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Bonjoro's Matthew Barnett on customer advocacy

Patrick Campbell Jul 13 2021

“If the Lakers win and hold the opponent to under 111 points, every fan in attendance gets free tacos from Jack in the Box!”

I’m sure that almost every sports team has some sort of promotion like this. It’s a partnership between some sort of local business and your favorite squad to get more fans of both establishments. It’s one of the many elements of fandom whether it be replica jerseys, foam fingers, bobble heads, or fan clubs.

This endorsement of the organization expands to other mediums. Not only can you follow on various social media, but there are groups, podcasts, and even entire TV channels dedicated to the following of your teams.

This fanaticism is every marketer’s dream. It’s a couple steps beyond word of mouth to the point where as long as the product continues to deliver, eyeballs will flock. Customer advocacy is the ultimate dream, but what are the steps one needs to take to get there?

Meet Matthew Barnett, the Papa Bear of Bonjoro. And no that’s not me giving him a clever nickname, that’s his real-life title. If you don’t believe me then go check out his LinkedIn photo where you'll see why he's called the Papa Bear of Bonjoro. In it he dons a bear suit which is one of the many clever methods Matt uses to build customer advocacy. While I can’t promise you free tacos at the end of this episode, I can promise that the information Matt is about to share with you will satisfy your marketing needs.


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Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.


Key term

What is customer advocacy?

Customer advocacy is a form of customer service that puts the needs of customers first, focusing on solution-based assistance around what’s best for the customer.

Why is it important?

In today’s competitive landscape, customer advocacy has become a crucial lever of growth. As of 2020, advocacy was driving $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. Additionally, customer advocacy is great for retention. Not only are customer advocates more vocal about their favorite brands, they’re also more loyal. An advocate’s lifetime value is much higher than other customers.


Action plan:

What to do today: 
  • Follow Matthew Barnett.
  • Schedule a time to meet with your customer service and success teams (sales team, if appropriate) to discuss implementing a customer advocacy program.

What to do next quarter:

Build your customer advocacy program. 

You’re likely more ahead of this than you might realize. On average, up to half of a brand’s customers are advocates. But even if you feel you don’t have any, as Matt has mentioned, you can make them. And it begins with providing a phenomenal and personalized customer onboarding experience. Create unique experiences for each advocate wherever you can, as it’ll help build trust—the key to any lasting relationship. 

To help you get started, we’ve gathered some steps and concepts to keep in mind as you build your own customer advocacy program. 

  1. Build your advocacy program with structure and goals
    1. What do you wish to gain from your advocacy program?
      1. Referrals, reviews, references, etc.
    2. What value will your advocates gain from your program? 
    3. How will you provide said value?
      1. Your advocates should be your primary concern.

  2. Empower your sales, customer service, and success teams
    1. It starts from the very beginning, so be sure to provide your teams with the right tools and knowledge.
    2. Cultivate a customer-centric culture.
    3. Focus on building a relationship with each interaction.

  3. Serve with speed
    1. The quicker you can solve an issue the better; however, don’t lose sight of providing a personable experience.

  4. Reward your customers
    1. If possible, personalize the way you reward your customers. Monetary rewards can and do work, but they shouldn’t be the motive for being an advocate. Utilize other motivators like access to new features, products, content, or events.

  5. Delight and surprise customers
    1. Every interaction is an opportunity to wow your customers. Keep in mind that even if you’re unable to solve their issue at that moment, your understanding and treatment goes a long way. Show your respect and appreciation every chance you get.

  6. Recognize your customers
    1. Feeling important and valued is innate for humans, so share your customers’ stories, successes, photos, etc.
    2. Remember special occasions (e.g., birthdays)

  7. Request and act on feedback
    1. Feedback is absolutely essential not only for improving your customer’s experience, but for improving your product and/or features, as well.
    2. Ongoing communication is key to maintaining a solid relationship.

  8. Recognize ALL feedback (even the negative)
    1. It’s easy to recognize and share positive feedback, but it’s just as important, if not more, to also recognize and accept negative feedback. Not only will you learn from it to make improvements and find solutions, but you’ll also gain respect from your customers. They’ll feel heard. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for your company to show firsthand that you value all feedback and prioritize customer support.


What to do within the next year:

Implement your customer advocacy program and ensure you’re tracking and measuring your output. As with any strategy or program, always evaluate to ensure you’re getting the desired outcome.

Who should own this? 

Your customer service and success teams.


Who's up next week?

Next week, Eric Santos, co-founder and CEO of RD Station talks to us about all things growth, including how he grew his company out of Brazil.

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By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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