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Engage_Executives_advocates_Influitive

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ENGAGING
EXECUTIVE
ADVOCATES
When designing and running any effective and engaging marketing program or
campaign, it’s key to know who your audience is ...
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ADVOCACY
When considering implementing an advocate marketing program, an objection that
many marketers h...
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  1. 1. ENGAGING EXECUTIVE ADVOCATES
  2. 2. When designing and running any effective and engaging marketing program or campaign, it’s key to know who your audience is and speak their language, so to speak (pardon the pun). Most companies have already developed personas to help them better understand, market and sell to their buyers. But they often stop there. What about existing customers, partners and employees who have not only already invested in a relationship with your company, but who have also become enthusiastic advocates for your brand? BUYER PERSONAS VS. ADVOCATE PERSONAS Developing a framework with which to better understand your advocates is just as important as understanding your potential buyers – especially if you’re going to invite them into an advocate marketing program. While there are often some similarities among these personas, what motivates someone to buy isn’t the same as what motivates them to advocate for your brand over the long-term. ARE YOU TALKIN’ TO ME? 1
  3. 3. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ADVOCACY When considering implementing an advocate marketing program, an objection that many marketers have is: “That sounds great and all, but my customers, partners or employees would never do that.” Those marketers are wrong. Here’s why: It’s simply human nature to advocate for things you love, whether they’re restaurants, movies, smartphones or enterprise business-to-business software. People become advocates because they’re hardwired to connect with others, establish relationships and build social capital. WHO ARE YOUR ADVOCATES AND WHAT MAKES THEM TICK? Beyond human nature, however, there are unique qualities among individual advocate types that marketers must take into consideration. What motivates and engages an executive in an advocate marketing program is likely to be very different from what will appeal to a marketer or a salesperson, for example. Understanding the persona(s) you are targeting with your program and the individual activities within it can help you design invitations, challenges, rewards, and messaging that appeal specifically to that audience, generating higher levels of engagement. Here, we’ll look at executives, what defines that persona, and how to position your message to address the key challenges they face. More and more companies are starting to build advocate marketing programs within their organizations to mobilize their customers and other fans to write glowing product reviews, provide genuine referrals, recommendations and references, and participate in content creation and social conversations. COMING SOON: HOW TO ENGAGE… • Project Managers • Consultants • Educators • And more! Sign up now to receive more information about what motivates your advocates as it is released. 2
  4. 4. Ambition, balance, and motivation to grow. These are three qualities that are almost always found in an executive. While an executive’s experience will vary depending on the industry they work in, they often have similar traits. ENTJ, ALL THE WAY The well-regarded Myers-Briggs personality type indicator pegs executives as a clear-cut part of the “ENTJ” group, which means they tend to rank high in extraversion, intuition, thinking, and judging. They are natural-born leaders. YIN TO MY YANG It’s all about balance for executives—which is a quality that makes them suited for managerial positions. According to a study conducted by the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology in Chester by psychologists from OPP Ltd., senior executives are highly emotionally invested in their work, yet experience the least amount of stress compared to others in managerial positions. That’s because they have a greater balance over the demands of their job, and are in control of the work environment. NOT ONE IN THE SAME Interestingly, while an executive’s personality can vary depending on situation, company history, size, industry, and tenure, traits like independence, dominance, and confidence are either there to begin with, or adopted in order to cope with demands of the role, reports the aforementioned study. THE EXECUTIVE PERSONA 3
  5. 5. THREE KEY MOTIVATING FACTORS PERSONAL GROWTH: They want to push their career forward, climb up the proverbial corporate ladder, and broaden and deepen their skill set and expertise. CORPORATE GROWTH: In order for an executive to be perceived as a success, his or her organization must be successful. This means executives are in constant pursuit of new ways to improve their company. They tend to consult with other leaders and reputable resources to uncover new insights on how to generate more value for stakeholders. EMPLOYEE GROWTH: Executives like to nurture and develop their teams and know who the key contributing members are. They also want to have a positive impact on others. Russell Reynolds Associates, a New York-based executive leadership and research firm, analyzed nearly 4,000 executive assessments, including more than 130 CEOs, and found that team building is a big part of what makes up the typical CEO, including traits like being an efficient reader of people, pragmatically inclusive, and willing to trust. 4 “They are more interested in status and visibility, and also more closely aligned with their company’s overall business objectives. DAVIN WILFRID Marketing Manager at Intuit “They like to speak with other executives, generally. They want to speak broadly at a high-level. Never match executives with an administrator who’s in the weeds. They dislike hearing about day-to-day operations and minute details. SPENCER DUNCAN North America Reference Coordinator at Ceridian HCM “ “
