word of mouth marketing

Whitepaper: How to Super-Charge Content Marketing via Brand Advocates

Click here to download the whitepaper now.

Everyone agrees that content is vital to marketing. But "feeding the content beast" is expensive and time consuming. According to a recent study from Curata, the top three challenges of content marketing are:

1. Creating original content 2. Having time to create content 3. Finding high-quality content

Well, here's the good news: You have a secret content marketing weapon that will help you overcome all three of these obstacles. That weapon is your highly-satisfied customers, AKA your “Brand Advocates.”

Your Advocates will gladly create compelling content such as:

  • Highly positive reviews
  • Glowing testimonials
  • Answers to prospects' questions
  • Positive tweets, posts, and comments
  • Videos, photos, and other multimedia content

Advocate-generated content provides powerful benefits to your company and brand:

  • Amplify positive Word of Mouth and/or combat negative Word of Mouth
  • Increase online ratings on third party review sites such as Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
  • Improve search engine rankings by putting fresh, relevant content on your site
  • Increase lead conversion rates and sales (User-generated content boosts lead conversion rates by up to 125%, according to Marketing Sherpa)
  • Boost engagement across social channels

And since Advocates are your most passionate and enthusiastic customers, you don't have to motivate them with perks, coupons, or cash. So what's the secret to getting Advocates to create compelling content for your brand? Download the whitepaper now to find out.

You'll learn how to:

  • Find your Brand Advocates
  • Turn Advocates into content creating machines to support marketing initiatives
  • Leverage the authentic and compelling content your Advocates create
  • Track advocacy results and optimize

Download now: How to Super-Charge Content Marketing via Brand Advocates

New Lead Generation Solution Delivers Referrals From Brand Advocates

If someone told you there was a shoebox full of hand-written highly qualified referral leads buried next to a tree in South Dakota, would you grab a shovel and venture to retrive them? Judging by the stats below, I'm sure every marketer and salesperson would be on the next flight to South Dakota cracking a bottle of champagne!

Facts about Lead Generation

  • Sixty percent of B2B marketers say generating leads is their top goal for 2012, followed closely by 57 percent who said “converting leads into paying customers” is their top priority (MarketingSherpa, “2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey”).
  • The average cost per lead using traditional outbound marketing tactics (direct mail, trade shows, direct marketing) is $346, according to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing.
  • In a recent survey by HubSpot, about 25 percent of marketers said referral leads were worth $1,000 per lead to their company and about 10 percent said referrals were worth more than $10,000.

Today, we've announced a new lead generation solution to help marketers and salespeople generate thousands of "free" referral leads from their own Brand Advocates and their social networks. 

Zuberance’s new "Advocate Referrals" solution is not a tell-a-friend tool or pay for referrals tactic. It’s a complete referral marketing solution that enables companies to systematically:

  •     Identify Advocates from among customers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, website visitors, and more;
  •     Leverage Advocates to generate referral leads by making it easy for Advocates to create and/or share compelling content and offers with their social and business networks;
  •     Track and optimize results in real-time.

How it works:

 

The Zuberance Advocate Platform automatically tracks which Advocates are sharing content and offers with their social networks; how many referrals have been generated; and the conversion rate for these referrals. A/B testing enables marketers to compare and analyze what offers or content being shared by Advocates are generating the most referrals. The Zuberance Advocate Platform also enables marketers to automatically re-engage Advocates to spur more sharing and referrals.

“Referral leads are the Gold Standard of leads, the Glengarry leads. These are the leads that marketers need and salespeople crave,” said Rob Fuggetta, Zuberance Founder & CEO. “Zuberance’s Advocate Referrals delivers thousands of qualified referral leads into the sales funnel, boosting sales fast,” he stated.

To learn more, read the full press release here.

9/19 Webinar: Top 10 Things Advocates Will Do For Your Brand Featuring Anytime Fitness & Outright

Date: Wednesday,September 19, 2012 Time: 9:00 AM PST/ 12:00 PM EST

Hosted By: Zuberance & Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA)


Hashtag: #BrandAdvocates

REGISTER NOW

You may spend millions of dollars on elaborate marketing campaigns. But there is nothing more powerful than a trusted recommendation from a Brand Advocate. In fact, Brand Advocate recommendations are the #1 influencer of purchase decisions in nearly every product category from smartphones to software, cars to computers, financial services to fitness memberships. Advocates' love for you is no summer romance or brand fling. When you create and engage an Advocate, you've identified a renewable marketing asset you can leverage for years.

