Influencer Marketing vs. Advocate Marketing: Understanding The Difference

  • Alen BubichFebruary 6 2018
The terms "influencer marketing" and "advocate marketing" what does it mean - and what makes sense for your company?

What’s the difference between influencer and advocate marketing?

The terms “influencer marketing” and “advocate marketing” more or less amount to the same thing: a third party (or multiple third parties) advocates for your product or service, to some degree or another. However, these two marketing methods are vastly different, as they leverage different resources.

Each also has specific best uses, so you’ll find that one tends to be better suited to your businesses’ marketing needs depending on your product or service.

We’ll go over the differences between the two, as well as how to tell which is better for you.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is leveraging the power of an influencer in order to promote your brand, product or service. Bear in mind that this is different than mere endorsement in some aspects, though an endorsement CAN be considered influencer marketing.

An influencer is a person that is well-respected, knowledgeable and is otherwise considered a thought-leader in a particular field. This is much different than merely being famous. Kim Kardashian, for instance, is very famous. However, she doesn’t know the first thing about astrophysics. (Or at least isn’t known to be; she may be for all anyone knows.) Therefore, she isn’t a very good person to solicit a peer review of a paper on, say, comet trajectories.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, however, is an expert on astrophysics. Were he to endorse a person’s research on comets, that would be beneficial. He is well-known and at that, a well-known authority on astrophysics.

In other words, influencer marketing is getting someone who is an expert in your particular field to endorse your product or service. A mere celebrity endorsement can simply be bought; an influencer typically won’t give their endorsement unless they find your product or service to be useful.

Influencer marketing leverages the reputation of an existing expert in the field you operate in, often by mentions on social media or elsewhere, which raises awareness of your brand and – implicitly or explicitly – some of the trust that people have in the influencer that broadcast it.

Advocate Marketing

By contrast, advocate marketing leverages knowledge of the product, service or brand…but does so from the bottom up rather than from the top down.

Advocate marketing uses people with direct experience with your brand, product or service and gets them to tell their stories in order to spread the word about your company. Typically, advocate marketing takes place on social media networks, review sites and anywhere else it would take place.

In other words, you’re relying on word of mouth but in an organized manner and using 21st century tools.

Note that this is different than generating paid reviews. Paid reviews are dishonest, and furthermore are almost always found out in the end. Instead, advocacy marketing leverages the voice of your customers in order to better promote your business…and it is effective. A small increase in advocacy can lead to substantial growth in revenues.

With advocacy marketing, you encourage your customers to tell people about you, what you did for them and what you have to offer. Your social media and sales teams also reward them for doing so, recognizing their contributions and/or offering incentives like discounts and so on. This fosters genuine connection between your company and the public.

You leverage your existing customers to bring in new customers, and turn existing customers into repeat customers. Your sales team will also be in more direct contact with new and existing customers, which can help move a lot more people down the sales funnel.

Should I Use Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool, but it has to be deployed in the right way to be effective. It’s also much harder to measure the impact of, so it’s much harder to calculate a truly accurate ROI. After all, it may be impossible to distinguish a conversion or sale that happened after an influencer mention organically, without any influence from the influencer, and someone that converted or bought because of the influencer’s recommendation.

So, when does influencer marketing make the most sense?

It’s best use is in raising awareness of your brand, a new product or service. In other words, it’s for when you want to get noticed. However, Influencer mentions in and of themselves cannot be the whole of your product or service’s selling points; it doesn’t matter if you can’t retain customers.

When Should I Use Advocate Marketing?

When should you be using advocate marketing?

All day, every day.

If you’re looking to build a lasting business, and keep a brand strong in the mind of the buying public, people who haven’t found out about you yet are going to trust other people more than some “expert” or blogger that talks about you. They’ll trust someone they know even more implicitly.

You can learn a whole lot more about advocate marketing, influencer marketing and so much more from Social HP’s resources page, which will give you everything you need to know about this and other aspects of social selling.

Influencer Marketing And Advocacy Marketing Are Great Tools

In other words, influencer marketing is a tool that gets you not only noticed, but noticed by someone who really knows the ins and outs of what it is you do. Advocacy marketing is a tool that gets the end user to influence other people to become end users themselves.

It’s like car company getting a race car driver to talk about the new car said company made. Race drivers usually know cars really well and they know performance. That endorsement will get people to look at your company’s new model. However, you also want customers to be satisfied and telling their friends, family and social networks that they love that new whip they have parked outside. That can get other people to buy one.

Advocate marketing, if you haven’t guessed already, is a method of social selling, and it happens to be one that Social Horsepower excels at. If you’re interested in leveraging advocacy marketing to better build your brand and cement your business as a sales powerhouse, contact us! We’ll start with a conversation about the kind of great strides you’re interested in taking to get take your company from a major player to an institution.

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