How Customer Advocacy Impacts Marketing Strategy – Alan McNab
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How Customer Advocacy Impacts Marketing Strategy – Alan McNab

Erik: What is customer advocacy and why is
it so important to marketing? Alan: The power of a reference, right, is
indispensable. The ability for one customer to stand up and take a stand for you, right,
as a suppler and say, ‘These guys, you know are great.’ You can’t put a price on that
from a marketing perspective. And so customer advocacy, where customers are advocating for
you, is ultimately a great place to be. I think there’s more. I think there’s things
that go beyond advocacy, like building trust is critical. Obviously you don’t have advocacy
unless they trust you, but I think that’s a big, big part of what customer advocacy
is about really making sure the customers are delighted with your product, and in fact
they are prepared to take a stand for you. Erik: Yeah. How do you build a customer advocacy
program? Alan: You take care of customers, you know?
And you take care of customers obviously during the good times and also during the bad times.
And I’ve spent a fair amount of my career working with great service organizations who
do it very well and I’ve also spent time with many, many companies who do it very,
very badly. And so you know the difference. We know the difference ourselves, in terms
of when we great service verses when we get ignored, and so to that extent I know that
feeling and that’s the type of company that I want to work for. Really people who want
to take care of customers. Erik: How do you use your marketing strategy
experience in the customer advocacy work that you do? Alan: So, strategy, as you say at NCR, ‘Without
a plan is a fantasy’, right? So, in terms of what we’re doing at NCR today in terms
of marketing strategy, we’re very much – marketing is really about conveying the promise of the
company. It does have to be positioned to the extent that it’s got to be competitive,
it’s got to be different – in our market in particular, right, we have very, very slow
growth. We’re anticipating next year perhaps having two to three percent growth, and that’s
actually fighting what we would call erosion, where customers come in and request for deep
discounts, and we have to compete, right, for renewal – renewing business. So to that
extent having a very, very powerful offer is fundamental, right? I think what happens
is that companies don’t articulate a powerful message and then they get into the business
of spin, and people can read through that very, very quickly. Erik: How does that connect to customer advocacy? Alan: Customer advocacy ultimately is about
finding those customers that will in fact provide a testimonial and then linking them
to the marketing organization so that we can take advantage of those.

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