Don't Just Relate — Advocate - PCC - ebook

Traditional "push/pull" marketing no longer works. Even highly-touted customer relationship initiatives are failing. Smart companies are pioneering an entirely new route to higher margins and sustainable competitive advantage: customer advocacy. This book reveals how it works, why it works, and how to make it work for your company.   In today's environment, you must build unprecedented trust among customers who have more information, options, and sophistication than ever. You must transcend "relationship marketing" to focus on maximizing customer interests and deepening customer partnerships. It's not easy. But if you do it, you gain immense opportunities your competitors simply can't touch.   Glen Urban offers a complete blueprint for getting there. You'll learn how to improve on all eight elements of customer advocacy, from transparency to partnership. Urban answers frequently asked questions about advocacy strategies, helping you identify and overcome your most significant obstacles. Then, drawing on new case studies, he shows how to align culture, metrics, incentives, and organization, driving effective advocacy throughout your entire organization.

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The best way to grow your business today is not to become better at marketing. Instead, learn how to become an advocate for your customers. If you can earn and then retain your customers' trust, they will do more business with you in the future and will feel comfortable about encouraging their friends and associates to do likewise.

To genuinely act as an advocate, don't just try and sell customers your own products and services. Instead, find out their actual needs and then sell them whatever is most appropriate, even if that means they end up buying the products or services offered by one of your direct competitors.

Customer power is growing exponentially—thanks to the unprecedented rise of the Internet—and you have to decide what to do about it. As customers get more data with which to make informed decisions, you can either build trust by embracing advocacy strategies or you can follow other firms who do this. If you don't take the plunge and use advocacy advantageously, you will end up being an imitator as more and more markets become dominated by customer advocacy.

Acting as your customer's advocate is the new imperative of the business world.

Key Thoughts

“Evidence is building that the paradigm of marketing is changing from the push strategies suited to the last 50 years of mass media to relationship marketing and now to advocacy-based strategies. The new age of customer power drives this shift. Managers need to decide where their firm should be in the spectrum from push/pull to advocacy. There are advantages to being a first mover in this strategy space because when customers develop trust based on advocacy with a particular firm, they are not likely to quickly switch to a competitor. I predict advocacy will increasingly become the norm of behavior in the next ten years as the new paradigm becomes established and firms meet the threat(and opportunity)of growing customer power. This is a blueprint to profits in the era of customer power."

Glen Urban

The Advocacy Concept

Advocacy means you faithfully represent your customer's interests and provide them with honest information, even if that means they end up buying products from someone else. It requires that you have transparency and engage in a dialogue with customers. Advocacy also demands you invest more in product development and less in promotion and advertising.

The availability of the Internet as an information source has substantially enhanced customer power in five specific areas:

1. Customers can now access independent information about your products and services —meaning they are more likely to find out what other people are saying about you. At least 64 percent of all new car buyers research models, features and prices before they ever set foot in a dealership.

2. Customers can now find viable alternatives readily —meaning they increasingly look for the best deals rather than simply those that are closest at hand. Search engines, comparison sites and marketplaces like eBay make finding loads of competing products simple and straightforward.

3. Commercial transactions and shipping are becoming more simplified —meaning more customers are comfortable buying products and services from anywhere in the world. This also makes it easier for customers to switch from one supplier to another with a minimum of fuss. Consumers can buy an almost infinite range of goods without even leaving their homes through the Internet.

4. There is an increasing amount of communication between customers —meaning prospective customers can find out how you treat your customers before they decide to buy. Sites like and make it easy for past customers to rate your products and your service. This has the effect of amplifying word-of-mouth style marketing.

5. Customers are becoming more confident