Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The value of advocates

Within the market you address there will be an important and exclusive group whose advocacy of your products is disproportionate to the numbers of people.

They can be grouped as your “VIP List”–these are the people that you need to have on message and feeling positive and warm about your products. The first task is to identify who qualifies for your VIP list. They may not all be on your database, although they should be. Examples of people qualifying for VIP membership may include your most important customers, editors of the most influential publications in your market, consultants and advisors, academics and  the recognised industry guru – if there is one.

These people need to be kept not only informed of what your company is doing, but taken into your confidence where appropriate. The VIP group can be a good sounding board for new products in development for example. Communications should be personalised both in terms of providing the most relevant content to each person and in a form that they prefer. It may be information mailed with a personal covering letter if that is their preference, or a personal email or even a telephone call.

The VIP group can be invited to special events –not a hospitality package at a sporting event –but a new product launch or site visit to a prestige project. At one company we hosted a monthly lunch for groups of VIPs at a London restaurant and because they had the same industry interests in common discussions could be lively and informative.
By cultivating your VIPs they will become valuable advocates for your brand and products.

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