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What is a Brand Champion? How to Leverage Them for Your Business

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What is a Brand Champion? How to Leverage Them for Your Business

There’s nothing better than having people cheering for you on the sidelines and advocating for you in the rooms you’re not in, especially as a business owner.

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That’s where a brand champion comes in as someone who promotes your business to others and helps organically grow your loyalty base.

Let’s dive into why you need brand champions, how to get them, and how to incorporate them into your marketing strategy.

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Brand champions can be business owners, brand ambassadors, chief brand officers, employees, and customers. Any one who advocates for your company can be a brand champion.

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The Benefits of Brand Champions

Brand champions do wonders for your public image. They sing the praises of your brand in a way that doesn’t feel like an advertisement. Below are some of the top benefits of working with a brand champion.

The Benefits of Brand Champions. Brand champions boost word-of-mouth marketing. Brand champions save time and resources. Anyone can be a brand champion.

1. Brand champions boost word-of-mouth marketing.

Few marketing channels are more impactful than word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), when people organically spread the word about a brand or product. This type of marketing is a great way to gain the trust of people who aren’t already customers.

In fact, 88% of people trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel, according to a survey by Nielsen.

Brand champions are the ones behind this traction and promotion, so take an opportunity to hone in on these individuals if you want to take advantage of WOMM.

2. Brand champions save time and resources.

Brand champions generate organic buzz around your business. That’s one less part of your marketing budget that you have to worry about. Sure, you may offer them a discount code or referral link, but that’s pennies in comparison to advertising spending.

3. Anyone can be a brand champion.

Depending on the size of your business, you may have one or several champions. Sometimes, that role is embedded in your staff’s responsibilities.

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For instance, an employer brand specialist is responsible for promoting a company’s culture and benefits to outside candidates. That, in itself, is a type of brand champion, as their role is centered around campaigning for your brand.

In a small company, the business owner can be the brand champion, motivating employees internally and networking externally to gain more customers.

You can say the same for brand ambassadors who partner with businesses to promote them and generate leads. However, here there is a contractual obligation for ambassadors to promote your brand. Champions may be incentivized to do so, but they’re not required to celebrate your brand.

The key takeaway is that anyone can be a brand champion, and the more champions your brand has, the stronger it will be.

Common Types of Brand Champions

A brand champion isn’t someone you have to search for or recruit. Many times, your best brand champions already play another role in your business. Below, let’s go over the most common types of brand champions so you know who to look for.

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Employees

Start looking for brand champions internally. Employees can be your brand’s biggest fans, but only if they’re happy and engaged.

Studies show that how businesses treat their employees plays a big role in how trustworthy they seem. Especially in times of crisis, consumers look at how brands treat their own.

To create brand champions out of your employees, start by focusing on employer branding. Employer branding is a form of marketing in which the target audience is candidates interested in joining your company.

While the primary focus is on talent recruitment, employer branding can create a very positive perception of your brand to consumers as a secondary result.

Company Culture at HubSpot.

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We’ve mentioned how important employees are when building brand trust. If consumers think you mistreat your employees or place profit over people, this can tarnish your brand image.

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Internally, your employer branding specialist develops the strategies to showcase your internal brand champions. They can highlight exceptional employees and pass them the mic so they can share their experience with potential candidates.

At HubSpot, we have @HubSpotLife on Instagram, where we post employee takeovers, our Culture Code, and more.

This channel is an opportunity for our employees to tell the world about why they love working at HubSpot and share their personal experiences.

hubspot life instagram postImage Source

Customers

Your customers can be your brand’s greatest advocates. Think about it: Your customers already know what your brand stands for, what it offers, and how it treats its customers.

If they’ve had a positive experience with all of the above, then they’re more likely to champion your brand.

When customers organically advocate for your brand, this is a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, 55% of consumers learn about a product through word of mouth, which goes to show how a seemingly simple recommendation or testimonial can make an impact.

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To help boost your brand’s WOMM, nurture your customer relationships to ensure they continue having a positive experience with your brand and will be more likely to spread the word.

A happy customer leaves a review on Google, organically becoming a brand champion for this small business.

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If you’re running a campaign and want to include testimonials, reach out to your top supporters and ask them to participate.

You could repurpose those same testimonials for your website, landing pages, and more.

 brand champion testimonial

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Another way to amplify your champions’ voices is by offering them custom referral codes.

