Forrester Report: Customer Goodwill Is An Untapped Marketing Goldmine


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We’ve long talked about how advocate marketing programs drive tangible revenue—and we’re not the only ones. Analysts at Forrester and Gartner have outlined how advocate marketing strategies can spark B2B growth by increasing leads, brand awareness, and customer retention.

However, fear of failure still prevents many brands from investing in customer advocacy—especially if more traditional customer marketing programs (like standalone referral, reference or community initiatives) haven’t been runaway successes.

In her newest report, Laura Ramos, Forrester’s Vice President and Principal Analyst, outlines the common pitfalls many B2B marketers experience when starting an advocate marketing strategy. (You can access the entire report here for free.)

Below, we’ve summarized the some of key points from the report so you can turn your customers’ goodwill into a marketing gold mine.

Common advocate marketing pitfalls

Many marketers are turning to technology to scale customer reference, loyalty, and advisory programs. However, these programs don’t often deliver because they:

• Focus on driving company goals (like case studies, testimonials and referrals), instead of delivering customer benefits first
• Do not have measurable (or any) tangible goals
• Burn out a small number of loyal customers with too many requests
• Are too tactical and disjointed, thus creating a confusing overall experience for potential advocates
• Face internal resistance due to account ownership or siloing in the marketing department
• Don’t focus on the key personality traits of their advocates to drive long-term engagement

Brands must have internal alignment, set clear goals and create a holistic experience with the right technology and touch points if they want their advocate marketing strategy to succeed.

However, the real key to keeping advocates engaged lies in understanding what really motivates them to participate.

The four advocate personalities

Understanding which personality type dominates your advocate group will allow you to appeal to your advocates’ specific tendencies. By identifying one of the four main personality types, and adjusting your program accordingly, you’ll be able to connect with your advocates and drive results for your program.

1. Educators

Educators like to share tips and help others grow. They are best suited to creating helpful content, participating in communities, and sharing on social media. Ask them for specific help and give them a chance to connect with new customers so they can act as mentors. They won’t say no!

2. Validators

These credible, well-spoken knowledge seekers are fair and balanced. If you can get them on your side, they can provide the authentic evidence you need to close new deals by acting as references or being in your case studies.They also love to offer in-depth product feedback and do beta testing. Listen to their opinions and help them be successful; they’ll be happy to tell others about their experiences with you.

3. Status Seekers

These ambitious people have extensive networks and like to influence others. They’re always looking to get to the next level in their careers and build their personal brand. Ask them to speak on stage, participate in webinars, or provide testimonials or referrals, and they’ll be happy to oblige. If you give them a podium, they’ll be sure to return the favor.

4. Collaborators

These influential folks (who are often executives) have deep personal networks. They’re hard to find, but are often the most willing to invest time, effort, funds and their personal reputation in your brand. If you can give them exclusive experiences and align them to your cause, they can become your most valuable advocates. Make them a part of your advisory board, introduce them to your c-suite and explore joint ventures to solidify your relationship.

To learn more about each advocate persona, download the Forrester report for free.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Williams
Jim Williams is VP of Marketing at Influitive, the advocate marketing experts. Jim is a veteran marketer for early and growth stage tech companies that loves bringing new concept products to market. Before joining the Influitive team, he held marketing leadership roles at Eloqua, Unveil Solutions, Lernout & Hauspie, and several PR agencies.


  1. Good points Jim. In particular, not having the ability to correlate customer advocate activities to revenue should be a crime. The other point of failure we see is not aligning the advocate program’s goals with core company goals. The company may be targeting new customer segments, planning a new product launch, expanding geographically, etc., and each would be more successful with advocate support. Program managers must be aware of these goals to support them. If executives don’t see how the program a) influences revenue, and b) how it helps him/her achieve top-level company goals the program is nothing but a cost center.


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