Imagine this scenario – one of your loyal customers goes online and starts talking about how good your product is! They go ahead and do a video talking about the value it brings. The video then circulates among their circles, and boom – you have new customers! That is how advocacy marketing works!
In advocacy marketing, your existing customers become your brand advocates. Their genuine reviews serve as magnets attracting new customers. This is a unique marketing strategy that the top brands of the world are utilizing. The core here is that there is greater scope to attract new customers when your existing customers talk positively about your brand. And this works much better than any other marketing strategy.
While most brands have a few loyal customers who talk about them, not everybody is proactive enough to advocate the brand. Considering this, it will not help much if you sit quietly without putting an effort to push your customers to become your brand advocates.
While some companies are yet to explore how to get their customers to be their advocates, some have been excelling in the strategy. Top brands like Uber, Coca-Cola, and Tesla have figured out innovative ways to push more and more customers into becoming their advocates. Using some clever ideas, they have managed to prompt enthusiastic customers to amplify their voices.
In this article, we have provided you with some innovative ways in which brands are using advocacy marketing to win new customers. Taking cues from them will help you figure out how to use advocacy marketing to the fullest.
Here are the examples
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We know how big Starbucks is in the world of coffee. Along with its amazing coffee, the company also uses some inspirational ideas to promote the business. The multinational chain came up with an innovative advocacy marketing strategy called “Tweet a Coffee..” The campaign was very simple – it ran a campaign @tweetacoffee and asked its followers to tweet a photo of their coffee to get a $5 gift card. The first 100,000 people entering the campaign were to get a gift card worth $5.
The campaign generated around $180,000 in sales for Starbucks. But this was not the only profit. The non-sales profit through the campaign was even greater. Twenty-seven thousand unique individuals participated in the campaign. This means Starbucks got nearly 27,000 active brand advocates. Further, it also got about 27,000 potential brand advocates (those who received the gift cards). This way, the brand got more leads to engage for further sales growth.
2. Tesla’s ongoing advocacy marketing strategy
Tesla, one of the most innovative companies in the world, has proved itself a leader in advocacy marketing as well. It keeps on showering offers to attract both existing as well as new customers. It has some clever ideas to prompt its loyal customer base to attract new clients through advocacy.
Tesla created referral packages that benefited both referred persons as well as the person who refers. By doing so, both parties get attractive discounts ($1,000 discount on a new purchase). Another offer was that if a person referred more than ten persons, they would be eligible to buy the limited Founder Series of the Model XUV, which was not available in the market for general sales. Further, the very first person to achieve this feat was to get the vehicle for free.
Over the period, Tesla made many changes to its referral program, and each of the returns promised was amazing for the customers. It gave out new Roadsters, a tour for two in the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles, an invitation to Tesla events, and many more such rewards.
3. “Shot on iPhone” campaign by Apple
“Shot on iPhone” was a very low-cost and high-return campaign by Apple. The brand asked its customers to click photos from their iPhones and share them on social media with relevant hashtags. An enormous number of people got on the bandwagon; after all, who would not like their photograph to be featured by Apple? The campaign got a tremendous response. The smartphone giant picked selected photos and used them on billboards and other marketing campaigns.
This simple technique provided the brand with a whole bunch of advertising material for free. The brand also attracted advocates who took part in the campaign and showcased iPhone’s picture quality along with the selected few.
4. Cisco’s Influencer Networking Programs
Cisco launched an influencer networking program called Cisco Champions Program. It was a community initiative that promoted influencers to talk about the brand on social media channels. As a gesture of gratitude, Cisco helped the individuals by highlighting their expertise on various channels. Additionally, the company also helped them learn new skills to improve their expertise. Cisco provided these influencers many opportunities to widen their area of influence.
The results for the Cisco Champions were quite decent and helpful for the brand and its advocates too.
5. “Share a Coke” by Coca Cola
The multinational carbonated soft drink manufacturer Coca-Cola came up with one of the most innovative advocacy marketing campaigns. It was one of the few companies that shifted the focus of its advertising campaign from its product to its consumers. The campaign rolled out on multiple channels with the aim of connecting emotionally with its customers. It presented its soft drink as a medium of connecting with loved ones – here, the connection was important, not the Coca-Cola.
