Turn Your Customers Into Your Brand’s Best Friends

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Marketers are used to having control over their messaging, campaigns, and branding. And of course there is value in applying rigor to any marketing initiative; companies like to know that they have crafted a compelling message, and that it is being heard by the market as intended.

But in 2018, it’s impossible to manage everything that’s said about your organization—social media has seen to that. Smart companies are finding ways to turn that challenge into an opportunity, by leveraging the content that customers and partners create on their behalf.

It’s no secret that in today’s sharing economy, people like to offer their insights and expertise. So let them.

By embracing your most loyal followers, you can gain authenticity and reach; expand your support network; gain valuable insights into what prospects and other buyers want; be the first to identify market trends; and deepen existing customer and partner relationships.

Here are three reasons to embrace the new marketing reality:

1. Prospects and customers are more likely to trust information when it comes from a third party, especially one with experience with your products or services.

These days, buyers take marketing that comes straight from a vendor with a grain of salt. But get your customers involved, and people listen—especially if they already know and trust them through their existing networks and communities.

2. Power users can deliver valuable insight through reviews and feedback, but they can also help with FAQs and basic customer support issues. Don’t just rely on users to rate your products or talk them up on social sites.

That’s important, of course, but it can be just as valuable to have their help with basic customer support. Letting users contribute to FAQs, for instance, ensures your information is thorough and always up to date.

Although it may not always be pretty, the truth counts for more than varnished PR-speak. And if you pay attention to what’s being said, you can get valuable insight into where you need to make improvements or add services, delivering a clear competitive advantage.

3. In the B2B marketplace, knowledge and experience can pay huge dividends for employees. Consumers may like the rush they get from collecting “likes” and “shares,” but in the business world, being seen as an expert has measurable value.

Marketers can tap into that by identifying their best end-users (i.e., the people within your customer organizations who actually use your products day-to-day) and offering them status, a voice, and fun perks (product swag, alpha testing privileges, or even cold hard cash).

Doing so helps you grow your network and helps them gain clout within their own organizations.

This is a guest post from Melanie Turek, VP and Fellow at Frost & Sullivan. To hear more from Melanie, register for her upcoming webinar: Make Your Customers Your Partners.

 

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