By Lauren Fenthum

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New trends and movements are constantly challenging the world of marketing. Customers are constantly bombarded by endless options and thousands of advertisements a day. You would think with the more options available to you the better opportunity you have to explore the best options out there? But this is simply not the case, the markets are becoming too crowded and consumers are facing the problem of having too much choice. This causes complications for marketers. This is where Advocate Marketing cuts through the noise. But what is it?

Now more than ever in marketing history, people are turning to their friends, online reviews and research instead of traditional advertising methods, when looking to buy something new. Advocate marketing helps you formalize the notion of independent buying behaviour. Advocate marketing can be looked at (in simpler terms) when asking a friend for a restaurant recommendation, both of you are hungry and will spend the next few minutes deciding on where to eat. Advocate marketing comes in handy in this situation for example, where instead of going back and forth about the different restaurant choices, you are able to read other reviews on apps such as Yelp and FaceBook, and all of a sudden your problem has become a little bit easier to solve.

Advocate marketing is not just beneficial for buyers but for companies too, companies can use advocate marketing to gain new customers, increase revenue, boost brand awareness and even gain valuable customer feedback and insights. Advocates come in the form of any person, from any industry, with any title. The most important thing to remember is that advocates need to align with your companies mission and understand the product or service that you are providing in order to sell your business to future prospective clients. This is also a cost-effective way of getting advertising done, as you are not paying the customers to review your business, they are doing it on their own terms.

Just how important is advocate marketing?  A recent survey found that 89% of purchase decisions are made after being influenced by a friend, word of mouth review or online research. This means that despite having a highly qualified sales team to sell to potential clients, if there aren't positive reviews or if your friends haven't tried it first, the sale probably won't happen without a recommendation. Just like it shouldn't take you hours to decide on a restaurant, it shouldn't take hours of research and adverts to influence a buyer's decision. By teaming up with your loyal customers and brand supporters, you can guarantee that you will start hitting goals and increasing brand exposure into your existing customer base. Find out what motivates your advocates and offer them a way to advocate on your behalf, it's as simple as that! Advocate marketing allows you to reach a wider audience through trusted sales and lets you partner with your best customers and supporters, whilst lowering your cost per acquisition. This is an ideal strategy for small businesses with limited budget allocation for marketing strategies.
BluWave Software

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