Facilitate your customers to market your brand and products because you'll cover much more ground than if you were to do all the marketing by yourself.
Every executive in the world probably disagrees with me and is saying:
Why would you give customers so much control, they could say anything!
And they could, but they are probably saying it already, you may as well embrace it and facilitate it.
Customers Listen to Other Customers
Customers are much more likely to listen to other customers than an advertisement, a voiceover or corporate lingo. According to Forrester 70% percent of customers trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family, 46% trust online reviews, while only 10% trust advertisements.
For marketers, this signals a need for new ways to build their brands with consumers, as brand-led advertising online and offline has lost its allure - Simone Levien, Forrester
Get people talking about your brand, encourage them to share their stories and tell everyone how great your brand and products are online and offline.
'Never Talk To Strangers', Is No Longer True
When I was a child, (which was not too long ago) people did not talk about brands or products to strangers online. Most people didn't even talk to people they didn't know online full stop! Today the same can't be said. Customers are not just talking to the people they know anymore, they are talking online through social media to strangers and they trust each other.
Customers now trust individual strangers (other customers) more than they trust brands. A study by Nielsen showed that customers trust the opinions of people online more so than editorial, sponsorship, advertising and product placement.
It makes sense because who is more likely to persuade you to buy something? Someone you can trust or someone you can't trust.
So would it not make sense to...
Let Your Customers Do The Marketing...While You Facilitate
I am not suggesting you stop marketing the traditional way. What I am saying is let your customers help. Change your mindset and be a facilitator as well as a marketer.
And there is work in facilitating. You need to convince your customers to talk about their experiences with your brand and share their stories. That's facilitator marketing I guess? Figure out what tools your customers need for them to help with your marketing efforts. Perhaps it is a reward or something much simpler like encouragement or recognition.
Frankly My Dear You Should Give A Dam
Because the marketplace is changing, marketing strategies need to change to match the changes in your customers behaviour.
Check out what this skincare brand did:
Frank Body engaged in a strategy like this for the past three years, mainly on Instagram. The company encouraged their customers to share their photos and thoughts on the product via Instagram.
The result from 0-350,000 followers in their first year and over 30,000 customer photos. To date Frank Body's customers have shared over 76,000 photos of themselves using the products under the hashtag #thefrankeffect on Instagram.
Frank's let their customers help with their marketing efforts by facilitating them with two simple things; encouragement and a hashtag. Frank Body could have bought advertising on social networks, but people would trust it less and it would have never yielded the same results as they have gotten from their customers to date.
So when I say...
Be A Facilitator More Than A Marketer
What I really mean is spend more time helping your customers to help you market.
After all your customers are the best marketing tools you have!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.