What You'll Learn:

  • How to identify and energize your best customers (AKA Brand Advocates)
  • 10 creative ways to leverage the enthusiasm of your best customers to drive positive Word of Mouth and sales
  • How to measure the impact of brand advocacy program

Expert Speakers

Andy Giefer, Director of Social Media, Anytime Fitness (@agiefer)

Andy heads social media for Anytime Fitness, the world's largest fitness franchise. He’s particularly interested in how social transforms consumer experiences and expectations. In previous roles, he produced award-winning work at a Minneapolis agency, and spent a year teaching and traveling in Argentina. Andy is currently training for his 8th marathon and tweets at @agiefer.

Laura Messerschmitt, VP of Marketing, Outright, a Go Daddy company (@ljmesser)

Laura has over 10 years of experience working with small businesses at Deloitte Consulting, the Export-Import Bank, Intuit, and Outright.  Her first job was in a small business (an after school tutoring program for young kids) and she's still serving small businesses today at Outright, the online accounting solution for sole proprietors.   Laura led Outright threw a tremendous growth period over the last year using advocacy and social marketing to drive acquisition. This culminated in the acquisition of Outright by Go Daddy in July 2012.

Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance and author of Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force (John H. Wiley, 2012) (@robfuggetta)

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the author of the ground-breaking new book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force." Published by John H. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a major business publisher, Brand Advocates shows how companies are leveraging Brand Advocates to build their brands and businesses – and how you can too! Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that powers Brand Advocate programs for top consumer and business brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account.

10 attendees will receive a copy of Rob's new book, Brand Advocates

REGISTER NOW

How David is Beating Goliath in the Telecom Wars

VoIP provider Ooma doesn’t have Vonage or Xfinity’s $100 million+ marketing war chest. So Ooma is turning instead to its enthusiastic customers (AKA “Ooma Advocates”) to spread Word of Mouth and help sell more VoIP boxes.

Result: Ooma is cutting customer acquisition costs 54%!

Here are some other key stats from Ooma's advocacy program:

  • 27,194 Ooma Advocates identified (63% advocacy rating)
  • 3,713 Advocate reviews with an average 4.7 rating out of 5. 34% of Advocates that wrote reviews published them to Amazon.com, Sears.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Email
  • 8,354 offers shared on Facebook, Twitter and by EMail which has generated more than 6,305 inbound clicks
  • 2,442 Ooma Advocates have opted in to answer prospects’ questions. More than half of these Advocates have answered one or more questions asked by Ooma prospects.

Read more on TMCnet here

Check out Ooma's VP of Marketing, Jim Gustke, discussing the benefits of energizing their Advocates below (or click here to watch on YouTube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iZHhUcb2SLo

New Book By Zuberance CEO Shows How to Turn Brand Advocates into Powerful Marketing Force

LEARN MORE ABOUT BRAND ADVOCATES at BrandAdvocateBook.com Getting more customer recommendations is considered the Holy Grail in the social media age. For example, restaurants that boost their Yelp ratings by only one star can increase revenues by a whopping nine percent, according to recent research by Michael Luca from Harvard Business School. For a large restaurant chain, this can mean millions of dollars in sales.

Now, a ground-breaking new book shows marketers, small business owners, and even non-profits how to generate thousands of customer recommendations and boost online ratings by turning their best customers – “Brand Advocates” – into a volunteer marketing force.

The book, Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force (Wiley; ISBN: 978-1-1183-3603-8; July 2012; Hardcover & E-book) provides a step-by-step guide on how marketers, small business owners, and others can:

  • Discover who their Brand Advocates are and what makes these influential customers tick
  • Energize Advocates, generating thousands of positive recommendations on Amazon.com, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere without paying for or providing incentives to Advocates
  • Reward Brand Advocates by giving them what they crave most (here’s a hint: it isn’t money)
  • Measure results and ROI from advocacy programs

 Advocacy is Hot

Driving customer advocacy is now the #1 digital priority for CMOs worldwide, a recent IBM study of global CMOs showed.  And eMarketer recently stated: “Brand advocacy has become a critical part of the social media marketing mix.”

