pro quo i.e. IF you write a positive review, THEN I’ll give you a pony. Ponies should only be given as a thank you when there was no expectation of receiving something in return for positive reviews.

Here are some ways to recognize and thank your Advocates:

  • Invite them to exclusive events
  • Engage with them on social channels (sometimes a simple “Thank you” is all Advocates want!)
  • Ask to them to join a focus group
  • Highlight their recommendations on owned media channels
  • Give them sneak previews of a new product or feature

Take the high road and keep your advocacy strategy authentic. TRUE Brand Advocates are more trusted, more influential, and more effective in driving real business results.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

March 21 WEBINAR: Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates

REGISTER NOW Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time: 11:00 AM PST/ 2:00 PM EST

Twitter hashtag: #zuberance

In the social media era, power has shifted from advertising’s Mad Men to millions of trusted Brand Advocates.

Zuberance, a social media marketing company that focuses on Brand Advocates, will present three surprising results from a major new study about these influential consumers. The study, which involved 1,445 US consumers, shows that Brand Advocates are even more influential than previously thought.

Join this free, interactive webinar to get new insights about Brand Advocates including:

  • How often Brand Advocates recommend, what they recommend, and why
  • The surprising size of Brand Advocates’ social networks (it’s much larger than previously thought)
  • What happens when Brand Advocates recommend products and services

You’ll also get expert advice on how you can turn your brand’s Advocates into a powerful marketing force. This webinar is sure to fill up fast. Register now!

Bonus! Each registrant will get a free copy of a new whitepaper that details the findings of Zuberance’s ground-breaking new Brand Advocate study.

Expert Speaker: Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO of Zuberance and author of upcoming book, "Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force"

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the founder and CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers advocacy programs for leading consumer and business brands. Fuggetta is a former partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary Silicon Valley technology marketing and communications firm, where he co-led the Apple account. He later became the CMO at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out which went public in June 2000, where he launched the award-winning Black Rocket e-business solution. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force.

Check out the "Three Surprising Facts About Brand Advocates" Infographic!

Beyond Advocate Reviews: 7 Ways to Turn Advocates into a Powerful Marketing Force

Getting Advocates to write positive reviews is an effective way to leverage your enthusiastic customers. But reviews aren’t the only way to activate Advocates. In fact, getting Advocates to write reviews is just the tip of the advocacy iceberg.

Here are seven ways that companies are currently leveraging their Advocates in addition to Advocate reviews. They’re enabling Advocates to:

  1. Create glowing stories. YouSendIt, a business content collaboration service, generated 4,000 highly positive stories in three weeks. These stories increase engagement and build credibility. By attaching promotional offers to the stories, you can also generate sales and revenues.
  2. Answer prospects’ questions. Advocates are eager to answer prospects’ questions. They’ll happily tell prospects about why your products and services are better. Ooma, a VoIP company, is getting a 25% sales conversion rate from its Advocate answers program. This approach is very effective for B2B’s and other companies that sells products and services where prospects ask others before buying.
  3. Share promotional offers with their social networks. Parallels, which enables Apple users to run Windows software on Macs, is getting an eye-popping 21% sales conversion rate from Advocate-shared offers. This is about 10X to 20X higher than standard online sales conversions rates.
  4. Boost sales for value-added services. 24 Hour Fitness is mobilizing its Advocates to build awareness and sales for revenue-generating services like personal training, group exercise classes, and more.
  5. Launch new products. Jarden Home Brands is leveraging its Advocates to launch a new automatic jam maker. They’re giving Advocates the new jam maker and encouraging them to write stories and reviews about the new product. On the B2B front, NetApp mobilized its Advocates to build buzz for a new product.
  6. Boost membership in customer clubs. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill is finding that leveraging Advocates is the most effective way to get customers to join Rubio’s Beach Club. A stunning 51% of Advocates’ friends joined the club after getting invitations from Advocates.
  7. Defend you from Detractors. Today, nearly all companies – including yours – can become social media roadkill. NetFlix, P&G, the Gap, Comcast, and Domino’s are just a few of the companies whose reputations and sales have suffered from social media ambushes. Your Advocates will rush to your defense and protect your cherished reputation. (Of course, this assumes you’ve created an Advocate Army.)

Advocate marketing isn’t only about reviews. It’s about creating a powerful and sustainable Advocate marketing force. This marketing force will support, promote, and defend your company, brand, and products in multiple ways and over many years.

“A review created by an Advocate is only one manifestation of advocacy,” says Lauren McCadney, head of social media at online IT retailer CDW.  “This is just the start of a relationship with Advocates, not the end,” says McCadney.

