The Next Step in Social: Beyond Listening & Engagement #SVAMA

I went to the Social Media Event at Adobe and, as usual, it was a great experience.

Great panel:

  • Maria Poveromo, Director of Social Media, Adobe Systems
  • Laura Messerschmitt, Senior Marketing Manager, Intuit
  • Susan Etlinger, Consultant, Altimeter Group
  • Rob Fuggetta, Founder & CEO, Zuberance
  • Moderator – Chris Arens, noted influencer, author and marketing/ad agency veteran

Very interesting questions, a mention of eCairn (Thanks Maria) and … I won a book “Marketing Thought” (Alex Littlewood).

Back to the conference. It is clear that brands do more than listening, and actually engage and activate their brand advocates. There were lots of discussions on the differences between Facebook fans and Advocates which clearly are different people. And ROI in social media, the usual suspect. (Altimeter will provide a free e-book shortly).

Laura explained how Intuit engaged, by calling them one by one , its advocates to improve the reviews of Quickbook in the Amazon review section along with the positive ROI that resulted in this program. The reviews were pretty bad initially and were hurting sales.

And the overall  agreement is that we are moving from listening to engagement to advocacy.

However, the discussion is still too “social media” and not “marketing” enough to me, and there are three aspects which are way underestimated in the advocacy picture.

1. Relevance

Non relevant advocates can be detrimental to brands.  Take me as an example: I don’t qualify to make recommendation about baseball, even if I enjoy the Giants victory last year. On the other end, as a French living in the Bay Area, I am quite influential and efficient in recommending a bakery (Mayfield Cafe in Palo Alto is the best in town. They should give a discount to people asking for their baguette in French, put them on Youtube and maybe give a free lemon tart for each 1000 views…).

I  like the SF Giants ( 1M fans)  and the Mayfield Cafe ( 2 fans including me). They could  give them a 8-9 Net promoter score and I freely talk positively about them but frankly the SF Giants may be better off if I just shut up.

2. Segmentation

Segmentation and building a differentiated value proposition per segment is the core of marketing.   Advocates have to  align to the brand segmentation and messaging otherwise putting the entire marketing strategy at risk. This is done by carefully selecting advocates who deeply network and engage in the target communities.  As per Jaffe Juice, “Communities is the new Demographic” so if you want to market to fitness moms, use fitness moms as your preferred advocates.

3. Message

Even if an advocate is relevant,  knowledgeable and in the right community. She/He may still send the wrong message.

Take us (eCairn) again. We are and want to be known as the best software when it comes to mapping tribes and identifying relevant influencers.

It is absolutely critical that clients/ partners that recommend us do it for this exact reason. If the recommendation does not convey the value proposition then,  these well intentioned advocates will bring to our doors referrals who would be better served by competitors (Radian6 like) and this would just damage our business ratios.

Your purple cow has to stay purple in the words of your advocates.

The net is that brands should build and manage their advocate programs as media program with:

  • Target
  • Media selection (who is in the best position to deliver the message)
  • Message

As with many social program, this puts the emphasis on more strategy and some level of control – thru leadership – in the execution.


3 thoughts on “The Next Step in Social: Beyond Listening & Engagement #SVAMA

  1. Great summary and was nice to have seen you there! Congrats on winning the book. I wonder if “passion” is another good measure. Would someone be a better advocate if they are highly relevant and highly passionate about brand x versus brand y? Sharon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *