Most of you are probably not old enough to remember Kojak, his lollipops and the iconic greeting, Who Loves Ya Baby?

Today this phrase takes on a new significance: who are your loyal fans? Influencer marketing is all the rage right now, but how many brands are doing fan-centric marketing?

Interviewed at Envision 2016 Microsoft CMO Chris Capossella described this marketing strategy as part of the digital transformation in an organization. Digital transformation is when an organization utilizes technology to completely reinvent their company.

Capossela says he believes that every company will become a software company in one way or another and they need to figure out how to digitize their products. CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella describes this digital transformation in four pillars:

  • engage customers
  • empower employees
  • optimize operations
  • transform products.

So digital transformation is not only about products and IoT, it must also transform disciplines and operations. It has to change how you communicate your message to your stakeholders and customers. And that’s where fan-centric marketing comes in.

Every customer and stakeholder is important, but the power of fans – both economically and in terms of advocacy -makes them more valuable. They are engaged, they are power users, they love the product and the brand, and they’ll proudly talk about their use and successes with the product/brand.

Does fan-centric marketing exclude other activities? Not at all. The first step on the customer journey is awareness of the brand or product. You can’t be a fan until you become a customer. So customer acquisition is just as vital as retention. Fans are very valuable in this part of the sequence because their advocacy reaches potential customers.

customer journey circle of advocacy

PR Lesson:

Finding the right influencers to help spread your message is a great strategy. But don’t neglect the loyal fans who already love you. They might just do more for your brand than the influencers. The secret is to fully understand where each person is in their relationship with you and how to communicate with them at each stage of the customer journey.

Most potential customers are already 70% of the way down the journey when they contact a brand or salesperson. So the top of the funnel needs PR content that builds interest and trust:

  • media coverage
  • influencer endorsement
  • thought leadership
  • enthusiastic advocacy from loyal fans.