The bottles came with the wrapper with the “share a coke with…” logo instead of the traditional logo. ‘With’ in the tagline was followed by a person’s name to make it personalized; they started with 150 most common names and then encouraged people to add more names by online voting, thus engaging with more and more people. Other bottles also came with a generic name like Mom, Dad, Friend, Mate, Bestie, etc.
6. “Refer-a-friend” by Uber
Refer-a-Friend has perhaps become the most trendy way of advocacy marketing. Almost all brands have used it at some point. However, its popularity and efficiency have now simmered down. Companies like Uber have gained massively using this strategy. Uber has created referral programs for both riders and drivers. The program was apt for the type of business model the company has. Following this, Uber used the ‘refer-a-friend’ technique to appeal to both drivers and the customers.
To earn an edge over Lyft, its strongest US competitor, Uber, created a special referral program for drivers.
7. “UO on You” by Urban Outfitters
“UO on You” was an advocacy marketing campaign released by Urban Outfitters in 2013. The campaign was very simple in design but remarkably effective in its result. They simply asked their customers to share pictures of their product in a real-world setting. These pictures sourced from real customers were used in their different advertising campaigns.
For any customer looking for a review, photographs clicked by common people are more trustworthy as compared to the photographs clicked by professionals. This campaign helped Urban Outfitters increase interaction with existing customers and build trust among potential customers without spending on advertising campaigns.
8. “Okta Ozone” by Okta
Okta, an identity management company, crafted a unique way of advocacy marketing back in 2016. For their annual company event, Okta focused on customers by creating a program called Okta Ozone. Through the campaign, they prompted their existing customers to advertise the event online. The customers who could drive more sign-ups were rewarded with a special lunch. Additionally, the advocates and promoters were given unique awards to recognize the efforts of customers-turned-advocates for making the event successful.
The advocates were also addressed and thanked by keynote speakers at the event. This initiative made the loyal customers feel like a part of the organization, thus encouraging them to be vocal advocates for the brand.
9. Discount offer advocacy marketing by Gap
The Gap is a well-known clothing retailer today. In 2010, it was not such a big name. It was then that Gap utilized advocacy marketing and exponentially increased its customer base. Gap joined hands with Groupon to provide a huge discount of 50% on every $50 purchase during a single day. The offer might seem costly on the side of the brand, but it paid the brand very well.
The offer skyrocketed Gap’s sales so much that at a point, 534 sales were being made every single minute. The brand earned around 11million dollars (about $0.03 per person in the US) of revenue with this program. Additionally, it got its name out in the market at a huge level as people were sharing it with their friends, family, and acquaintances at a huge rate.
10. “MuleSoft Champions” by MuleSoft
MuleSoft, the world’s leading API (Application Programming Interface) management platform showcased its unique approach to advocacy marketing. It launched a platform, “MuleSoft Champions,” to support developers to network and grow professionally. This turned out to be a win-win program as the developers were getting a chance to enhance their skills. On the other hand, MuleSoft was creating hardcore advocates for its brand.
This program helped the brand immensely in becoming the world leader. This program increased MuleSoft’s advocate engagement rate by 1300%. The community members and the advocates together created more than 3,000 pieces of content, including seven books for MuleSoft. The ROI (return on investment) for the brand was undoubtedly remarkably high.30
Advocacy Marketing is an effective tool as existing customers of a particular brand spread positive words for that brand. Though some loyal customers would already be doing this for your brand, being proactive on your part can fetch you very high returns. The above mentioned are a few examples of how companies are pushing and prompting their customers to be actively involved in advocating for their brand. No matter what the size of your business is, you can always use a little creativity and make advocacy marketing work for you.
Shivani is a talented CS manager with the skillsets to elicit, scope and manage end-to-end B2B SaaS project delivery. She has a keen interest in depicting her learnings in customer success by writing resourceful blogs and articles.
Published June 10, 2022, Updated March 01, 2023