“Ultimate Guidebook to Brand Advocacy”

Brand Advocates is the first book that focuses on these influential consumers and shows marketers exactly how to engage and energize them to drive positive Word of Mouth, referral leads, and sales.

Porter Gale, the former VP Marketing at Virgin America, calls Brand Advocates the “ultimate guidebook to brand advocacy.” Says Gale: “Advocacy is the ultimate goal for every brand. Rob Fuggetta's book is simple, clear, and filled with practical advice.”

 Packed with Real-World Case Studies

Brand Advocates is packed with dozens of real-world case studies from multiple industries and verticals including consumer products, restaurants, health and fitness, automotive, software, consumer electronics, and more. It includes a chapter devoted to how B2B marketers can activate Advocates as well.

Brand Advocates shows how GMC, Ford, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, Club One Fitness, Virgin America, Intuit, Microsoft, Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, and many others are leveraging their Advocates to amplify positive Word of Mouth and sales.

Who Should Read Brand Advocates?

  • Brand Advocates is valuable for a wide range of audiences:
  • B2C and B2B marketers in a variety of roles: branding, online/digital, social media, demand generation, eCommerce, corporate communications, market research, and more
  • Sales executives and managers
  • Customer experience and loyalty program professionals
  • Executives and managers in ad agencies, digital agencies, public relations firms, and other marketing services providers
  • Small business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Professionals in non-profit organizations, government agencies, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) plus in political campaigns
  • College students in business and marketing programs

In addition, any company or organization that is measuring customer satisfaction, loyalty, or advocacy via Net Promoter® can also benefit from Brand Advocates. The book describes how to turn Promoters into a powerful marketing force.

About the Author

Rob Fuggetta is the world’s foremost authority on brand advocacy. Fuggetta is the founder and CEO of Zuberance, a leading social media marketing company that powers award-winning advocacy programs for consumer and business brands. A twenty-year veteran of Silicon Valley, Fuggetta has played a leadership role in three start-ups including Genuity, a Verizon spinout. He was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary Silicon Valley marketing and communications firm that helped put Apple on the map.

 Available Now

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Brand Advocates is available now at leading book sellers including Amazon.com (print and Kindle edition); Barnes & Noble; 800 CEO Read; and BAM (Books-a-Million). In addition, the book is available directly from Wiley at www.wiley.com in both print and e-book editions from Wiley.com.

Net Promoter® is a registered trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc.; Bain & Company; and Fred Reichheld. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective holders.

Taco Tuesday: Neighborhood Advocacy in Action

I was part of Word of Mouth (WOM) and Brand Advocacy (more like Taco Advocacy) long before I truly understood what these terms meant. When I was in high school, my friend, Nate Kristoff’s family had everyone and their mothers over for tacos every Tuesday afternoon. Believe me when I say everyone and their mothers.

What started out as a small, weekly tradition for families and friends, grew into something larger as unknown members of the Marin Catholic High School community were encouraged to go to the Kristoff’s for swimming and tacos once a week.

I remember my first Taco Tuesday. My friend John always talked about it and insisted I go. He was constantly spreading his taco excitement by recruiting newcomers. Hardly anyone knew me my first time, but the genuine hospitality the Kristoff’s displayed not only made me feel welcome, it made me come back multiple times—often with a guest of my own. Five years later, Taco Tuesday still thrives.

The Advocacy wiz might already see the relevant marketing mechanisms at work in my story. But for the rest of you, let’s break down my experience.

  • Taco Tuesday and the hospitality of the Kristoff family created highly satisfied guests and enthusiastic Advocates.
  • Taco Tuesday grew quickly because Taco Tuesday Advocates (like John) recommended Taco Tuesday to others in the community.
  • John and other Taco Tuesday Advocates were trusted sources as they weren’t incentivized by the Kristoff’s in any way—it was genuine advocacy at work.

