What is customer advocacy?

I’ve been doing some work with a tech company in silicon valley, helping them to review and improve their customer reference program. I’ve interviewed a number of people around the organization, and every person that I speak to has a different take on what constitutes a customer reference.

When I’m planning a new system, I use three different terms:

Customer Advocacy: A programmatic approach to using the positive experience of your customers to support your sales and marketing activities through references and evidence. In some programs, Customer Advocacy is also extended to deal with neutral and negative customers – aiming to convert neutrals into promoters, and negatives to neutrals.

Customer Reference: Using a customer’s time to discuss the benefits that they gained from the product/service. This may include a visit from a prospective customer, a phone call, press interview, analyst call or conference appearance.

Customer Evidence: This is the recorded material that results from a customer agreeing to be a reference. This may include logo use, quote, case study, video, podcast etc.

Why do I separate them in this way? Mainly because references and evidence are typically managed by different groups of people. References are typically controlled by the sales organization, and evidence is typically owned by marketing (with the blessing of sales).

If you’re producing a system to support your customer advocacy efforts you should start by definining which types of advocacy you want to manage. 

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One Response to “What is customer advocacy?”

  1. Where do you hang out? « marketing and technology Says:

    […] marketing and technology The musings of a marketing technology consultant « What is customer advocacy? […]

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