Five weeks ago we moved into our new home - a house we've been planning over the last 4 years and building for the last 10 months. We've had to master the art of driving good deals and hard bargains and given we're electric only (no gas, which is unusual for a house in the UK) we had to find a pretty good option when it came to energy prices.
We finally chose a company called GB Energy Supply. It's not one of the big 6 vendors who own a majority in the UK market (British Gas, EDF, SSE, nPower, Scottish power, e.on) and it's possible that not many folks reading this have heard of them. We hadn't. They don't feature in the online comparison tables. That said, when we plugged in the numbers, the quotation was approx 30% cheaper than the next cheapest option.
How can they do this? What's their secret?
Brand advocacy marketing.
Well, it's not the entire reason they're cheaper but it's a big contributor. They focus on providing an excellent customer experience and good value - not expensive marketing campaigns, TV advertising, huge call centers, big offices etc. Not only that, once they've delivered excellence, they ask their customers to become their marketing department.
How cool is that?
They're even very transparent about this strategy. Check out the paragraph below from their "Welcome email".
They ask the customer to share their experience on Twitter and Facebook with pre-written content to save the customer time in posting to their social network.
A few days later we received confirmation in the post with some small cards to hand out to family and neighbours. Every opportunity is taken to increase the customers engagement with the brand and advocate the message to new audiences via existing customers.
I personally feel they're missing a trick at the last stage. Whilst gamification around advocacy programs isn't always a great idea (especially when dealing with employee advocacy where incentives can often drive the wrong behaviour), when it comes to 'price sensitive' customers sharing stories with their network, a financial incentive could probably encourage the process along a little.
That said, I just love this example of marketing through advocacy. It used to be called "Word Of Mouth Marketing" when I completed my CIM Marketing Diploma many years ago. The only difference today is the digital era we now operate in where experiences (good and bad) travel fast over social media.
I'm absolutely certain that more organisations will move to this model as marketing budgets are squeezed, bad experiences are exposed via social media and the demand for excellent customer service becomes greater.
Have you experienced any examples of brand advocacy marketing?
Related Posts: 5 Common Employee Advocacy Mistakes to Avoid