Lets say you represent Microsoft. You’re launching a new version of an existing product globally and you’ve got well a pittance for a budget, essentially some t-shirts, flyers, banners etc. How would you do this? Ok let me up the ante a bit. You need to get some 10,000 events organized globally. What do you do?
How many gazillions would you need?
But how is it possible?
Marketing can be tough
When you think of doing 10,000 events across the world that can bring a drop of sweat to most seasoned marketers.
How did they do it?
Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple
They used the help of their incredible brand advocates.
What is a brand advocate?
Brand advocates are your passionate customers.
In Microsoft’s own words – “They typically have a deep commitment to helping others, voluntarily sharing their passion.”
While there are more than 100 million social and technical community members, only a small portion are selected to be recognized as MVPs. Each year, around 4,000 MVPs are honored. They are nominated by Microsoft, other community individuals, or in some cases themselves. Candidates are rigorously evaluated for their technical expertise, community leadership, and voluntary community contributions for the previous year. They come from more than 90 countries, speak over 40 different languages, and are awarded in more than 90 Microsoft technologies. Together, they answer more than 10 million questions a year!
Across the world in six months to January 2009, more than 2,500 MVPs took part in 229 events, reaching out to over 900,000 people in events principally about SQL Server 2008, Internet Explorer and Visual Studio. Both in the virtual space — through podcasts, for example — and face-to-face through user groups and other networking spaces, MVPs share their passion, their knowledge and their know-how.
Nearly 200 MVPs ran almost 10,000 events on SQL Server 2008 and virtualization around the world.
(Italics and bold formatting is mine.)
Astonishing isn’t it? How most companies don’t do this!
I’m amazed each time. Not by reading the example given above, but amazed at how companies even today try to reach out to customers on their own without using the help of their brand advocates. Its just plain silly. The trust factor when connected via someone you know is far higher than a corporate sales person.
Being a truly social business
Companies co-creating with their customers and using their help to increase word of mouth are saving themselves tons of money and are establishing real solid relationships with their most cherished customers.
Brand Advocacy is not a fad, it’s a principle which has been in use since cave men times, it’s been used by religious organizations worldwide (remember the Christian Evangelists).
It’s the most cost effective and helps build a truly social business.
It simplifies the challenge of reaching global audiences by involving the most passionate (brand advocates) members of the audience themselves.
10,000 events organized globally
Nearly 200 MVPs ran almost 10,000 events globally enabling Microsoft to ensure that their content reaches the right global audiences at low costs. Globally their brand advocacy program encourages their brand advocates to reach out to customers on a consistent basis.
The best part the 200 MVP’s volunteered their time at no cost.
Brand Advocacy is one of the most powerful ways that enterprises can ensure that their content reaches the right global audiences at low or no cost.
P.s. If you’d like to learn how to implement a brand advocacy program, grab a preview copy of the brand advocacy book (Limited stocks).