There are many different approaches that a marketer can take to increase professional success. There are many different areas on which to concentrate and brand advocates are a group of people who are worth cultivating and highlighting.
Everything is moving so quickly
In this day and age, technology is so advanced and so sophisticated that everything is moving at an advanced rate. It is imperative for businesses to keep up with the times and from the marketer’s perspective, it is critical that he or she is at the right place at the right time and that the most powerful message possible is conveyed to the right people. The marketing message must also be enticing and it must invoke a certain reaction in the people who are on the receiving end of that message. It must entice those people to connect on a deeper level with the brand and with the business that represents the brand. When it comes to the marketing industry on the whole, there has been an evolutionary process that has occurred. It has passed through a few stages and a great deal of progress has occurred since the beginning of the process.
Stage 1: In this first stage, the marketer contacted people who seemed to show a likelihood of eventually becoming clients for that particular business. The “reaching out” was in the form of traditional marketing, such as print advertisements, television commercials, and radio advertisements. That particular type of marketing was directly from the brand to the customer. The customer basically had no control over what was being conveyed and how they felt about the marketing was of little consequence. Unfortunately, that meant that there was no mutuality. Sadly, this type of marketing did not produce extremely positive results because there was no real interaction. With that in mind, it was almost impossible to link successful sales to specific marketing efforts. That means that a large amount of the money that was spent on those marketing efforts was wasted (or, at least, might have been wasted). Then, less traditional, more innovative, interactive approaches to marketing were introduced. This is where things started to get much more interesting!
Stage 2: Stage 2 is interactive. Two people share a relationship and interact as two human beings. Because there is dialogue, it is much easier to attribute successful business results to specific interactions. This allowed the customer (or prospective customer) to offer an opinion (and to be made to feel as though his or her opinion really mattered to the other person). If the customer believed in the brand and found value in the offerings, it was not a huge leap for that person to turn around and tell other people about the products and/or services. This allowed the brand the potential to go viral. Once the customer decided to buy something, it was not “blind” buying. The purchase was based on education; a long, hard thought process; and careful consideration when it came to making the decision to choose one business’s products and/or services over another business’s offerings.
- Stage 3: The third stage (and final stage so far) is all about brand advocates. This stage is still in the making at this point. Brand advocacy is critical to the success of any brand and any business. When it comes to this stage, it is a natural phenomenon that business will grow and change (for the better). At the end of this process is the sale, which is every business owner’s ultimate goal anyway. When it comes to brand advocates, there are several good reasons why a person would take the position of wanting to be an advocate.
Customers have an unspoken trust in other customers: The only person who is not allowed to sing the praises of your offerings is you. Other people can shout it from the rooftops and it is perfectly appropriate and very powerful. There is a feeling of trust among people who can and will do that.
An established foundation of advocacy: Once a foundation of advocacy has been established, there is no tearing it down. The power that the advocates hold in their hands will go on indefinitely. Those people will tell people whom they know and trust who will, in turn, tell other people whom they know and trust, etc. Before you know it, you will have more business than you can handle.
Brand advocates will act as salespeople (without officially working for you): This is a very powerful and effective concept. The more people you have who support and believe in what you are doing, the stronger your business will be. All you need to do is allow the advocates to tell others about your wonderful offerings.
Tracking your brand advocates: As wonderful as it is that other people are willing to act as your brand ambassadors, at the same time, it is important for you to pay close attention to what they are saying and doing on behalf of your brand. There are now tools that allow you to be able to do that.
As a marketer, you should make sure to pay close attention to brand advocates for your business because they are an extremely powerful part of your formula for success. Brand advocates have a tremendous impact on your business and the connection between your products and/or services and other people who are in a position to buy what you are selling. Your brand advocates will do whatever they can to help you to succeed simply because they believe in what you are doing. Advocates are willing to go out on a limb for you and to connect with what you are doing on a human level. It is that simple. You never asked those advocates to help. They are doing it from their hearts. It couldn’t be any better than that.[signoff][/signoff]
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.