Advocacy Advertising, or advocacy marketing, can lead to viral marketing at its best
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Advocacy Advertising (Advocacy Marketing)

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How many times have you bought a product or used a service and have been so impressed, you tell everyone you know - your friends, family, work colleagues, fellow bus commuters, and anyone else who will listen?

Essentially, you are advocating for that brand, and in marketing terms, that is GOLD!

In a world where we are bombarded with all manner of electronic (and other) marketing flotsam and jetsam, when a friend, colleague or family member recommends your product or service, the chances are that recommendation will be far more effective.

Add to that, a good recommendation can go viral very quickly indeed. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as Advocacy Advertising, or Advocacy Marketing.

Real life example of (unsolicited) advocacy marketing

Tania Zaetta Tania Zaetta (@taniazaetta) recently tweeted whilst she was attending the Summa Field Dayze event on the Gold Coast.

She was amused by the fact that near the Vodafone marquee, people were complaining there was no mobile coverage, and that she was lucky she was with Telstra.

For a start, that does not bode well for Vodafone (negative advocacy perhaps, or as they say in Adelaide, "acrimonial"?). One might think Vodafone would have somehow pushed a magic button and ensured their service worked consistently, at least around their own VIP marketing marquee.

Finally, Tania came in with the killer comment, "Lucky I'm with Telstra". In other words, her mobile service on Telstra worked just fine.

I'm thinking Tania would not have made this comment several days ago, due to some poor phone customer service she received from Telstra. But their Twitter channel came to the rescue (read about it here), and that impressed her.

Advocacy Advertising

By the way, Tania tells me this was a legitimate comment, and not one of those "cash for comment" (Twomment?) celebrity tweets we've all heard about.

There were around 25,000 people in attendance at Summa Field Dayze, quit a lot of whom were trying to reach each other on their mobiles. It appears that those using the Vodafone Network had limited coverage, even around the Vodafone VIP marquee.

It's not a new concept

In his book published in 2004, "The Key Elements of Advocacy Marketing", Takashi Yamaoka (B.E., Osaka University) says:
Customer power is growing, and customers now have tools that inform them of the true state of affairs. This power enables them to avoid the pushy messages of marketers, make their own decisions, and determine what to buy.

A company advocates for its customers and earns their trust. It may not be a strategy for everyone, but innovative companies are following this path. The marketing paradigm is shifting from traditional push-based marketing to trust-based advocacy marketing. This research identifies and summarizes the key elements needed to create customer advocacy. It considers the following research questions:
  • What are the key elements to creating customer advocacy?
  • What means or types are there in each key element?
  • Which elements are influential on advocacy marketing in each company and industry?
Check out this fantastic video in which "Dave" explains advocacy advertising in a "blank" nutshell:



Now, if you want to read something really amusing, plus a good example of how negative advocacy advertising can be damaging, check out this brilliant cartoon by Mattew Inman (Oatmeal). Matt doesn't mention any particular company, but I'm sure you can insert any one of a number companies with which you've had a similar experience. Just be warned - the language is a little "blue" :-)

Go to the cartoon

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Rob - JustWeb

11.01.2010


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