The reality of today’s crowded and noisy retail landscape is that a brand’s message, its marketing pitch to shoppers, often falls on deaf ears. Why? Mainly because consumers are more motivated to make a purchase when a product or service is recommended to them by a friend vs by the brand itself. This is where advocate marking comes in.

Advocate marketing identifies your best customers, nurtures and incentivizes them to be more vocal about their experiences with your brand, and gives them an easy way to share their positive sentiments across social channels.

Around 80% of shoppers perform some form  of research online before buying, and having peers and fellow consumers publicly advocate for your brand gives these shoppers the trust indicators they need to convince others to buy. Here are the 5 reasons advocate marketing is vital to any marketing strategy:

It builds brand awareness
Traditional brand awareness initiatives are time consuming and expensive, but advocate marketing offers a powerful alternative, in that you can turn your happy customers into brand advocates. Happy customers are often already talking about your products with friends and family and sharing their experiences on social media. They may also participate in online discussions and become part of industry-relevant discussions – promoting your brand for free. These activities help to put your brand in front of an audience of customers who were previously unfamiliar with you. Advocate marketing offers a way to spur more participation in these types of activities and channel this participation into sales.

It helps brands cut through the noise
Every organization tries to attract new customers – to do so they are publishing content, creating campaigns, and connecting with customers through email, social media, and traditional advertising. This constant bombardment has created a very noisy advertising space. That’s why, according to PageFair, ad blocking has grown 41% in the last year.

In an environment where customers ignore traditional messaging, brands need new channels and types of content to break through. Advocate marketing enables companies to collect high value content such as customer reviews and pictures. The difference between this type of content and traditional content is reviews and customer-generated pictures offer a level of relatability and authenticity that customers are looking for.

According to Nielsen, 66% shoppers trust the opinions of fellow consumers.

It quells customer hesitance and boosts confidence in the brand
Advocacy works because people are more likely to trust their peers over a brand trying to sell them a product. Even when you break through clutter with a strong advertising message, customers are naturally skeptical of anything a brand is communicating directly.

In the midst of all the noise, positive sentiments from customers can have significantly more impact than any typical marketing campaign could hope to. Referrals from friends, family members and even from strangers can put customers at ease and push them a step closer towards purchase. Consider, for example, the power of product reviews.

And according to Nielsen, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family – in other words, almost anybody but you.

It’s more cost effective than traditional marketing
Frederick Reichheld, author of The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits and Lasting Value, says that brand advocates outspend non-advocates four to one and on average offer 24% more profitability for brands than regular customers.

Implementing advocate marketing and fostering brand advocacy is a more cost effective strategy than many traditional marketing tactics-because you are leveraging customers that already have first-hand experience with your product or service and turning them into powerful marketers will help you increase your social reach and boost brand awareness.

Furthermore, brand advocates are likely to refer like-minded friends who may be interested in your products. Even if the advocates don’t generate an immediate sale, you’re now targeting people who are just like your best customers-resulting in higher percentage of conversions. This is the most cost-effective way to widen customer reach at a lower cost of acquisition.

It increases customer engagement and ultimately revenue
According to a recent study by Rosetta, highly engaged consumers spend an average of 97% more and purchase 94% more frequently than customers with lower engagement levels.

Advocate marketing offers brands a reason to reach out to customers beyond just sharing new products and deals, and helps boost engagement throughout a customer’s lifetime.

By connecting with customers, asking for honest feedback, and showing appreciation for their posts on social media, brands build a strong rapport with customers that increase engagement and ultimately boosts revenue.

We’ve laid out why advocate marketing is good for your brand. In our next blog post, we’ll address how to implement