Read more Brand Advocacy success stories by downloading, "Turning Your Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force."

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance

Zuberance Founder/CEO to Speak at MENG Event in San Francisco Jan 19

Rob Fuggetta, founder & CEO of Zuberance, will be the guest speaker at the upcoming Northern California chapter meeting of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG.) Date: Thurs, Jan 19, 2012

Time: 6:30pm

Location: Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel, San Francisco


Customer advocacy is the #1 priority for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) worldwide, according to a recent IBM study. Fuggetta's presentation, which is entitled "Turning Advocates into a Powerful Marketing Force," will feature real-world case studies about how companies like Intuit, CDW, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill and many others are leveraging their most enthusiastic customers to spread positive Word of Mouth and drive sales.

About the Speaker

Rob Fuggetta is the leading expert on brand advocacy and has more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience.  He is a former partner at Regis McKenna, the legendary Silicon Valley technology marketing and communications firm, where he co-led the global Apple account.  He later became the CMO at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out which went public in June 2000.  Fuggetta is the author of "Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force" to be published by John Wiley & Sons in 2012.

VIDEO: How Club One is Pumping Up Referral Leads and Sales

Club One, an award-winning health club management company based in San Francisco, is boosting its referral leads and sales by activating its Zuberance-powered Brand Advocates. In this new 60-second video, Club One Director of Marketing & PR Kari Bedgood shares how Club One is getting more memberships and amplifying positive Word of Mouth.

Some key results from Club One's advocacy program:

  • 61% of members surveyed identified themselves as Club One Advocates.
  • 50% of Club One Advocates shared offers (a 14-day pass) with their friends and colleagues via email, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Club One received a 9X ROI from the program based on membership revenues.

Download the Club One Case Study now.

This Week in Social: How Google+ is Winning (and Losing), Foursquare Launches Tip Lists

LinkedOut: Another Social Network Opt-Out Draws Fire - WSJ It seems that privacy questions about social-networking sites are the new black. This time, some customers are expressing concern about LinkedIn, the job-networking site that had its IPO last month. At issue, a two-month-old site tweak that can turn members from ordinary career networkers into brand cheerleaders with their profile photo and name popping up in related advertising.

Social Media Hierarchy of Effects and ROISocial Media Today

We all know that Brand Advocates are actively promoting your brand to their network, but how did they get there? This article explains the hierarchy, or the funnel, of the social network and its effects.  If a brand nurtures the relationship through the stages in the funnel then hopefully they find a Brand Advocate who can help with positive ROI.

Foursquare Gets into the Crowdsourced Curation Game With Tip Lists - TechCrunch

Up until now your Foursquare Tips have sort of roamed free on the app, without rhyme or reason or real incentive to add more. The company is now trying to improve on the Tips experience and get users to fancy themselves local experts. After all, you must know something about some place in the city you live in right?

6 Ways Google+ is Winning (and Losing) - AdAge

PepsiCo’s Shiv Singh, shares the pro’s and cons of Google+. He’s still trying to figure out if this network will become an add-on or a replacement to his current digital habits. To him, Google+ has the best of Facebook and the best of Twitter you have the ability to broadcast and select closed groups who should receive that broadcast. So is it meant to be a bridge between the two but do we really need that?

Restaurant Groupies Are Valuable to Companies - Star-Telegram

Call it fanaticism or simply dedication, but these are the ultra-enthusiastic fans that every restaurant craves. Restaurant groupies have always been around, but they're more valuable at a time when the economy forces consumers to choose carefully when they eat out, and a few online posts can inform thousands.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Are You Laying The Groundwork For Your Brand's "Infinite Moments of Truth"?

Moments of Truth are well-known concepts in the marketing world, from research (Zero Moment of Truth)… to shopping (First Moment of Truth) … to owning/using a product (Second Moment of Truth). Now, in a recent blog post, David Berkowitz introduces one more: the Infinite Moment of Truth (IMOT), which is all about sharing the experience of any (or all) of the other Moments of Truth.  Berkowitz suggests the IMOT is infinite in three ways:

  • the number of people a consumer can share experiences with
  • the ways they can share experiences
  • and the period of time during which they can share their experiences

Each of the Moments of Truth provide their own marketing opportunities, but the Infinite Moment of Truth is the one that can harness the full power of social media and start the “moment of truth cycle” again by influencing the choice a consumer makes at the Zero moment of truth.

The consumer purchases a product, uses it, loves it, and shares this experience with their networks… and someone in their network gets to the Zero Moment of Truth and says “I will purchase.”   In order to get to the sharing part of this equation, however, the consumer needs to have an impactful experience – and it is up to us (the marketers) to make sure our consumers have something to talk about, and have various simple ways to talk about it.

