The one word that will instantly improve your demand generation.

One word

For many companies working hard to grow, the focus on demand generation can’t be understated. It’s the engine that is driving growth (or supposed to be). Where once marketing was dominated by branding and creative, today the focus has shifted to attracting and converting new customers. And that charge is being led under the very comprehensive banner of Demand Generation that includes everything from email marketing, performance marketing, webinars, events – anything that will drive new prospects to the door.

And what’s the single most potent ingredient in the demand generation mix? Customers. Today’s demand generation requires you to tell your story through your customer’s stories. After all, it’s their voice that resonates with audiences, not yours. Simply stated, they don’t want to hear you tell them how you can help them, they want to hear the experiences of people like them, people who are trying to solve the same problems.

What do you call those customers who are willing to join you on a webinar, be a reference, participate in a case study or give you a testimonial? Ah, yes: Advocates. Your secret weapon to growth is right in front of you, ready and willing to help if only you were serious about them.

Let’s say that again. Your customers’ stories are your greatest asset in demand generation, and they’re largely willing to help you. But to reap the rewards you have to be serious about them.

So, you ask, how do I make this happen? How can I get my advocates to, well, advocate for me?

Thankfully, the answer to that question is relatively straightforward. The trick is, you have to put in a bit of work before you make the ask and it requires a shift in mindset from a series of transactional interactions (think: customer service) to nurturing a long-term relationship (customer success). That said, it’s not nearly as difficult as it may seem.

  • Ask for feedback about how you’re doing, and what you could be doing better. Net Promoter Score is a great way to measure and track customer happiness and identify advocates who could help tell your story.
  • Ask for insight and guidance. Your customers want to help you succeed (otherwise, they wouldn’t be a customer) and have a unique perspective into your business strategy, operations and delivery; their business plans that could help you expand your relationship; and market trends that can help keep you competitive. Forming a Customer Advisory Board is a great way to tap into this hugely valuable resource, while at the same time cultivating built-in advocates. Lots of upside for everyone with a CAB!
  • Make them a star. Everyone wants to be in the spotlight, or at least wants to bolster their image as an industry thought leader. Inviting customers to tell their story and share best practices – while telling your story in the process – is a great way to motivate advocacy.

Harnessing advocates can help fuel demand generation and provide a level of credibility that companies simply don’t have on their own. Agree / Disagree? I’d love to hear your experiences and perspectives.