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Three Truths and One Lie About Brand Advocates

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Lately, everyone’s talking about brand advocates---who they are, what makes them tick, and how to turn them into a virtual marketing force for your brand.

But how much do you know about brand advocates?

Here are three facts and one falsehood about brand advocates.

1. About 50% of customers are advocates.

True. On average, about 50% of consumers and business buyers say they’re highly likely to recommend the companies they do business with or products they’ve purchased, a recent Zuberance surveys shows. That includes companies in low-passion categories, such as antivirus software.



2. Advocates are more influential than influencers.

True. 92% of consumers trust word of mouth, but only 18% trust bloggers, according to Nielsen. In nearly every product category---cars, computers, housewares, software, and smart phones---peer recommendations drive purchase decisions. A positive blog post from an influencer may create a temporary spike in buzz or sales, but nothing is more influential or lasting than customer recommendations.

3. Advocates are your most effective marketers.

True. An example: Parallels, which provides software for running Windows on Macs, got a stunning 30% sales conversion rate when its advocates shared testimonials and promotional offers, such as the one below, with their friends. That is about 50 times higher than online conversion rates for traditional marketing.


4. You have to pay or provide incentives for advocates' recommendations.

False. Brand advocates make recommendations because they’ve had a great experience with brands (49%) and want to help others (41%), according to a study by Loyalty Wins for Zuberance. Only 1% of advocates said they offered recommendations because of incentives and rewards.




So, is your company using brand advocates?




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Rob Fuggettais founder and CEO of Zuberance, a Brand Advocate Platform company, and author of the new book, “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force,” (Wiley, 2012.)

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