cuspera logo CUSPERA

Advocacy Marketing Software 2021: A Complete Guide

Advocacy Marketing is a marketing technique wherein existing customers of a brand or a company act as advocates for their products or services. Advocacy Marketing helps in growing the business and gaining market share. For Advocacy Marketing to work, it is important for businesses to first establish happy customers and then those happy customers share their positive experiences with others. Learn what is Advocacy Marketing, why it is important and how to choose the right Advocacy Marketing software.

Last updated: Apr 22, 2021

Advocacy Marketing Software 2021: A Complete Guide

What is Advocacy Marketing?

Advocacy marketing is the process of leveraging the customer-speak to power your new customer acquisition. Advocacy marketing requires first that you have happy customers, then they help you gain market share.

Advocacy Marketing is about getting your most enthusiastic existing customers to talk about and evangelize your company and its products. Referral marketing is about positive peer to peer influence that can be brought about by your current customers on potential new customers. Thus, Advocacy marketing works at a group level – and meant to scale for the brand, referral marketing works at a personal level. As you can see, these two types of marketing go hand in hand and can’t be cleanly separated.

One of the best examples of Advocacy marketing is how Apple used the photos shot on the iPhone by its customers on billboards, public transit as a way to evangelize the iPhone camera capabilities.

“Eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family,” according to the Nielsen Global Trust (2015). This statistic is about referral marketing. Apple handpicking 70 odd photos out of thousands submitted from 24 countries for their advertisement campaign is Advocacy marketing.

Traditionally, advocacy marketing focused on case studies and testimonials. In the new world, order, vlogs, videos, blogs all come into play.

How does one recruit an advocate? Of course, one would have to ask – ask a satisfied customer. It will significantly help if it is fun to advocate your brand, not a tedious affair.

Along with gaining advocates who are ready to champion your cause, you should also ensure that you can make the advocacy visible where it makes sense – on your product, a website, your social media page, so on.

Finally, it is essential to acknowledge and recognize your advocates.

Advocacy marketing works because one gets to hear the message from different sources. The more people advocate you, the newer potential customers likely to trust the recommendation.

Another reason for advocacy marketing to work is the fact that when one is not a subject matter expert can’t make a choice based on their own knowledge, one tends to seek out opinions.

Here are some great examples that you would want to look up to gain more understanding:

  • #tweetacoffee campaign by Starbucks
  • KBC’s campaign on using WhatsApp to interact with the bank
  • Tesla’s referral program
  • “Shot on iPhone” campaign by Apple

An IDC report, How To Achieve Customer Advocacy Program Success in 2017, has found that customer advocacy programs have grown 570 percent year over year among B2B vendors.

That has shifted a lot with social media and with the idea of applying gamification to allow companies to thank, reward, and recognize customers for doing things for them


Laura Ramos

Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester

Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy is a type of Advocacy Marketing. Employees know the business and products. In other words, they have inside knowledge. Customers seeking insights perceive this inside knowledge as valuable.

The bulk of employee advocacy happens on social media, and there are now efforts to organize and channel the same.

As in the case of a customer advocacy program, this type of advocacy requires guidelines, support, rewards, so on.

“Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels” per Social Media Today

“Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads.” per Marketing Advisory Network

Finally, we can say that ad clutter and the emergence of influential social media have led to the strengthening of the advocacy marketing position. Advocacy marketing avoids ad clutter and is able to reach the target audience. The pervasive use of social media led to an entirely new focus for advocacy – Social Media Advocacy.

Social Media Advocacy

Advocacy marketing used to be about testimonials, so on. Now, with the all-pervasive social media, “Social Media Advocacy” has gained a significant edge. Social Media Advocacy is simply about leveraging customers that are delighted with your product, on social media. With Social Media Advocacy, you would add a qualifying criterion of social media presence while selecting the advocates. In social media advocacy, you not only need to be good at advocacy marketing but have a nuanced understanding of working the social media. However, having a strong social media presence for the brand is a prerequisite for social media advocacy.

You would need to assess which regulations, if any, apply to Social Media Advocacy. As an example, healthcare has one of the most complex regulations in place. HIPAA has stringent rules on how health-based companies should operate in the digital world.

Other regulatory bodies that we recommend you consider are:

  • FTC (the Federal Trade Commission) - Make all reasonable efforts to know what endorsed partners and advocates are saying about your brand
  • FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)
  • The Office for Civil Rights (HIPAA)
  • SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission) - Maintain all social communication records

Benefits of Advocacy Marketing

What is the objective of the advocacy program?

  • If it is a short-term objective (as an example, a new product launch) of quickly creating awareness, then solutions such as a Celebrity Endorsement work well.
  • If the objective has a longer-term horizon such as sustained customer acquisition, then an advocacy program best fits the bill, but it does take more effort to build.
Benefits of Advocacy Marketing

Your best advocates are those who genuinely love your offering. While you should have rewards and recognition for your advocates, their advocacy shouldn’t be paid endorsements.

Advocacy marketing helps validate the brand, building trust that the brand delivers to its promises. Advocacy marketing thus effectively helps create trusted channels for your potential customers.

UGC (user-generated content) can help drive more brand engagement. Advocacy marketing will then automatically help increase brand engagement as it relies on UGC by the advocates.

Advocacy marketing has been benchmarked to reduce customer acquisition costs.

There is a less well-known benefit of advocacy marketing that increases brand loyalty among your most ardent customers – perhaps because of their increased engagement with the brand.

Advocacy marketing has a role in improving the customer experience as it involves active engagement with the customers and their profiles. Different teams in the company can use this data.