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When your champion refers someone to your brand, they and the recipient get a discount on their next purchase. And you gain a new customer — it’s a win-win-win.

Social Media Followers

Think of your social media followers as brand champions in training. They already like your brand — that’s why they’re following you.

The more you nurture your relationship with them and build a community, the more loyal they’ll become. Eventually, they’ll turn into brand champions.

Positive social media content around your brand provides act as helpful case studies. Social proof is a way to gain trust from consumers who are uncertain about your brand, whether they are considering a purchase or following you on Instagram.

A happy follower comments on an Instagram post from the brand The Fond Home, acting as a brand champion.

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Pay attention to people who are advocating for your brand on social media and find ways to engage with them even further.

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There are countless ways to engage your community on social media, including:

  • Responding to comments.
  • Creating private groups.
  • Creating polls and surveys.
  • Conducting Q&As.
  • Going live with your followers.
  • Reposting user-generated content.

What You Need Before Creating Brand Champions

There are a few prerequisites you need before you can start leveraging brand champions for your business. With these prerequisites in place, you’ll have an even greater chance of seeing success with your brand champion marketing.

Clear Vision, Mission, and Values

As with any marketing initiative, a deep understanding of your brand’s vision, mission, and values is critical.

These branding essentials will help guide everything you do, from selecting the right brand champions to relaying the messaging you want to be shared about your business.

brand champion mission

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If you’re unclear about what your mission is or what values your brand stands for, then your customers or employees will be, too.

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Sentiment Understanding

Whether you want your brand champions to be current employees or customers, you have to first understand how these individuals feel about your brand.

If you want to create brand champions internally, start by conducting regular employee net promoter score (eNPS) surveys. This will tell you how satisfied your employees are and let you know how you can better support them.

brand champion, enps. On a scale of 0 to 10 how likely are you to recommend our company as a workplace?

Once you identify opportunities for improvement, be sure to follow through with action to let your employees know their voices are heard and taken seriously.

You can do the same thing with customers. Choose a handful of customers who would make good brand champions and have them take a survey or participate in a focus group to collect feedback.

brand champion, nps. On a scale of 0 to 10 how likely are you to recommend our company?

Having these insights into brand sentiment gives you a starting point when choosing the right brand champions and understanding how they can best advocate your brand.

Structure

Before you can have brand champions working toward success with you, you need to have the right systems in place. This can require a little more effort and structural implementations if you want your employees to become brand champions.

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For example, you want to create an environment that creates happy employees, because happy employees make great champions who will boost your brand without you even asking.

It’s like when you love a product you’ve just bought. You’ll find any opportunity to tell people how much you love it — even if you don’t have a 10% referral discount code.

If your company is publicly traded, consider offering your employees restricted stock units (RSUs). RSUs are stocks given to employees as a form of compensation with a vesting schedule that can span anywhere from one to a few years after the employee’s start date.

Giving your employees an equity stake in your company can build their loyalty to your company and have them invested in its growth.

Other ways to turn your employees into brand champions include:

  • Providing professional development opportunities.
  • Investing in diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as employee resource groups (ERGs).
  • Creating psychological safety.

The same ideas can be applied to customers that you want to be brand champions for your business. Have a structure or system in place before bringing on these brand champions. The system should make it easy for brand champions to advocate or share promos about your business.

For example, you could create a referral discount code for customers to share on social media.

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Or, create a channel that helps communicate to brand champions when you have product launches or major announcements coming up that you want them to help you share.

Tap Into Your Brand Champions

When leveraged in the right ways, brand champions can be powerful advocates for your business.

These individuals — whether they’re employees or customers — create an organic channel that helps spread awareness about your brand and paints your business in a positive light.

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

Understanding convergence 

B2B and B2C ecommerce are two distinct models of online selling. B2B ecommerce is between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers. B2C ecommerce refers to transactions between businesses like retailers and consumer brands, directly to individual shoppers. 

However, in recent years, the boundaries between these two models have started to fade. This is known as the convergence between B2B and B2C ecommerce and how they are becoming more similar and integrated. 

Source: White Paper: The evolution of the B2B Consumer Buyer (ClientPoint, Jan 2024)

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What’s driving this change? 

Ever increasing customer expectations  

Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels.

