You know that advocacy drives consideration and sales. That's not news.

Marketing-inspired consumer-to-consumer word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, according to McKinsey. Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate, says Deloitte. And CMOs see customer advocacy and loyalty as their top priority in the digital era, according to IBM.

Meanwhile, the growth of social makes for an even more compelling case: As digital communities grow in both size and influence, so does the need to go beyond the number of community members and into something more meaningful: driving true business through advocacy.

Which brings me to the headline at the top of this post: Sprinklr just announced the acquisition of Branderati, one of the leading advocacy and influencer marketing platforms on the market. This is Sprinklr's third acquisition in six months. (In February, it acquired Dachis Group. In, April it bought TBG Digital.) Clearly, Sprinklr is aiming to be a robust enterprise marketing solution.

It bought Branderati because family and friends are, of course, central to any purchase decision. "With 92% of consumers now trusting recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising, advocacy now must take a more central role—not only in marketing but also in the overall business strategy," said Ragy Thomas, CEO and founder of Sprinklr. "Branderati has unlocked the key to sustained brand advocacy at scale, and having their technology and know-how on board will mean big things for our clients."

So I talked to Ekaterina Walter, CMO of Branderati, who helped build the brand over the past year and who is now joining Sprinklr as "Global Evangelism Lead."

Ann: Sprinklr seems to be the first enterprise solution to add advocacy and influencer management to its platform. What's that about?

Ekaterina: On average, brands experience 10% reach across social platforms. With direct access to their advocate influencers, our clients have experienced as high as 68.5% social sharing engagement. Branderati's recruit-engage-measure approach allows for not only smart recruitment of the right ambassadors, and for creative and evergreen engagement with those ambassadors, but also in-depth business impact reporting.

Couple that with Sprinklr's campaign management and content creation, distribution, and optimization capabilities, and you take social engagement and advocacy to the next level.

Ann: But some of your competitors do that as well.

Ekaterina: Yes. But Branderati's approach is different. First, our screening technology captures API and self-reported data to align potential advocates with predefined profiles of ideal ambassadors. This technology is critical for any brand looking to create highly vetted advocacy networks at scale. By combining this screening process with the ability to identify candidates across moderation, social listening, and CRM, we will be delivering the most complete advocacy recruitment solution in the marketplace.

Second, from an engagement standpoint, we bring the ability to create entire members-only programs that are highly targeted and personalized to each ambassador. By combing this engagement platform with the larger campaign management and scheduling functions in Sprinklr, the platform becomes a unified command center for activation of advocates as well as the broader community.

Third, from a measurement standpoint, we provide very specific types of tracking data to track ambassadors' true impact. By bringing deep views of this insight into the main reporting suite of Sprinklr, we provide a single source for nearly your entire paid, owned, and earned social impact.

Ann: So where do you think advocacy is headed in the next few years? And, I guess, the question is also how does it fit into marketing more broadly?

Ekaterina: We believe that the ultimate measure of business success is relationship capital. Hence, the future is all about consumer experience management. Ragy's vision of reimagining the front office for today's C-suite reality is at the heart of everything Sprinklr does and will continue to do. Experience is what drives loyalty, and one cannot provide excellence experience if the organization is siloed and supported by a variety of legacy systems that don't talk to each other. Executives need end-to-end social business infrastructure to support their critical mission… not just to do social well but to truly be social.

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image of Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author who recently published Everybody Writes 2. She speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing. Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.