Imagine this. You’ve devoted 60% of your marketing budget to developing a flashy new ad campaign. When it finally launches, barely anyone shows up. Unfortunately this happens more often than we’d like to admit. Reaching new audiences is harder than it used to be.
People are demanding higher levels of authenticity, personalization, and peer validation. You’ve probably heard the argument that 92% of Americans trust friend referrals over any other form of marketing. Peer referrals have been important for a long time, yet most marketers are still spending millions of dollars trying to reach new customers through advertising.
So what’s the alternative? Organizing.
Unlike mass marketing, community organizing is all about relationships. Ads that target 2 million prospective customers aren't authentic or personal. If you want people to care about your brand, you have to care about them.
In a world where 4.7% of your fan base is responsible for 100% of your word of mouth, getting to know that core group of people is key. Engaged customers become advocates who lead to greater brand awareness and drive engagement.
How can organizing help you do this at scale?
1) Identify your most engaged supporters. Chances are high that a customer who tweets about your brand or likes your Facebook page is a fan. Are you tracking this? Consolidate your data to get a list of highly engaged customers. Who knows, you might even have some influencers or celebrity supporters among the crowd you didn’t know about with high Klout.
2) Build relationships with them. Reach out to the people talking about you–be personal, be human. They'll love it. Imagine getting an email from your favorite brand...you’re already a fan, but now you’ll want to talk to your friends about it.
3) Bring them into the fold. People feel more connected when they have a stake in the brand. Provide them with access, educate them on your vision, and ask them for feedback. Consider creating an exclusive brand ambassador program for them to be a part of where value is being delivered on both ends. This group can be your biggest asset; make them feel like they matter.
4) Let them be your voice. If 92% of people want peer recommendations, brand ambassadors are going to be your most powerful marketing weapon. Enable them generate their own content, and share their story.
5) Incentivize sharing. Marketing is a numbers game, so scale is critical. Use smart incentivizes and gamification to encourage peer-to-peer sharing. Create leaderboards that show progress, give out points, and reward your most active recruiters.