Our 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards (submission deadline is August 30th!) are structured around the Forrester Marketing RaDaR model, with awards for outstanding social marketing in each phase of the customer life cycle. My research this quarter focuses on social reach – tactics to help people discover your brands, products, and promotions – so I want to highlight a 2011 winner demonstrating the power of advocate marketing.

In 2011, Unilever introduced a new extra-strong variant of Marmite, a yeast-based spread that no one is just “meh” about – consumers either love it or hate it. Marmite’s consumers are extremely passionate about the product, and Unilever created an exclusive community for only the top 200 fans and advocates to feed (pun intended) their excitement. Each community member received one of 200 commemorative jars of the new Marmite.

Marmarati logo

To become part of the community and launch event, the advocates created content showing their enthusiasm and promoted the content to their own social networks. For this launch, Unilever used no paid advertising at all and spent only 20% of a typical product launch. But the advocates created 150 blog posts (read by an estimated 2.4 million people), and the campaign website had 2,800 user registrations and 28,000 unique visitors. The result? £600,000 of sales in the first six months, and an ongoing community of Marmite advocates which is still active today, two years later. 

A large part of the campaign’s success was making the advocates feel as if they were a part of something special and giving them something special connected to the brand. Forrester has found that the most effective advocate marketing doesn’t rely on (just) free products or cash but rather on building this connection between advocate and brand.

We are seeking new and exciting submissions not just for social reach but also depth, relationship, and several other categories. Don't miss an opportunity to promote your creative and innovative social marketing initiatives! Again, the deadline to submit a 2013 Groundswell Award entry is August 30, 2013.