Unlocking Customer Advocacy: Navigating Common Business Hurdles to Cultivate Brand Champions

April 4, 2024

I often get asked where one starts in building an advocacy initiative, and then comes the long list of issues they foresee being hurdles. I always have the same answer…you cannot control everything, you have to start somewhere and you can be the leader for the change needed.

So let’s dive in!

Fostering customer advocacy is crucial for businesses to thrive, as it involves creating loyal customers who actively and passionately promote and support the brand. However, achieving customer advocacy is not always straightforward and can come with various challenges. Here are some common obstacles I have seen businesses have, along with strategies to overcome them.

1. Lack of customer engagement.

If customers are not engaged with the brand or its products/services, they are less likely to advocate for it. This could be due to poor communication, uninteresting content, a lack of personalized experiences or all of the above.

Strategy to overcome:
Invest in building strong relationships with customers through personalized communication, relevant content, and interactive experiences. Utilize customer data and feedback to tailor offerings and communication to their preferences.

2. Negative customer experiences.

Negative experiences, whether due to product issues, poor customer service, or other factors, can significantly hinder customer advocacy efforts. Dissatisfied customers are unlikely to recommend the brand to others.

Strategy to overcome:
Prioritize customer satisfaction by delivering high-quality products/services and exceptional customer support. Address and resolve customer issues promptly and transparently, turning negative experiences into positive ones whenever possible. Implement feedback mechanisms to continuously improve and learn from customer interactions.

3. Lack of incentives.

Customers may not feel motivated to advocate for a brand if there are no incentives or rewards for doing so. Without tangible benefits, they may not see the value in actively promoting the business.

Strategy to overcome:
Implement a customer rewards program or loyalty scheme that incentivizes advocacy through discounts, exclusive offers, or other perks. Recognize and reward loyal customers for their support and referrals, fostering a sense of appreciation and reciprocity.

4. Inconsistent brand experiences.

Inconsistencies in the brand messaging, quality, or customer experience across different touchpoints can confuse or even alienate customers, undermining their trust and advocacy.

Strategy to overcome:
Ensure consistency in branding, messaging, and services delivery across all channels and interactions. Invest in employee training to uphold brand values and standards consistently, no matter what forum (remember we are in the age of meeting customers anywhere anytime), or through customer service channels.

5. Competitive market landscape.

In a highly competitive market, standing out and capturing customers’ attention can be challenging. You may even have the added complexity of competitors actively working to sway customers away from your brand.

Strategy to overcome:
Focus on building unique selling propositions (USPs) that differentiate your brand from competitors and resonate with your target audience. Emphasize the value proposition and benefits of choosing your brand over others. Additionally, invest in building strong relationships with customers to create a sense of loyalty and affinity that transcends competitive offers.

6. Limited resources.

Small businesses or startups may face resource constraints, making it difficult to allocate time, budget, or personnel to customer advocacy efforts.

Strategy to overcome:
Prioritize customer advocacy initiatives that offer the most significant potential return on investment (ROI) with the resources available. Leverage cost-effective strategies such as social media engagement, referral programs, and user-generated content to amplify advocacy. Additionally, consider outsourcing or automating certain tasks to optimize resource utilization.

By addressing these common challenges with targeted strategies and proactive measures, businesses can effectively foster customer advocacy and cultivate a base of loyal brand advocates who will contribute to your long-term success and growth.

Embark in your advocacy journey with confidence by taking on these actionable steps today! Begin by getting organized: ensure that the data you gather is stored efficiently for easy access when needed.

Next, connect with your internal teams to pinpoint known champions or potential advocates. Building these relationships early on will be crucial to your success.

Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out and start building a rapport with your customers. Remember, they’re just like you! A simple phone call or friendly hello can lay the foundation for lasting advocacy.

Together, let’s make a difference!

Unlocking customer advocacy: Navigating common business hurdles to cultivate brand champions

This is a guest blog by Jennifer Susinski, member of the Advocacy Mavens Coalition.

The Advocacy Mavens Coalition is an association of open for contracting customer-led professionals, each with extensive industry experience. We’re experts in building advocacy and community programs, designing experiences, running advisory boards, creating content, managing and migrating platforms, and more.

Our members are experienced advocacy marketing strategists, community and customer success managers, educators, designers, video producers, analysts, and technical consultants. Whatever your program goals, this coalition has you covered!

Want to hear more about our services? Drop us a note! https://bit.ly/amc-asks