Building Advocacy Workflows into Your Customer Journey
First-hand, Hands-on Lessons from Global Advocacy Leaders & Practitioners
We recently enjoyed sponsoring and attending a practical masterclass taught by our partners at Captivate Collective, titled: Building Advocate Engagement Workflows into Your Customer Journey. If you’re not already familiar, Captivate Collective is a consultancy firm focused on helping companies design effective Customer Advocacy strategies. Captivate Collective founders Liz Richardson and Deena Zenyk have unmatched industry experience as both practitioners and consultants. Their input to the ongoing development of what they have termed “Advocacy 2.0” is invaluable.
That said, for those of you who missed the chance to partake in this class (and there will be others, so stay posted and follow), here is the gist of what we learned.
The State of Customer Advocacy
The first part of the Masterclass was dedicated to taking a step back and looking at what Customer Advocacy looks like today and where it is going. Captivate pointed out that, while Advocacy has come a long way as a practice and is now recognized for its value in propelling sales and marketing efforts, there are still some significant roadblocks to overcome on the road to a full-blown Advocacy 2.0. One of the more palpable challenges to address is the fact that now that customers can sometimes be bombarded with advocacy programs. The need to avoid overload must be considered in designing a strategy and planning its launch. Another issue to consider is the fact that Advocacy needs to shed its one-size-fits-all standing and take on a more personalized approach. Deena mentioned there should be ’50 shades of advocacy’ that consider how an advocacy program will suit a specific customer and not vice versa. This will require B2B companies to make the shift from a single advocacy program to numerous customer marketing programs. More importantly, it will compel companies to look at engagements along the journey from a contextual point of view, and use them as guidance for meaningful engagement via a program that is suited to their preferences and experiences.
As we dive deeper into the very core of Advocacy, we learn that what’s necessary is a tectonic shift in the customer journey. Until now, the advocacy journey was typically triggered by happiness-related milestones like NPS, adoption or renewal that come later in the customer journey. As Advocacy evolves, the advocacy journey is becoming intertwined with the customer journey, and a much broader range of experiences can be triggers for acts of Advocacy.
Another obstacle to overcome is that there are so many companies competing for every customer’s time and attention. Much like Loyalty programs, Advocacy programs have become an expectation, but customers are also expecting us to make it easy for them to partake and benefit from these activities. This leads us to the ever-growing challenge of personalization at scale. How do we ensure that our programs are getting our audience’s attention and speaking directly to them? We need to know a whole lot more about our audiences to be able to motivate them effectively.
When asked to rate the challenges of advocacy in order of importance, integrating the customer journey with the advocacy journey was voted number one.
Overcoming these challenges will take a village, or rather an advocacy ecosystem.
There are three pillars that Captivate recognize as essential to the building of a Customer Engagement Ecosystem:
- Broaden data discovery: To get to know your customers, you can go beyond the NPS and gather data from all the touch-points along the customer journey, from CRM data, NPS, Surveys, Product Interactions, Content Engagement, and Support Tickets – to simple conversations.
- Introduce ungated Advocacy: Requires a shift in mindset from advocacy activities occurring only under the umbrella of official programs to advocacy moments that can occur anywhere along the customer journey through various touch-points and offer value to anyone across the company.
- Work with a portfolio of programs: Although you don’t have to start with many, gradually building a portfolio of advocacy programs that directly reflects the business goals, will help achieve better outcomes and get cross-company buy-in.
“Ungated Advocacy is about mapping opportune moments into the journey that is designed to enhance the customer experience and cultivate ungated, unlabeled Advocacy. Customers aren’t required to enroll in an official program, and they don’t have to be labeled.”
Stay Focused on Advocacy Outcomes as They Get Much Broader
What is essential to keep in mind is that Advocacy is not simply customer lifecycle marketing. As advocacy practitioners, we’re focused on helping customers move through the lifecycle funnel, but we’re also focused on building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers. And what’s great about the evolving role of Advocacy is that it now holds power to deliver outcomes in a much broader range of areas across the organization. A customer advocacy outcome could range from supplying Marketing with quality social proof to assisting Product in better defining a roadmap to accelerating Sales with referrals, and onward and upward.
Masterclass participants were asked: What are some of the unique ways we see Advocacy drive outcomes?
Liz and Deena shared a Customer Advocacy Framework that helps drive outcomes through 4 phases of the journey: exploring by which we learn who our advocacy customers are, motivating effectively because we understand them better, activating by putting the right action in front of them and making it mutually beneficial, and lastly by iterating on our approach as we learn more.
Ready to learn more about how to begin building a customer engagement ecosystem?
Check out Crowdvocate’s webinar with Captivate Collective on Building a Customer Advocacy Strategy in 2021.
Identifying Opportune Moments To Introduce Advocacy
Now that we are familiar with the state of Advocacy, the path to identifying opportune moments has been paved. SurveyMonkey defines the customer journey as “the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand.” As Advocacy evolves, we will see opportunities for Advocacy emerge at many more ‘moments of truth’ and at ‘points of friction’ along the customer journey. Moments of truth are those experiences that inform the customer’s opinion of your brand, like attendance at an event, a support experience, or even a log-in. When we interact in any context, we are given the opportunity to meet, exceed or fail to meet the customer’s expectations. Points of friction occur when the customer has an experience that slows or stops progress along the journey. This could be anything from a bad onboarding experience to a tank in email marketing open rates.
Although Advocacy is customarily triggered by moments of truth, points of friction are an opportunity that should not be overlooked. It’s important to keep in mind that opportune moments triggered by either a good or bad experience with your brand are not mutually exclusive and will differ from customer to customer. Simply put, Advocacy is a means to many ends that should live everywhere along the journey to help generate revenue and improve the experience.
“We’ve seen a 23% increase in product adoptions YoY because we get feedback from advocates regularly to improve the product, which results in more happy customers,” masterclass participant.
Driving Outcomes With Advocacy Engagement Workflows
Well-designed advocacy engagement flows will help to exceed expectations. As you learn to identify leverage points along the customer journey, you can layer on customer advocacy flows that will explore, motivate, or activate a curated path towards desired results for you and the customer. Under the themes of exploration, motivation, and activation, we looked at the many ways we can do this.
“Your key to success in Advocacy is relevance. The ideal piece of content, the perfect opportunity, and the most remarkable experience will only deliver the desired results when presented to the right person, at the right time, in the right place.”
The right advocacy engagement workflow will be ungated, meaning anything that comes at the right time through the right channel. It lets us capitalize on opportune moments because we have a deep understanding of who our customers are. We can closely align our engagement and advocacy opportunities to the customer journey. We provide nuanced programs that speak to the unique needs, preferences, and goals of our customer audiences.
Ready to propel your Customer Marketing & Advocacy into the future?
Although the final and hands-on part of the Masterclass was pure gold that we’d love to bring you, this is where a summary post becomes an excellent motivation for you to ask us to let you know when our next educational event is planned for.