Forrester, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own, online . Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels

Technology and omnichannel strategies

Technology enables B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms to offer more features and functionalities, such as mobile optimization, chatbots, AI, and augmented reality. Omnichannel strategies allow B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, email, and physical stores. 

However, with every great leap forward comes its own set of challenges. The convergence of B2B and B2C markets means increased competition.  Businesses now not only have to compete with their traditional rivals, but also with new entrants and disruptors from different sectors. For example, Amazon Business, a B2B ecommerce platform, has become a major threat to many B2B ecommerce businesses, as it offers a wide range of products, low prices, and fast delivery

“Amazon Business has proven that B2B ecommerce can leverage popular B2C-like functionality” argues Joe Albrecht, CEO / Managing Partner, Xngage. . With features like Subscribe-and-Save (auto-replenishment), one-click buying, and curated assortments by job role or work location, they make it easy for B2B buyers to go to their website and never leave. Plus, with exceptional customer service and promotional incentives like Amazon Business Prime Days, they have created a reinforcing loyalty loop.

And yet, according to Barron’s, Amazon Business is only expected to capture 1.5% of the $5.7 Trillion addressable business market by 2025. If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can compete and win in this fragmented space, too.” 

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If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can also compete and win in this fragmented space

Joe Albrecht
CEO/Managing Partner, XNGAGE

Increasing complexity 

Another challenge is the increased complexity and cost of managing a converging ecommerce business. Businesses have to deal with different customer segments, requirements, and expectations, which may require different strategies, processes, and systems. For instance, B2B ecommerce businesses may have to handle more complex transactions, such as bulk orders, contract negotiations, and invoicing, while B2C ecommerce businesses may have to handle more customer service, returns, and loyalty programs. Moreover, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses must invest in technology and infrastructure to support their convergence efforts, which may increase their operational and maintenance costs. 

How to win

Here are a few ways companies can get ahead of the game:

Adopt B2C-like features in B2B platforms

User-friendly design, easy navigation, product reviews, personalization, recommendations, and ratings can help B2B ecommerce businesses to attract and retain more customers, as well as to increase their conversion and retention rates.  

According to McKinsey, ecommerce businesses that offer B2C-like features like personalization can increase their revenues by 15% and reduce their costs by 20%. You can do this through personalization of your website with tools like Product Recommendations that help suggest related products to increase sales. 

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Focus on personalization and customer experience

B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, and tailor their offerings and interactions accordingly. Personalization and customer experience can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as to improve their brand reputation and competitive advantage. According to a Salesforce report, 88% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

Related: Redefining personalization for B2B commerce

Market based on customer insights

Data and analytics can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers, markets, competitors, and performance, and to optimize their strategies and operations accordingly. Data and analytics can also help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to identify new opportunities, trends, and innovations, and to anticipate and respond to customer needs and expectations. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. 

What’s next? 

The convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term trend that will continue to shape the future of ecommerce. According to Statista, the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027, surpassing the B2C ecommerce market, which is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2027. Moreover, the report predicts that the convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce will create new business models, such as B2B2C, B2A (business to anyone), and C2B (consumer to business). 

Therefore, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to prepare for the converging ecommerce landscape and take advantage of the opportunities and challenges it presents. Here are some recommendations for B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to navigate the converging landscape: 

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your customers, competitors, and market, and identify the gaps and opportunities for convergence. 
  • Develop a clear vision and strategy for convergence, and align your goals, objectives, and metrics with it. 
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure that can support your convergence efforts, such as cloud, mobile, AI, and omnichannel platforms. 
  • Implement B2C-like features in your B2B platforms, and vice versa, to enhance your customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Personalize your offerings and interactions with your customers, and provide them with relevant and valuable content and solutions.
  • Leverage data and analytics to optimize your performance and decision making, and to innovate and differentiate your business.
  • Collaborate and partner with other B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses, as well as with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, distributors, and customers, to create value and synergy.
  • Monitor and evaluate your convergence efforts, and adapt and improve them as needed. 

By following these recommendations, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses can bridge the gap between their models and create a more integrated and seamless ecommerce experience for their customers and themselves. 

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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

How can businesses succeed nowadays when technology rules?  With competition getting tougher and customers changing their preferences often, it’s a challenge. But using marketing automation can help make things easier and get better results. And in the future, it’s going to be even more important for all kinds of businesses.

