Question: How is a customer marketer different than other marketers? (No, this is not the opening line of a joke — that would be “Two customer marketers walk into a bar … ”)

Top customer marketers focus on how customers attain value.

They know that solid references, case studies, valid reviews, upsell/cross-sell opportunities, and expansion deals naturally follow when customers first benefit from engaging with post-sale programs. They also understand that customers have different motivations and constraints for engaging, so they identify customers’ preferences and align their abilities with the marketing outcomes that they need to achieve.

To enlist and motivate advocates, leading customer marketers associate individual customers with one or more of the four advocate personalities that Forrester identifies in our recent report (subscription required). Here are a few key insights about each personality:


As the most common personality, they exhibit a natural inclination to teach, share knowledge, and connect with others. Educators:

  • Use peer stories to showcase best practices. Stories build trust among business buyers while offering social proof when shared on social networks.
  • Transform online communities from support groups to engaged networks that foster brand loyalty and business change.

Customer marketers can gather spontaneous feedback from educators and learn more about customer interests, opinions, and concerns. Engage them through specific tasks or activities that encourage brief, straightforward, helpful participation.


Although they may not always be your biggest fans, they provide direct, honest, and candid feedback. They are invested in your success because their success depends on it. Validators:

  • Play a vital role in creating authentic evidence that demonstrates the genuineness of your claims, influences buying decisions, and persuades skeptics.
  • Provide credible customer-contributed facts and references that help sales teams address objections and close deals faster.

Customer marketers should engage with validators and gather their insights via advisory boards, surveys, and interviews to help inform strategy, enhance the customer experience, understand competitive alternatives, and identify needed capabilities.

Status Seekers

These advocates want to turn their success with you into the next big opportunity for themselves or their company. Status seekers:

  • Aspire to grow their personal brand and to seek public recognition for their work by helping your company tell compelling stories.
  • Provide valuable content and act as thought leaders. Those who exhibit expertise, leadership, advocacy, and accessibility make credible speakers who deliver convincing content.

Customer marketers can work with status seekers to showcase their stories by publishing case studies, capturing public testimony, and featuring them at marketing meetings — activities that help attract buyers and engage other customers.


The rarest advocates, collaborators tend to be executives who invest extra time, effort, and their personal reputation in a company. Collaborators:

  • Provide access to their select network, leading to unanticipated opportunities.
  • Help you explore exceptional business opportunities and open doors to new markets, help cocreate products or services, and provide valuable insights for refining strategies.

To deepen relationships with them, create exclusive experiences — closed communities, exclusive access to your research, or specialized meetings — to intensify participation and receive valuable feedback on your product plans and future directions.

Match Advocate Personalities To Your Goals

Want your customer advocacy program to pay off?
Tailor program goals to different personalities — not the other way around. Understanding how customers prefer to interact and what motivates them is crucial for keeping them engaged and turning customer goodwill into a durable company asset. Audit your best customers, determine which personality types they represent, and then design programs with their specific personality types in mind.

Identify what creates a strong connection with a specific personality type and incorporate those experiences into advocacy programs. Customizing activities, recognition, and rewards based on the unique motivations of each personality type will entice more customers to sign up for and participate in advocacy programs.

Aim to provide valuable experiences that gain customer commitment in incremental steps. Grow customer participation by minimizing the effort that they put in early on while maximizing the value that they get in return. When you deliver value first and then gradually ask for more contributions, customers reciprocate by advocating for you more willingly.

Want to learn more? Explore our research or set up an inquiry/guidance session with us.