Word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations are the currency of business success today. More than ever, they are key to establishing trust and building awareness. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services, making them a powerful resource to amplify your message.
Your organization needs brand advocates to build awareness and grow sales. Employees are often tapped to tout the brand. But for industries with distributed organizations – like banking, franchising and insurance – ad hoc referrals and recommendations are generally not sufficient to support branding and marketing objectives. These organizations rely on field personnel and partners to actively participate in campaigns and strategies at the local level.
How do you galvanize a diverse and distributed group of brand promoters – from branch managers and mortgage loan officers, to insurance agents and franchisees – to support your marketing campaigns? Here are some tips for using automation and marketing resource management systems to help turn your local brand advocates into active brand promoters.
1. Proactively manage campaign participation.
Set up campaigns in a system so your brand promoters can easily enroll. Ideally, make it possible for them to enroll once for a multi-touch campaign. Use a system with participation dashboards so you can easily monitor who is engaged. Send automated email reminders to those who have not enrolled or actively participated to increase engagement. And don’t forget to acknowledge good performance – email active brand promoters to thank them and make them feel valued for their participation.
2. Incentivize campaign participation.
Encourage enrollment in your campaign with an incentive. For example, if you’re a franchisor whose brand promoters are franchisees who are required to pay for some of their marketing, a great incentive is free marketing dollars. This is easy to execute with marketing resource management systems that enable you to provide the funds within the system.
In some cases, participation in your marketing campaigns may be mandatory. Here it can take a lot of effort by marketing to get materials distributed to everyone who needs them. Consider using systems that enable automated ordering on behalf of brand promoters. Systems that feature location or business profiles can specify approved types of materials and enable auto-filling of quantities. For example, bank branches, franchise locations or agent offices whose business profiles indicate locations with a specific number of windows receive the appropriate number of window clings to support a marketing campaign. Similarly, locations where there are restrictions on outdoor displays, will receive no outdoor banners. This results in less effort and waste, both for marketing and for your brand promoters.
These are just a few of the ways to use automation and marketing resource management to help activate your corps of brand promoters and keep them engaged in your campaigns. Have you used brand promoters or advocates to support your local marketing campaigns? We’d love to hear what tools and tactics have worked for you to engage your promoters at the local level.