The secret to getting to this coveted IMOT is in building relationships with our consumers.  In the process of building relationships, we ask our consumers important questions, we pay attention to their preferences and needs, and we build an emotional connection with them.  All of these actions make the memorable impact that triggers sharing, such as the sharing of product recommendations….and recommendations lead to purchase.  Your ROR (Return on Relationship) here is strong!

The real value in sharing is when the same person shares more than once, and with more than one person, and in more than one way.  Actually, the possibilities are infinite, giving us the Infinite Moment of Truth.   The people who turn a one-time sharing into an IMOT (which often leads to purchase) are Brand Advocates.

Brand Advocates are the facilitators of the Infinite Moments of Truth around our products. As we put together our marketing plans, we need to start thinking in terms of how to spark IMOTs, or in other words, how to engage our Brand Advocates. 

Whether we talk about IMOTs, ROR, or WOM (Word of Mouth), the goal is the same: delight your consumer, then work as hard as you can to give them the tools and reasons to tell the rest of their worlds about your product.

-Ted Rubin, Social Strategist

Google+: A Platform, Not The Message

Google+ is here -- what do you need to change about your brand message to leverage this new tool? Nothing!

Now more than ever, your brand message needs to remain strong and consistent, and your focus needs to stay on building relationships.   Don’t let new tools (like Google+) distract you from your brand message!  As I continue to say, successful social media marketing is all about relationships, and the tools simply facilitate those relationships. Without the people and connections, the tools are meaningless.

I am not, however, suggesting that you ignore Google+, because it does have the potential to be a powerful social media marketing tool.  Make sure someone on your marketing team learns the intricacies of Google+ ... and by all means integrate this new platform into your social media marketing strategy in whatever way serves your brand message and your company goals.  There is an amazing opportunity for brands to build interactive two way engagement, interaction, and sharing within this platform, but consumers will have to adopt it to make worthwhile and only time will answer that question.

My main point here is a caution not to let the Google+ fervor take your focus away from your current consumer relationships.  You still need to offer your consumers consistent value through your products, services, and content, and you still need to engage with them through their current platforms, even as you may be looking to expand to Google+.

Your consumer/brand relationships are the fuel that make each platform work, so don’t neglect them when a new promising platform shows up.  You can actually turn this into a two-way beneficial conversation by asking your consumers what they think about the new platform, and asking them for ideas about how your brand could effectively use the new platform in a way that works for them.   This is a perfect chance to tap into consumer insights and show them you value their opinions.

Bottom line: new and old platforms will come and go... it is your message and strategy that count, so make sure they are clear, strong and consistent!

-Ted Rubin, Social Strategist

The Science of Social Media Marketing: Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!

There are no true experts or gurus in this social media space -- we are ALL still trying to figure this out. When I said that at the 140 Character's Conference: New York City (#140conf) the audience applauded... because we all assume that someone else has all the answers to social media marketing success. The truth is that social media is still too new as a serious business tool for any one of us to know all the best social media marketing tactics or even understand best how to leverage every platform.

So why am I (@TedRubin) the #1 followed CMO on Twitter (and been so for close to two years) with over 54,000 followers? Because I don't assume I know everything about social media marketing, so I focus my time on building relationships. Because I pay attention, respond to, and interact with my followers… and I am not afraid to experiment publicly to see what topics are most relevant to my network(s), and what content is most useful to them.

Think about it this way -- what do you do when you are on a date?  You get to know someone.  You try various "tactics" and see which ones delight your date.  And then you keep going with what works -- you don't stop interacting and you try to stay interesting and relevant.  You keep communicating and you keep building the relationship by asking questions and sharing information about yourself to build trust, all while making yourself available and easy to reach.  (By the way, don't forget our smart phones can actually make and receive PHONE CALLS!).

More than ever, marketing is about connecting to people.  Social media is simply a platform that facilitates the connection.  The different platforms will come and go, but the need to connect and build relationships with our audience members will only grow stronger. The more skilled we can become with building relationships, the greater chance that our brand will stand out in a crowd, both now and in the future.

Since all relationships are slightly different and there are no social media marketing gurus to tell you exactly how to do this, I highly recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What if you took a few days to experiment with your social media marketing approach – what would you do differently?
  2. In what ways would you reach out to your audience and your consumers?
  3. How would you court them differently?
  4. How would you experiment with delighting them?

…. then go DO it! Your customers, and prospective customers, want “relevant” and “valuable” – so why not figure out what that is and give it to them??

- Ted Rubin, Social Media Strategist