Is it time for you to dive deeper into the creation and execution of your company’s overall business strategy?
In our groundbreaking report on Advanced Practices in Customer Advocacy and Engagement, we found that the most advanced firms are bringing advocacy managers into their strategy deliberations. In one case, the advocacy manager more or less invited herself into the deliberation and quickly made herself a valuable part of the strategy team!
Does this seem out of the norm to you? Believe it or not, customer advocacy managers are increasingly taking on more active roles in their firms’ strategies. And, this isn’t a trend that’s expected to slow down soon.
Aligning with, and helping to drive strategy is key to realizing the full potential of your customer advocates and influencers. <— Click to Tweet
In the eyes of many customer advocacy managers, why risk the company’s rapport with customers by breakdowns in communication or a lack of clarity?
Instead they’re pushing senior management for more clarity on important questions like:
- What kind of customers do we want?
- What stories do we want them to tell?
- Who are our marquee customers – the ones who wield outsized influence in our target markets, and whose passion for innovation will pull us toward our future?
- Which customer spokespeople do we need? C-level? Line of business? Implementation?
- What are the advocacy needs of marketing and sales in upcoming campaigns this year?
Let’s take Adobe for example. They’re in the midst of a major transformation from a product focus to a broader array of integrated strategic solutions for its customers.
Lisa Hanna, the firm’s global manager of customer programs worked directly with the executive vice president of worldwide field marketing operations and senior marketing and business unit leaders to get real, specific and validated answers to questions like the ones outlined above.
The result? Hanna was able to create a detailed strategy used to cultivate the right customer advocates for Adobe’s new direction. A direct line of communication was created for customers at the C-level in their corporate office, as well as the heads of relevant lines of business to talk about the broad solutions Adobe now emphasizes.
It didn’t stop there. Hanna remained very much involved in the actual execution of the new strategy as well. She requested important “air cover” from senior management throughout the strategy’s implementation.
For example, she was concerned that the business units would request references to tout their particular product lines, contrary to the new strategic direction. Senior management informed the BUs about the new regime and its focus on broad Adobe-wide solutions—which put a stop to the old requests.
Due to the phenomenal results Hanna was able to create, she and her team (and not PR or marketing) are now in-charge of setting priorities for the advocacy activities of the firm’s high-demand marquee customers.
With results like this, it’s no wonder more and more customer advocacy managers are rolling up their sleeves and heading down to the trenches themselves. Is it time for you to do the same?
Let me know in the comments below, what’s one way you’re heavily involved in your customer advocacy strategy?
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Source: Bill Lee