So, let’s discuss how businesses can leverage marketing automation to stay ahead and thrive.

Benefits of automation marketing automation to boost your efforts

First, let’s explore the benefits of marketing automation to supercharge your efforts:

 Marketing automation simplifies repetitive tasks, saving time and effort.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. For instance, automation not only streamlines tasks like email campaigns but also optimizes website speed, ensuring a seamless user experience. A faster website not only enhances customer satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine rankings, driving more organic traffic and ultimately boosting conversions.

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Automation allows for precise targeting, reaching the right audience with personalized messages.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. A great example of automated workflow is Pipedrive & WhatsApp Integration in which an automated welcome message pops up on their WhatsApp

within seconds once a potential customer expresses interest in your business.

Increases ROI

By optimizing campaigns and reducing manual labor, automation can significantly improve return on investment.

Leveraging automation enables businesses to scale their marketing efforts effectively, driving growth and success. Additionally, incorporating lead scoring into automated marketing processes can streamline the identification of high-potential prospects, further optimizing resource allocation and maximizing conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of marketing automation can revolutionize your marketing strategy, leading to increased efficiency, higher returns, and sustainable growth in today’s competitive market. So, why wait? Start automating your marketing efforts today and propel your business to new heights, moreover if you have just learned ways on how to create an online business

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How marketing automation can simplify operations and increase efficiency

Understanding the Change

Marketing automation has evolved significantly over time, from basic email marketing campaigns to sophisticated platforms that can manage entire marketing strategies. This progress has been fueled by advances in technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, making automation smarter and more adaptable.

One of the main reasons for this shift is the vast amount of data available to marketers today. From understanding customer demographics to analyzing behavior, the sheer volume of data is staggering. Marketing automation platforms use this data to create highly personalized and targeted campaigns, allowing businesses to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

The Emergence of AI-Powered Automation

In the future, AI-powered automation will play an even bigger role in marketing strategies. AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data in real-time, helping marketers identify trends, predict consumer behavior, and optimize campaigns as they go. This agility and responsiveness are crucial in today’s fast-moving digital world, where opportunities come and go in the blink of an eye. For example, we’re witnessing the rise of AI-based tools from AI website builders, to AI logo generators and even more, showing that we’re competing with time and efficiency.

Combining AI-powered automation with WordPress management services streamlines marketing efforts, enabling quick adaptation to changing trends and efficient management of online presence.

Moreover, AI can take care of routine tasks like content creation, scheduling, and testing, giving marketers more time to focus on strategic activities. By automating these repetitive tasks, businesses can work more efficiently, leading to better outcomes. AI can create social media ads tailored to specific demographics and preferences, ensuring that the content resonates with the target audience. With the help of an AI ad maker tool, businesses can efficiently produce high-quality advertisements that drive engagement and conversions across various social media platforms.

Personalization on a Large Scale

Personalization has always been important in marketing, and automation is making it possible on a larger scale. By using AI and machine learning, marketers can create tailored experiences for each customer based on their preferences, behaviors, and past interactions with the brand.  

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This level of personalization not only boosts customer satisfaction but also increases engagement and loyalty. When consumers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to become loyal customers and brand advocates. As automation technology continues to evolve, we can expect personalization to become even more advanced, enabling businesses to forge deeper connections with their audience.  As your company has tiny homes for sale California, personalized experiences will ensure each customer finds their perfect fit, fostering lasting connections.

Integration Across Channels

Another trend shaping the future of marketing automation is the integration of multiple channels into a cohesive strategy. Today’s consumers interact with brands across various touchpoints, from social media and email to websites and mobile apps. Marketing automation platforms that can seamlessly integrate these channels and deliver consistent messaging will have a competitive edge. When creating a comparison website it’s important to ensure that the platform effectively aggregates data from diverse sources and presents it in a user-friendly manner, empowering consumers to make informed decisions.

Omni-channel integration not only betters the customer experience but also provides marketers with a comprehensive view of the customer journey. By tracking interactions across channels, businesses can gain valuable insights into how consumers engage with their brand, allowing them to refine their marketing strategies for maximum impact. Lastly, integrating SEO services into omni-channel strategies boosts visibility and helps businesses better understand and engage with their customers across different platforms.

