Why You Must Rethink Your Marketing

How would your marketing change if your goal was to create advocates and not sales?

My brain cells began to ignite when I heard Steve Knox ask that question in the Brains on Fire FIRE Sessions last week.

Really stop and ask yourself that question: How would your marketing change if your goal was to create advocates and not sales? 

It’s not blasphemy – it’s brilliance. As Steve went on to explain, “advocates beget advocates,” (they capture the hearts and minds of others and the truth within your brand), and advocacy decreases acquisition costs and increases loyalty. Increased sales and profitability would be the natural result.

According to Steve, advocacy marketing is the new dimension of marketing that will transform how companies do business. No longer will brands advocate on their own behalf, as they have for the past 100 years.  People will be increasingly enabled to advocate on a brand’s behalf, and those people who we know and trust will become the most powerful advocates of all. 

What will be required for companies to be successful? Real relationships with people…people who will, in turn, become trusted advocates.  But it will all start with relationships with people.

We don’t talk about people much in marketing.  Instead, we talk about consumers and customers and shoppers and clients.  As Steve shared, we are on the verge of these words transforming to “people.”  Because if we want to create advocates we must first create relationships with people, which means we must treat them as people and talk about them as people and yes, alas, we must converse with them as people.

Kathy Sierra wrote a blog post five years ago detailing the results of a study in the Journal of Educational Psychology that showed when the brain thinks it’s in a conversation it will pay more attention and “hold up its end.”  She went on to explain that when you are reading something that is written in a conversational format your brain will register that it’s not in a face-to-face conversation but, because of the conversational tone, it will pay much more attention.  I suspect it will also - dare I imply it – be more likely to become engaged.

She ended her post with a truly brilliant line, “If your brain had a bumper sticker, it would say: I heart conversation.”

How many marketers are putting 2 and 2 together and recognizing that the most obvious and direct route to sales and profitability starts with conversations with individuals – who, at their core, love to converse - that lead to relationships that lead to advocacy?  And how many feel truly fortunate to be working in marketing today when it’s never been easier to start those conversations?

What’s even more exciting? Going a step beyond, as Brains on Fire is doing, and enabling advocates to amplify their passion and ignite movements. 

In an era of price pressures, private label products, global competition and rapid technological improvements to product features, a movement stands apart and cannot be replicated.  It is the competitive advantage that can’t be usurped…

I can think of a number of things I’d encourage my clients to do differently if they courageously asked themselves how they could refocus their energies on creating advocates rather than driving sales.

How about you?  Will you rethink your marketing?

Please share with me in the comments…

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Photo is Heart by Seyed Mostafa Zamani