How To Involve Advocates in Product Development?
One doesn’t become a customer advocate overnight as it takes time, commitment, and resources to build and strengthen relationships with your customers. That’s a strategy that never fails. Happy customers are your hidden brand champions, so establishing quality relationships with them can change your business forever.
However, leveraging your customer advocate community is not as simple and straightforward as it might seem. You need a team of experienced marketers and advocacy specialists to maintain a relevant and effective line of communication with your customers. That includes, but not limited to challenging your clients, asking them for feedback, and connecting and engaging with them in ways that show your appreciation and care for your customers by exceeding their expectations.
This effort will translate into more sales referrals, better customer-oriented marketing as well as better products. By collecting valuable product feedback directly from your market allows you to gain actionable insights into your customers’ pain points, desires, and experiences by taking customer satisfaction to the next level. Due to their key insights, your business will flourish. In addition, your marketing and product development efforts will be aligned and significantly reduced. As a result, you will have the chance to improve your product and services at no extra cost.
There are many ways you can involve your customers into a new product development. Consider offering them a public platform where they can openly communicate. This way you can engage with them and ask to contribute valuable ideas throughout all the product development stages. Make them feel heard, powerful, and valued by involving them in new product features development through road map suggestions or by selecting them as beta testers.
By fostering a collaborative relationship and inviting your customers to co-create with you during the new product launches makes your advocates the early adopters what makes them even more vocal about it.
Be sure to thank your clients for offering their input. It can be done through the words of appreciation, reward points, as well as through the acknowledgment of not-so-positive feedback without a defensive behavior. Another way of showing your appreciation is by offering your clients invitations to special events, exclusive offers, certifications, discounts, or by putting in place face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders of your organization. Make sure to offer your clients a sneak peek into the new products or services and notify them of new releases that may fit their needs.
Key takeaways about how to involve advocates in product development:
- The social validation obtained directly from the customers shortens the product development cycle, allowing stakeholders to make decisions based on real data and with greater confidence.
- If you are aiming to get 5-star reviews that will influence and attract new customers – a positive product feedback is one of the most powerful business assets that will help to achieve that.
- Customer advocates are your secret weapon. By gathering their experience insights about your brand, product and service is one of the best strategies in achieving customer retention. Nurture your customers and stimulate them to co-create great products with you.
- By putting customer advocates at the forefront of product development, not only that will be instrumental in transforming your product development departments, but that will also turn your “sell and forget” business model into a customer-centric one.
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In the 21st century, growth means setting yourself apart, where countless others are jostling for elbow space – this is true whether you are an individual professional, a startup looking for funding, or a well-loved consumer brand in the market. This is where customer advocacy can help your brand.
Customer Advocacy Marketing, also known as customer references marketing or customer evidence marketing, is a marketing discipline that leverages your customers’ inclination to say good things about your products and services and uses it to empower you sales, marketing and product development.