  6. 6. “Authority and leadership is what separates influential executives from the pack. Focus on their pain points, needs, and aspirations—not yourself. That’s the most effective way to build trust with them. “ JEFF VANCE Head of Marketing Strategy at Aryaka 5 MULTITASKERS EXTRAORDINAIRE Leading a team doesn’t necessarily mean exerting control, or throwing out a team of micro managers. But it does mean having a hand, or at least knowledge, of everything that’s going on in the company. And that means executives are exceedingly busy. Someone is always knocking at the door, calling on the phone, or buzzing in via e-mail looking for answers, insight, and directions. Their time is precious, and very carefully budgeted and planned. “Never overestimate the amount of time they will devote to listening to you,” says Davin. “They won’t read anything longer than 200 words with no bullets, and they won’t wade through the fluff to find the point of your content. You have to give it to them quickly in plain English.” That said, executives are also multitaskers extraordinaire, so they can handle more than the average Joe. Ensure your program helps them grow personally, drives value for their business, or helps advance members of their team. Remember, anything that helps improve their company will reflect well on them, too. And they know this. KEY CHALLENGES AND HOW TO ADDRESS THEM
  7. 7. “It’s all about the bottom line for them—revenue growth, cost savings/avoidance, and return on investment. You have only a few seconds to get your point across, so make a strong story using metrics.“ LIZ PEDRO Director, Customer Success Marketing at Mitel 6 MAKE IT QUICK That said, time is still one of the most valuable factors in an executive’s day. So make challenges quick and easy, and ensure they require minimal commitment. Think about it this way: when an executive responds to an e-mail, is it more often with a three- paragraph diatribe, or a short, to-the-point one-liner? Chances are it’s the latter. Let them do the same when participating; cut through the fat, and just give them the lean meat. THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH Other personas may get giddy at the idea of winning a gift card or hot new tech toy. But executives are seldom influenced by such rewards. They are looking for far more abstract and less tangible things—resources or opportunities for them to enhance their professional toolkit or their network, or other experience-driven rewards, like lunch with a known industry expert. If they want a coffee, they’ll buy a coffee. Give them something money can’t buy.
  8. 8. 7 SHOW HOW TO GROW As noted, executives are focused on growth—their own, their company’s, and that of their team. As long as your advocacy program can clearly show how participation will assist on this front, it’ll be successful. SAVE THE HYPERBOLE An executive doesn’t care for over-exaggerated marketing jargon. Cut to the chase, be clear and concise, and respect the value of their time. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely wooden, but keep the fun portions easy to get through. Bottom line: keep it simple. POSITIONING “Executives have a short attention span, so you have to be smart with that first level of engagement. Once you have their attention, it’s all gravy from there. “ KEVIN LAU Senior Customer Retention Marketing Manager at Netbase
  9. 9. CURATE SOME CONTENT Act like a content aggregator for industry-specific items that they might want to read or comment on. If you can help them establish themselves as a leader in their field, they’ll be appreciative. This might include everything from relevant blog posts, to reports or forum discussions. STROKE THE EGO Executives like to be heard, and like to know that they are being heard. “Executives love doing surveys and giving candid feedback,” says Kevin. If they provide you with valuable feedback on your products and services, make sure they know how you are incorporating their suggestions. Give them exclusive access to beta releases and let them vote on your next features. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH Why would customer executives participate in your program if your own executives aren’t? Nilesh Surana, Marketing Manager at Aryaka Networks, says that CXOs usually view marketers as sales people—and not as great sources of information. This is why getting your higher ups active in your program will boost your credibility and encourage customer executives to join in. Once they see that other execs are on board, they’ll be more likely to interact. “Focus on building long-term relationships with executives—not hitting short-term engagement goals.“ NILESH SURANA Marketing Manager at Aryaka Networks 8
  10. 10. Respecting an executive’s busy schedule is a challenge. However, they will make time to participate in your advocate marketing program if you provide enough value and demonstrate growth potential. “Always let them know what’s in it for them and their organization. They aren’t likely to move unless you give them a reason to,” says Davin. You’ll have to get creative with rewards, too. These aren’t tangible gifts that you can pick up at the local shop. You’ll need to put on your thinking cap to come up with creative rewards they’ll be excited to receive. But strike the right chord, and your advocacy program will make it to the ‘Favorites’ bar of that busy exec. CHALLENGES 9 Facilitate mentorship and coaching relationships through your advocate marketing program. Share interesting content that is relevant to the C-levels’ interests and the challenges they face.
  11. 11. 10 Position your program as a place of learning. Give executives early access to relevant and interesting content, and encourage them to showcase their expertise in discussions. Give executives exclusive access to beta releases and ask them for product improvement ideas. Executives are generally keen on influencing your roadmap. Pro-tip: Include asks directly in blog posts or other web pages. This will make executive advocates’ participation quick and seamless. (This example uses Influitive’s AdvocateAnywhere tool.)
  12. 12. Influitive’s AdvocateHub is a complete advocate management platform that helps B2B marketers capture customer enthusiasm, and use it to turbocharge marketing and sales efforts. With AdvocateHub, B2B marketers build advocate communities where customers, fans and evangelists can complete “challenges” like referrals, reference calls, product reviews and much more. Now that you know more about what motivates executives to advocate for your company, it’s time to take action with Influitive’s powerful advocate marketing software. VISIT INFLUITIVE.COM TO LEARN MORE INVITE, MOBILIZE AND RECOGNIZE YOUR ADVOCATES

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