Trends Report

Tip The Balance From Reference Customers To Advocates

Capture Buyer Satisfaction And Enthusiasm Earlier

February 5th, 2014
PO
Peter O'Neill
With contributors:
Dean Davison , Bradford Holmes , Michael Shrum

Summary

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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