After Advocamp: Who Is the Advocate Marketer?

First off I have to say—hats off to Influitive for putting on an amazing show. When Jim Williams, CMO of Influitive, welcomed the 800-ish guests to Advocamp in San Francisco last week, he said that Advocamp would be “the best conference we all go to all year.” I have to admit—I chuckled at the audacity of that claim at the time.
But if I’m being honest—something I try really hard to be—I readily admit that Jim was very likely correct. Advocamp had the goods to back up his claim. For 3 days what was probably the world’s largest collection of advocate marketers met, mingled, exchanged ideas and learned from each other. Without a doubt, I walked away from this conference having established more meaningful relationships with like-minded practitioners than I did from any other conference I’ve been to in recent memory.
And isn’t that what we want out of not just the conferences we attend but more so of our advocate communities? People getting together because they believe in something bigger than a product. People connecting and learning from each other, and channeling those relationships into personal and professional success. Anything that stems from all these wonderful people I met at Advocamp will generate credit in my mind that will flow directly back to Influitive.
Yes, I’m an advocate—and there are a lot more of us out there too.

Me and Kate Riley, Advocate Marketer at VIF International Education

Kate Riley, Advocate Marketer at VIF International Education, and me.

One of the things I was most struck by was how different the typical Advocamp attendee was from who you’d normally find at a marketing conference. Advocate marketers have a distinctly different je ne sais quois about them. You don’t get that feeling of lead obsession that you see among demand generators, nor do you experience all the flash and sizzle you’d expect at a gathering of advertisers.
I found this compellingly stimulating. Who is the advocate marketer? What makes him or her tick? I thought it would be interesting to explore exactly this question at the event so I actually went around and asked people what they thought.
Here’s a snapshot of what I heard back…

The Advocate Marketer Is Authentic

Marketing can sometimes feel a little…dirty. Like you are hocking snake oil that no one’s ever really seen work. Yet the advocate marketer knows that’s not true. Your advocates demonstrate every day how much they love and appreciate not just the products you make, but also the organization you represent. When the advocate marketer speaks to an audience, it’s done from an authentic, backed-up position that is rare to find in modern digital marketing.

The Advocate Marketer Is Human

Many marketers get excited about spiking website traffic, or trending tweets, or Super Bowl commercials. It’s always BIGGER and LARGER. Not so for the advocate marketer—it’s the human connection that turns us on. We spend our time cultivating and catering to connections in our communities and when something good happens to the people in our advocate communities we feel genuine enthusiasm for them. We celebrate our advocates’ kids trophies and commiserate in our advocates’ bad days. We form real connections with people that inspire us on a daily basis.

The Advocate Marketer Surprises and Delights

Routine is the enemy of the advocate marketer. It’s something we continually seek to find and stamp out. Advocate marketers are always looking to inject little nuggets of awesomeness into their advocate communities, keeping them intrigued and engaged and reinforcing that there is a real person on the other end of that digital divide who is thinking about them. This desire to make a moment special—it’s wired into the advocate marketer’s DNA.

The Advocate Marketer Is a Connector

No advocate marketer has ever been successful sitting alone at their desk. Every touch point with your customer is an opportunity for advocacy, which means that everyone who interacts with a customer in any way is part of your advocate program. The best advocate marketers look to involve other departments in their program, creating a culture of advocacy that feeds back on itself over time in a self-reinforcing, self-sustaining way.

The Advocate Marketer Is a Marketeer

At the end of the day, the advocate marketer understands how all the energy and enthusiasm of hundreds or thousands of advocates can elevate a company’s brand, drive demand, streamline the sales process and secure long-lasting recurring revenue from happy customers. We don’t lose sight of the bigger picture by getting caught up in the customer community. Instead, we are able to translate the many acts of advocacy that our customers are executing on our behalf into real business value and meaningful results.

What Do You Think?

I’d love to continue the conversation I started at Advocamp and hear from other advocate marketers. Who are you? Who are we? Who will we be when we regroup at Advocamp 2017? Reach out and let me know!
Brian Gladstein is the EVP Tech Marketing at @GYKAntler. Follow @briangladstein on Twitter.