In an interview with Catherine Roche, BCG partner and co-author of the firm’s 2011 report on consumer sentiment, the former CEO of Tremor extols the virtues of advocacy marketing, a relationship-based model that can double the revenues from new products over traditional reach-based marketing alone—and with smaller marketing budgets.
What is “Advocacy Marketing” ?
It’s a form of marketing that harnesses the power of recommendations from third-party individuals who are not affiliated with the brand. It taps into trusted social networks to disseminate and amplify messages that are relevant to consumers. When done right, it also allows consumers to participate in the development of products and services and to provide feedback on new products and marketing campaigns.
How do you create messages that will get advocates talking ?
Advocacy marketing is actually grounded in cognitive science. The core concept is called a schema disruption. In simple terms, schemas are mental models of how the world works. They allow us to process information using a set of unconscious assumptions or expectations. Advocacy results when we encounter a variance from these expectations, and our brains naturally want to talk about the experience: on blogs, around the coffee machine, at dinner with friends. Significant disruption calls for significant conversation—and that’s the secret of advocacy marketing.
Why is advocacy marketing particularly critical for consumer businesses now?
The erosion of consumer trust in brands and marketing has been a big factor in the recent surge in the power of advocates. Another equally powerful driver has been the rapid spread of digital media, which serve as a booster shot for the viral transmission of messages. Thanks to digital connectivity, scale is now possible in the use of advocacy marketing.
What kind of impact can advocacy marketing have ?
Our research shows that it has the potential to double the revenues for new products over traditional marketing alone. It can also help companies lower their marketing budgets.
How can a company succeed in advocacy marketing ?
Advocacy strategy should align closely with the business’s strategic goals and should complement, rather than replace, the current marketing program. But it also requires new ways of thinking—away from traditional reach-based marketing models to a new relationship-based model. And what makes this such a rich approach is that there are so many sources of advocacy. (See the exhibit above).
Companies that are implementing advocacy marketing are winning in today’s marketplace….