In a B2B context, advocates share best practices and thereby help create a customer community. With the pervasive use of social media for customer support, this sharing practice is highly beneficial to your customer base.

MVP customer program has more than 180 advocates contributing roughly 80 percent of community content and answering more than 35 percent of online forum questions.


Advocacy marketing can’t help a bad product gain market share. However, when the product has a differentiated value proposition or a new introduction, advocacy marketing can give that product a good marketing boost.

What is Advocacy Marketing Software?

Advocacy marketing software can help you find an advocate from among your loyal customer base, and engage with them. It can also segment them so you can personalize your approach to the advocates.

The software will also serve as a repository of all the social and online proof that is now available for your organizational use.

Companies are struggling to actually measure brand advocacy in the market and to demonstrate its impact. For that reason, the Boston Consulting Group created a tool called the Brand Advocacy Index (BAI), which measures brand advocacy with precision, displays a strong correlation with top-line growth, and helps companies identify actionable steps to take to improve brand advocacy.


Leah Bury

The product will also be a way to increase customer engagement with your brand. This engagement, for instance, can make your product more customer-centric.

It will also help manage and drive community-driven discussions. (A right solution will have support for many different advocacy channels from Facebook to blog posts).

It will also help with campaign management - creation, promotion, dissemination, and tracking.

Some of the advanced software has gamification built in to make the advocacy a fun engagement. Rewards fulfillment is also part of such software solutions.

The software solutions typically focus either on customer-led advocacy or employee-led advocacy.

Which are the industries and users that benefit Advocacy Marketing Software?

Marketing or advocacy teams in a wide range of industries use an Advocacy marketing software.

Advocacy as a medium is widely used in influencing government policies, as well as in charitable fund-raising.

Looking for right software for your Advocacy Marketing needs?

wyz, your personal AI advisor

Get AI-generated personalized recommendation by answering a few questions on your Advocacy Marketing needs

Buyer’s Guide - Guide to choose an Advocacy Marketing Software

While searching for the Advocacy Marketing Software, you need to upfront factor in

  • Ability to customize workflows, access control, recruitment and registration of advocates

Buyers are recommended to consider peer reviews and expert opinions that are extensively available on Cuspera before making buying decisions. Cuspera’s AI based engine guides you through the requirement process to help you choose the right software.

Go to Cuspera
  • Information sharing portal
  • Need for simultaneous campaigns with different goals/segments, so on.
  • Reward management
  • Types of Advocates (Employees, Customers, Partners)
  • Advocacy channels supported

One critical dimension, often ignored, is the volume and velocity side of advocacy marketing. How many messages? How frequently does the messaging happen? How many advocates? How regularly does the list of advocates change? You need to factor how these will change over time, as it will determine the scale that needs to be handled by the product.

Please consider the social media advocacy dimensions discussed earlier in the document

Integrations with your existing software stack in another vital consideration – reward fulfillment platforms, marketing automation, content management system, so on.

It is essential to evaluate whether the particular advocacy marketing software has any vertical, geo, or another kind of a focus that makes it more suitable for your needs. Advocates typically have a narrow vertical, geo, market (mid-market vs. enterprise vs. small) profile. Your chosen solution should be able to help you select these advocates based on this dimension.

There is also the distinction on whether the software will be on the cloud or on-premises.

Finally, evaluate whether the benefits of AI in the selected software provide excellent ROI.

Some of the well-known players in Advocacy marketing are Ambassify, GaggleAMP, Influitive AdvocateHub, Hootsuite, Bambu by Sprout Social, Swagbucks, so on

Challenges in Deploying an Advocacy Marketing Software Solution

  • Keeping the Personal Element intact is a crucial challenge as you grow your advocacy marketing. Building a relationship with each of the advocates, personalizing them can make a big difference to the success of the program.
  • If you are running an employee advocacy program:
  • Getting them to think that they co-own advocacy marketing is a big step and requires change management.
  • Employees also fear of making missteps. A program that provides support to the employees in such a dilemma will help employees participate more readily.
  • Employees are not always aware of the regulatory requirements. You will want to decide if you need some sort of curation of the employee published content.
  • Identifying the right advocates is not easy. Some known approaches to determining the advocates are:
  • Mining the social media data for your brand to see if you can id the ambassadors.
  • Run a marketing campaign to help surface the brand advocates. (Starbucks did this with their #tweetacoffee campaign)

Advances in Advocacy Marketing

Marketing increasingly more about a conversation than broadcasting. Advocacy programs fall right in place from that perspective, especially when you listen to the feedback coming from the advocacy channels.

Advocacy Marketing and AI

AI-based tools are emerging to mine and identify possible brand ambassadors from the wealth of online data, including social media. This effort involves identifying the right kind of profiles and what the customers think about the brand, so on. This approach also seems to eliminate fraudulent participants. (In influencer marketing, brand affinity and content analysis are already part of AI-based solutions).

ROI for Advocacy Marketing

Return on Word of Mouth says that the report found that “Word of mouth drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is responsible for an average of 13 percent of sales!


Brad Fay

COO, Keller Fay Group

App Data Room reports that a 12% increase in advocacy generates a 200% increase in revenue growth rate.

Customers referred by other customers, have a 37% higher retention rate. (Source: Deloitte)

“Robust advocacy-marketing programs are achieving significant revenue gains—10 to 20 percent for established products and up to 100 percent for new products”, according to BCG's research

Which of these 77 Advocacy Marketing software fit your needs?

wyz, your personal AI advisor

Get AI-generated right fit software based on peer experience in just a minute.

77 Advocacy Marketing Software