The Human Element

While automation offers many benefits, it’s crucial not to overlook the human aspect of marketing. Despite advances in AI and machine learning, there are still elements of marketing that require human creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking.

Successful marketing automation strikes a balance between technology and human expertise. By using automation to handle routine tasks and data analysis, marketers can focus on what they do best – storytelling, building relationships, and driving innovation.

Conclusion

The future of marketing automation looks promising, offering improved efficiency and results for businesses of all sizes.

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As AI continues to advance and consumer expectations change, automation will play an increasingly vital role in keeping businesses competitive.

By embracing automation technologies, marketers can simplify processes, deliver more personalized experiences, and ultimately, achieve their business goals more effectively than ever before.

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Will Google Buy HubSpot? | Content Marketing Institute

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Why Marketers Should Care About Google’s Potential HubSpot Acquisition

Google + HubSpot. Is it a thing?

This week, a flurry of news came down about Google’s consideration of purchasing HubSpot.

The prospect dismayed some. It delighted others.

But is it likely? Is it even possible? What would it mean for marketers? What does the consideration even mean for marketers?

Well, we asked CMI’s chief strategy advisor, Robert Rose, for his take. Watch this video or read on:

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Why Alphabet may want HubSpot

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, apparently is contemplating the acquisition of inbound marketing giant HubSpot.

The potential price could be in the range of $30 billion to $40 billion. That would make Alphabet’s largest acquisition by far. The current deal holding that title happened in 2011 when it acquired Motorola Mobility for more than $12 billion. It later sold it to Lenovo for less than $3 billion.

If the HubSpot deal happens, it would not be in character with what the classic evil villain has been doing for the past 20 years.

At first glance, you might think the deal would make no sense. Why would Google want to spend three times as much as it’s ever spent to get into the inbound marketing — the CRM and marketing automation business?

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At a second glance, it makes a ton of sense.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I and others at CMI spend a lot of time discussing privacy, owned media, and the deprecation of the third-party cookie. I just talked about it two weeks ago. It’s really happening.

All that oxygen being sucked out of the ad tech space presents a compelling case that Alphabet should diversify from third-party data and classic surveillance-based marketing.

Yes, this potential acquisition is about data. HubSpot would give Alphabet the keys to the kingdom of 205,000 business customers — and their customers’ data that almost certainly numbers in the tens of millions. Alphabet would also gain access to the content, marketing, and sales information those customers consumed.

Conversely, the deal would provide an immediate tip of the spear for HubSpot clients to create more targeted programs in the Alphabet ecosystem and upload their data to drive even more personalized experiences on their own properties and connect them to the Google Workspace infrastructure.

When you add in the idea of Gemini, you can start to see how Google might monetize its generative AI tool beyond figuring out how to use it on ads on search results pages.

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What acquisition could mean for HubSpot customers

I may be stretching here but imagine this world. As a Hubspoogle customer, you can access an interface that prioritizes your owned media data (e.g., your website, your e-commerce catalog, blog) when Google’s Gemini answers a question).

Recent reports also say Google may put up a paywall around the new premium features of its artificial intelligence-powered Search Generative Experience. Imagine this as the new gating for marketing. In other words, users can subscribe to Google’s AI for free, but Hubspoogle customers can access that data and use it to create targeted offers.

The acquisition of HubSpot would immediately make Google Workspace a more robust competitor to Microsoft 365 Office for small- and medium-sized businesses as they would receive the ADDED capability of inbound marketing.

But in the world of rented land where Google is the landlord, the government will take notice of the acquisition. But — and it’s a big but, I cannot lie (yes, I just did that). The big but is whether this acquisition dance can happen without going afoul of regulatory issues.

Some analysts say it should be no problem. Others say, “Yeah, it wouldn’t go.” Either way, would anybody touch it in an election year? That’s a whole other story.

What marketers should realize

So, what’s my takeaway?

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It’s a remote chance that Google will jump on this hard, but stranger things have happened. It would be an exciting disruption in the market.

The sure bet is this. The acquisition conversation — as if you needed more data points — says getting good at owned media to attract and build audiences and using that first-party data to provide better communication and collaboration with your customers are a must.

It’s just a matter of time until Google makes a move. They might just be testing the waters now, but they will move here. But no matter what they do, if you have your customer data house in order, you’ll be primed for success.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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