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For B2B Marketing Professionals

Tip The Balance From Reference Customers To Advocates

Capture Buyer Satisfaction And Enthusiasm Earlier

February 5, 2014

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  • By Peter O'Neill
  • with Bradford J. Holmes,
  • Dean Davison,
  • Michael Shrum

Why Read This Report

Most business-to-business (B2B) marketing budgets have a significant and recurring line item entitled "customer reference program," which involves extensive spending and effort so the sales force and other buyer-facing teams can readily respond to requests for references. But marketers must face a new reality: Empowered customers are educating themselves through professional and peer-created content that is available online. Many buyers claim to have a shortlist before they even talk to vendors. B2B marketers should adjust their investment mix between static customer case study collection (resulting merely in impressive collateral that nobody reads) and a more agile, digital advocacy program that engages with buyers as early as possible in the customer life cycle.

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Table of Contents

  • Spending On Customer Reference Programs Is Too Much, Too Late
  • Buyers Talk With Peers Early In The Process
  • References Help You Win; Advocates Get You On The Shortlist

  • Adjust Your Marketing Mix Toward Advocacy Programs

  • Advocacy Must Be Part Of Your Strategy
  • Supplemental Material
  • Related Research Documents