Behind the scenes Q&A: What motivates brand advocates?

Today we sit down with our own Tyler Echevarria, Account Manager here at Amplifinity. He works directly with our clients and has the inside scoop on what motivates people to spread the word about brands they love. We have a few questions for him that should help us better understand brand advocates.

Tyler Echevarria, Amplifinity Account Manager

Q: First of all, what is your role in the process of brand advocacy?

A: As an Account Manager, I provide our clients with the tools and knowledge to help them better leverage their brand advocates. I also aid the clients in making changes to improve their advocacy programs.

Q: What motivates an advocate?

A: Strong incentives and an easy to navigate process flow. A strong incentive will encourage users to come back and make more referrals as friends become in market for that particular product or service. If the process to make referrals is too complicated or convoluted they won’t come back after making their first referral; or even worse, they will quit before making that first referral.

Q: What types of incentives do we use in our programs?

A: Amplifinity can support using any type of incentive. Our clients will know their customers better than we will, so they generally know what works best for them. Amplifinity has used checks, gift cards, free service, and bill credits.

Q: Is it possible to create long-term advocates?

A: Absolutely. It is an Amplifinity best practice that our customers build their advocacy programs with a long term view. Advocates know their friends and family best. This means they know when they are in market. If you run the advocacy program as a short campaign, customers may not have friends that are ready to purchase that product. If the program were run with a long-term view, the advocate would be able to come back at the right time to make that referral.

Q: How does good customer service affect advocacy?

A: Customer service is extremely important to brand advocacy. You can have the greatest product on the market but if customers come to expect poor customer service they will abandon the product. People do not want to refer their friends and family to a product or service that is going to treat them poorly.

Q: Do you find that our clients adjust their programs over time?

A: Yes, our best clients will make changes over time to keep the program(s) fresh in order to drive advocates back to the program. Two examples of ways to update the program are to change the incentive structure and the creative. Clients have implemented special tiered rewards for holiday promotions to drive extra traffic. Updating creative to match the current marketing campaign keeps the look and feel fresh in the consumers mind.

Q: Do you have any other advice for companies wishing to improve brand advocacy?

A: Give every customer the opportunity to be an advocate. Do not limit who can and cannot be part of the program. Do not exclude people who may only generate one lead. Instead of only inviting those who will make many referrals, give them access to a special program with different incentives.

Lots of great insight from Tyler.  If you have any questions that weren’t answered in our session, feel free to check out our website or send a message to info@amplifinity.com.

Brand advocacy runs cold if it’s not given time to work

Before working for Amplifinity, I worked in appliance sales. I quickly became a brand advocate for LG’s line of products. LG’s products boast a modern style and top-of-the-line features. I promoted their appliances to many customers, and referred friends to the brand when they asked.

At that time, a friend of mine was moving into her first home and needed to buy new appliances. I quickly recommended a top load LG washer and dryer set. Several months later, a family member asked me for recommendations for a refrigerator because theirs had gone on the fritz. Guess what brand I recommended?

I became a long-term brand advocate for LG, and to this day I recommend their products and services — but here’s the caveat: I make recommendations only when I know a friend or family member is about to purchase an appliance.  In other words, I know what LG probably doesn’t: I know when their prospective customers are in-market or ready to purchase.  At Amplifinity, our clients who see the highest percentages of new customer acquisition, tend to view referral programs as a long-term piece of their marketing and advertising mix.  Here’s what we know:

1. Brand advocates who make multiple successful referrals, do so about every 3 months. When brands run Amplifinity’s software as short-term campaigns (1-3 months), advocates who would normally and eventually make successful referrals do not get a chance to do so as they would in a long-term program. And the brand loses out.

2. Friends know when friends are in-market. Just like my days in appliance sales, I knew when my friends and family were looking for new appliances long before the brand ever would have known; same applies to your B2B and B2C current customers and employees.

3. Friends’ Referrals = Benefit for the Brand. Research, including that which comes from Amplifinity’s clients’ referral programs, consistently proves that customers acquired through referrals from their friends spend more and are more loyal to your brand.

Short campaigns will increase traffic or encourage advocates to come back, but those campaigns need to be pieces of a larger, ongoing program. Brand advocacy solutions are faster, cheaper, and more effective than traditional customer acquisition methods, and our results prove it.  So does the fact that when I see my old customers from my sales days, they thank me for their refrigerator that is still running as well today as the day they bought it.