Table of Contents
I. Who is a Product Advocate?
Let’s think about the typical customer’s journey. Consumers are usually compelled to buy products because of their price, quality, design, or by recommendations by product advocates. Advocates are usually employees who can provide a thorough product explanation at an outlet or store.
II. Which companies depend on Product Advocates?
Any product sold in the market can benefit from the recommendations of advocates, for example a salesperson or shop owner. However, some more complex products require endorsement from someone trusted, to encourage consumers to buy these products. Example:
- Technician in the automotive workshop: for lubricant products, tires, other spare parts.
- Construction technician or project leader: for building materials.
- Hairdresser at salon: for many kinds of care products.
Those companies rely heavily on product advocates because advocates are trusted by consumers to recommend the most suitable products for them.
III. How do product advocates benefit the company?
- Increase sales: advocates with good relationships with the company can make your brand popular in stores
- Business expansion: if the incentives are good and attractive, advocates will try to be even more active in recommending your product over competitors’ products
- Build consumer loyalty: some advocates are so good at communicating that they can even help you build trust with consumers in the long run
If consumers are satisfied with a previous purchase based on product advocate recommendations, they will prefer to buy the same product again. This loyalty is very important especially in a competitive market.
IV. How do I get the attention of product advocates?
Oftentimes, product advocates at stores are not employees of brand owners or principals. To strengthen relations with advocates, companies began to create special loyalty programs for product advocates in stores. Various types of programs that can be arranged based on the product or service that the principal offers.
V. Loyalty program complexity
Most product advocates work individually, so it has been difficult for principal companies to track their sales figures and performance. Issues that often arise include:
- Manual individual performance collection that is time consuming
- Lack of points transparency that have been collected for advocates
- Difficult to control prize distribution
- Very limited market data for marketing strategies
Therefore, in this digital era, many companies are starting to abandon paper-based programs (paper vouchers, stamps, etc).
Several companies have started using mobile-based digital applications for their loyalty programs. However, make sure the platform to have:
- Easiness to use: Starting from registration, collecting points, checking point achievement, to redeeming points in just one application
- Ability to capture granular advocate’s performance data: individual performance, data for each geographic area, time period, and product SKU
- A variety of merchants to exchange points: exchange points into supermarket electronic vouchers, prepaid vouchers, and other e-commerce, as well as physical products that can be sent to the location
- Personalized gamification: the point score wheel encourages product advocates psychologically to keep adding points