Now, in this case, Taco Tuesday and community bonding at the Kristoff’s wasn’t about dollar signs; but imagine if it was. Kristoff Tacos could have been commoditized and sold for a profit, and with all the other elements of my story in place, you can guess what would have happened. If you’re thinking soaring sales, you are on the right track.

The WOM for Taco Tuesday occurred offline. But what if Taco Tuesday Advocates like John were given the means to spread their excitement via Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or email?

These ideas and their value are seemingly obvious, but marketers and business owners should go beyond simply hanging a “write us a review on Yelp” sign in their store windows. Instead, marketers should be systematically identifying Brand Advocates, giving them the tools to spread the word quickly and conveniently, and tracking the boost in sales that are surely to come.

-Beau Cowan, Marketing Coordinator, Zuberance

8/1 Webinar: Top 5 Myths of Brand Advocacy REVEALED with Ancestry.com's Head of Social

Webinar: Top 5 Myths of Brand Advocacy REVEALED Date: Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Time: 11am PST/2pm EST

Twitter Hashtag: #BrandAdvocates

REGISTRATION: Click the orange "Attend" button in the webinar player below or click here.

10 webinar attendees will win a free copy of Rob Fuggetta's new book, "Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force."

Brand Advocacy is hot! According to a recent IBM study, brand advocacy is the #1 priority for CMO’s globally. As forward-thinking marketers are developing strategies to find and activate their most enthusiastic customers, it’s important to put to rest some myths surrounding advocacy. This webinar will address what it takes to run a successful advocacy program and the characteristics and motivations of Brand Advocates.  (Do you know what Advocates crave most? Here’s a hint: It isn’t money.)

What You’ll Learn: •    Surprising insights about who Brand Advocates are and what makes them tick •    Best practices for engaging and energizing this influential segment to drive leads and sales •    How to measure the impact from brand advocacy programs •    Real world case studies from top brands like Ancestry.com, Rubio’s, and Intuit

TO REGISTER CLICK THE ORANGE "ATTEND" BUTTON IN THE PLAYER BELOW. A BrightTALK Channel Expert Speakers

Nick Cifuentes, Global Social Media Director, Ancestry.com (@nickcifuentes) Nick Cifuentes is the global social media director at Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, with more than 2 million paying subscribers as of July 2012. An industry veteran, Nick has worked in digital media and marketing since 2004, functioning in strategy, copywriting, analytics, search, planning, online media, and social media. He is a frequent guest writer on various industry blogs, and publishes his own blogs as well, including one focusing on digital media, and another on his side passion, ultramarathon running.

Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance (@robfuggetta) Rob Fuggetta is the leading expert on brand advocacy. He is a former partner at Regis McKenna Inc., the legendary marketing and communications firm where he co-managed the Apple account. He later became 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.

Online Reviews: Mostly Positive and Driven by Unselfish Motives

A common myth of online reviews is that they’re mostly negative. Many believe that if a customer has a negative experience at a restaurant or hotel, they'll go straight to Yelp or TripAdvisor to voice their frustration. While this may be the case sometimes, online reviews are actually mostly positive, according to a new Infographic by Demandforce. 87% of people post positive reviews most or every time. Only 2% post negative reviews most or every time. The motivations behind writing online reviews are positive as well:

  • 90% write reviews to help others make good decisions.
  • 79% write reviews because people rely on them and posting reviews is a way of giving back.
  • 79% write reviews to reward a company that has done right by you.

The unselfish reasons why people write online reviews align with recent Zuberance research: Brand Advocates recommend because they’ve had good experiences with a product or service (50%) and they want to help others make smarter purchase decisions (37%). Only 1% recommend brands for selfish reasons (i.e. for rewards, discounts, cash).

How to get more positive online reviews

While most businesses understand the importance of their online reputation, many struggle to get their customers to go to Yelp or TripAdvisor and actually write a review.

The key to getting more positive reviews is to make it easy! Reach out to your most satisfied customers (AKA Brand Advocates) and simply invite them to post a review online. You’ll be surprised how many of your Advocates are willing and eager to create glowing testimonials if you just give them the online tools to do so. For example, soon after GMC launched their advocacy program, 300 reviews were created and posted on Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about energizing your Advocates, download the whitepaper, “Turning Your Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force.”

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

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

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hir070Ex7qE

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!