My most important recommendation for 2015 is to research customer advocacy marketing. Specifically, I recommend that you check out Influitive (a B2B advocacy marketing software platform).
Full disclosure: The Starr Conspiracy is an Influitive Premier Certified Partner. We earn revenue implementing, integrating, and managing Influitive programs.
That being said, I’m not a shill for Influitive. I have good reasons for recommending Influitive, and they happen to be the same reasons that we aggressively pursed a partnership with the company (going so far as to create a dedicated Tech Unit, headed by TSC partner Kevin Mangum, to manage our Influitive business).
Customer advocacy marketing is not a new idea. But technology like Influitive is relatively new. Influitive uses rewards and recognition to mobilize customer advocates. By mobilize, I mean persuade them to do the things you want them to do.
Using a challenge-driven environment, Influitive encourages customers (and other types of advocates) to make referrals, serve as references, review your product, and talk about you online — at events and with industry peers. In reality, Influitive users are only limited by their own imagination when it comes to creating new types of challenges.
At The Starr Conspiracy, we use Influitive to increase our social reach by challenging advocates to expand their social networks and syndicate our content. In our last major marketing campaign, more than 70 percent of our leads came from social referrals.
I’m also bullish on Influitive because of the company’s founder and CEO, Mark Organ. I’ve known Mr. Organ for a long time. Before Influitive, he was the founding CEO of Eloqua, a company that helped firmly establish the marketing automation category and that eventually sold to Oracle for nearly $1 billion. When Eloqua was a relatively nascent software, I was bullish on the technology and recommended it aggressively in the enterprise software market segment. Accordingly, I had the sincere pleasure of speaking with Mr. Organ frequently on the direction of the marketing automation space and the needs of enterprise software users.
I predict that within seven years, advocacy marketing platforms will be as pervasive as marketing automation platforms. And while I have no doubt that there will be many more entrants to the market, I predict that Influitive will hold on to the lead just as Eloqua held on to the lead even as hundreds of marketing automation systems sprung up around it.
In short, I believe in Influitive’s vision and I believe in the company’s ability to execute based on my experience with Mark Organ. But there’s another big reason I recommend advocacy marketing: the saturation of industry paid media channels.
As the enterprise software market continues to grow, industry paid media channels have become less efficient. One simply cannot depend on the same return on investment from industry paid media sources that we have seen in the past. B2B technology companies must find ways to increase results from owned and earned media channels. In my experience, the most frequently neglected owned media channel is the customer base. With the right marketing and incentive strategy, customers can generate great results as an owned media channel as well as catalyze great results in earned media channels such as social sharing. Influitive can accelerate your realization of these results by providing a platform to manage your advocacy marketing program.
I encourage you to visit www.influitive.com for more information.