Is your brand advocacy program a non-starter? Have you been re-creating it forever. I know of a couple of companies who had this issue. They have fans who like them. They have advocates who write blog posts covering their products, or people writing how to guides, however, the program is going no where.
The brand advocates in the program are not clear of what they are really supposed to do as part of the program, and the brand advocacy program managers are themselves unclear and frustrated not knowing what to do and how to motivate their advocates.
There are many reasons why these problems exist, one of them is the lack of segmentation of the brand advocates in the brand advocacy program.
Have you been in a store which just sells women’s clothes? Have you been in a store which just sells clothes for pregnant women, and have you been in a store which sells clothes just for girls?
Well if you have seen or been to these stores, you’ve witnessed segmentation in the clothes market. The first level or segment being for women, the next for a more specific segment which is women who are pregnant and the third for girls.
The Power of Focus and Relevance
Segmenting a market enables you to focus on the subset of prospects/ customers/ participants that have similar needs. If done properly this will help to ensure the highest return for your brand advocacy efforts as it helps you focus your offering to the individual advocates thereby ensuring greater relevancy for both parties (you and your brand advocates). Suddenly new life will spring into your program and the participation from the brand advocates.
Hold on to your horses, don’t rush to chop up, I mean segment your program yet, cause there’s this little bit about… “YOUR” program…
How to Segment your brand advocacy program?
You see that word up there “your”, that’s the tricky devil. Segmentation is a double edged sword, what I mean is that the segmentation of your program depends on a whole lot of specific factors. Marketers segment based on gender, social status, age, size, religion, the list of factors you can segment on is well really long. So I’m going to take a very specific generic example you’ll know shortly…
The Great BIG Software Product Company
Please don’t google this, seriously there is no such company called “The Great BIG Software Product Company”. So how would a software products development company segment it’s brand advocacy program? I’m using the example of a particular type of company in the computer industry, which is a software company, focussing on building software products. Clever me, I just showed you another example of segmentation.
Well, how could the software product company segment its advocacy program?
What if we segmented the brand advocates based on their presence on or participation in…
What if we segmented the brand advocates slightly more based on a much more macro level.
Since I’ve taken the example of a software product development company, the most relevant segmentation might be, segmentation based on how the advocate participates in the different stages of the software product development.
This approach helps the organization leverage brand advocates across the software product development lifecycle.
Don’t get sucked into this. If you recollect I said “I’m going to take a very specific generic example you’ll know shortly…”. The reason I said this was if you contemplate this a little more it should hit you like a bolt of lightning. What you might realize that in this context a combination is what you need and at different time periods in the lifecycle of your product. You need the “Analyser” category of brand advocates to be involved in the first two stages of software product ideation and the alpha stage of your software product development.
And then at the Beta stage maybe you want to involve another category which is the “Supporter” and in the rollout and support stage you want to probably involve the other two segments which is the “Sharer” and the “Categorizer”. Do you think that would get the zing back into the advocacy program, and make it more relevant to the advocates and your company?
Just one more thing super important thing… what is your business objective of starting the advocacy program? Your brand advocacy program ultimately originates from some business objective. The shape and segments in your program need to ensure that business objective is met.
Did the above para just zip out of your brain?
Ok, lets assume your company had the business objective to shorten the time to market for it’s products. That objective is the end goal, and hence you will need to segment your brand advocacy program to ensure that it fulfils that objective. In this specific case, I wouldn’t bother to have a segment called the “Analyser”. Capisci?(pronounced as Kapish/Kapeesh)
What Now? Segmentation is that magic ingredient which can spice up and boost your brand advocate program, making it more relevant to your organization and your brand advocates. Drop me a line in the comments below, do share if this resonates with you and/or if you’ve been using segmentation in your brand advocacy program.