Growing Brands With Heavy Users And Advocates

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Heavy users and advocates play important roles in marketing as they can help companies to reach new customer targets, increase brand awareness and loyalty, and drive sales. But you have to know them to love them, so here’s a closer look at their roles:

Heavy users are customers who use a company’s products or services frequently and spend a significant amount of money on them. They are valuable to companies because they provide a steady stream of revenue and can be a source of insights and feedback on the company’s offerings. Heavy users can also act as brand ambassadors by sharing their positive experiences with others, which can lead to new customer acquisition and increased sales.

Examples of heavy users might include a sports fan who is passionate and dedicated to their interest in sports and invests a significant amount of time, energy and self-esteem in keeping up-to-date with the latest news and events in the sports world. They might wake up early to check the latest scores and news before work, listen to sports podcasts during their commute, check their fantasy sports league during breaks, and then spend evenings watching live games or highlights.

Social media enthusiasts can spend several hours a day scrolling heavily through different social media platforms, liking, commenting, and sharing posts.

Hardcore gamers might be those who spend most of their free time playing video games, upgrading their gaming equipment, and interacting with other gamers online. They might attend conventions like E3, Gamescom, and PAX. Watch professional players compete in games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Fortnite. Or participate in speedruns or gaming marathons.

Shopper data quickly identifies heavy users: if someone has purchased Kashi breakfast cereal six times in a row, they are likely to be a heavy Kashi consumer. (If they purchased three times and then stopped, you might want to find out why?)

Heavy user consumers include online shoppers who spend several hours a day browsing different e-commerce websites, comparing prices, reading reviews, and placing orders.

Every category has its own metrics to define their heavy user segment.

Advocates also can be a powerful marketing force. These customers are extremely loyal to a company’s brand and are willing to promote it to others. They may do so through social media, word-of-mouth, or other channels. (They also tend to be heavy users.)

Advocates are a powerful marketing force because their recommendations carry more weight than reviews, social media or traditional Influencers. Over 80 percent of people don’t believe what companies tell them. They do believe what their peers have to say about you, which is why ratings and reviews have become so important.

It is imperative that companies cultivate advocates by providing exceptional customer service, create a strong brand identity, and offer unique products or services.

The 80–20 principle (where 20 percent of your customers provide 80 percent of your sales) illuminates the value of the heavy user. Today, that relationship is even more non-linear, given that there is a thin line between heavy usage and advocacy. They can be the same person.

Why? Most of us enthusiastically share our enthusiasms — usually it’s because our friends have the same or similar enthusiasms. That’s why we’re friends.

It’s a micro-network.

Importantly, the lifetime total value (LTV) of a zealot is not only the lifetime value of their personal purchases, but the added value of the customers they recruit over their lifetime.

Current buying power plus advocacy make zealots and advocacy the core of any robust brand community.

Your brand community is an acquisition machine in which members recruit new users, pushing growth.

A brand community today is not simply a passive audience. Rather, your brand community is a collective of users who recruit new users and accelerate their growth from newbie to heavy user/advocate — at a fraction of the cost of traditional paid advertising.

Why single out Zealots and Advocates? They are passionate individuals that have a disproportionate impact on the larger group. While the majority of people may be indifferent or only mildly interested in a particular product or cause, your zealots or advocates can inspire others and mobilize them.

By their sheer enthusiasm and commitment, they create a ripple effect that sways opinions and perceptions.

Zealots and advocates inspire and mobilize others to join your brand community. They become so passionate about your success, they create it themselves.

Often, their passion, dedication, and ability to inspire others can be more influential than your own paid Influencers, sales force or co-workers. Find them, then feed them.

NEXT STEPS: Identify the core customer, gain insights from them via qualitative research or shopper data. Then ‘activate’ this audience, and ‘recruit’ lookalikes to build the heavy user core.

Heavy users and Advocates can help companies to:

– Increase brand awareness and loyalty

– Reach new customers

– Drive sales

Provide valuable feedback and insights

– Act as brand ambassadors and promoters.

Now that you know how the few influence the many, find them, nurture them, love them. They are sure to love you back.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Patrick Hanlon, Author of Primal Branding

The Blake Project Can Help You Craft A Brand Advantage In The Strategic Brand Storytelling Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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