Today’s brands are more focused on going straight to their customers to get inside their minds and cater to their needs than ever before. They’re proactive in fostering relationships and earning loyalty rather than relying on their next big product or next big ad campaign to do the talking (and selling) for them.
To build brand advocates, companies should seek answers to the following questions:
- How do they feel about the product?
- How are people using the product?
- What are the programmatic steps that brands have put into place to help them talk about the product?
This approach is the very foundation of building brand advocates because advocacy doesn’t happen all by itself. You need to have a strategy and plan in place to listen to your customers, understand them at a deeper level, and use that insight to encourage them to share their stories of how your brand, products, and services have helped them.
To do this, the first step for researchers is to figure out what you need to know about your customers and what your customers need from you to advocate for your brand.
Here’s how qualitative research can guide your brand advocacy strategy.
Using Qualitative Research to Support the Advocacy Stage of the Customer Lifecycle
The pace of change is accelerating. New technologies allow for faster product creation, accelerated brand launches, and a change in consumer demands. As buyer preferences shift, new competitors enter the market, and new concepts evolve, your company will need to adapt its advocacy strategy so customers continue to be champions for your product.
Brands should first consider the strategies they have in place to build brand advocacy, such as loyalty programs, social media promotions, or referral bonuses. Look at how these programs work, how effective the programs are, and whether they serve your customers’ expectations.
Qualitative research plays an important role in getting people involved in these strategies. When customers are part of this conversation, you have a better chance of earning brand advocacy because you’re demonstrating you understand their needs and are willing to listen to what they want from you.
What Can Qualitative Research Reveal to Support Brand Advocacy?
The questions brands must ask to build brand advocacy vary greatly from those asked in other stages of the customer lifecycle. At this stage, people have already purchased your product, so your goal is to understand their after-purchase sentiments. General questions at the advocacy stage may include:
- Did the product fill your needs?
- When it’s time to upgrade the product, would you choose a newer version of what you purchased from us?
- What do you like or dislike about the product?
- What would you change about the product?
- Has a competitor created a better product that would cause you to abandon this product?
- What will it take to maintain your loyalty?
Other advocacy questions may be specific to either a B2B or B2C audience. For instance, for a B2C audience, advocacy questions might include:
- What do you love about the product or service?
- How has it helped you?
- What would cause you to return the product to the store?
- How likely are you to tell your friends or family about this product?
- How likely are you to talk about this product on social media?
- How do you use this product?
- How often would you say that you use this product?
For B2B audiences, some potential advocacy questions could include:
- How has our product/service changed your work? Where have we helped? What use cases have we impacted?
- How can we (your vendor/partner/supplier) help you with your career objectives?
- Do you want to be more visible in the industry through articles, webinar participation, speaking engagements?
- How do you want to be perceived within your company (thought leader, company champion, etc.)?
Having consumer conversations at this stage in the customer lifecycle can help brands recognize what brand advocacy looks like and how it should function, and allow you to better execute your advocacy strategies.
One technology company that uses Discuss.io’s platform shares how it initiated these conversations with customers in their homes to gain insight into how they’re using a specific type of speaker.
The company followed up with consumers to see how they were using a new Bluetooth speaker and how the product lived up to expectations. Customers demonstrated where the speakers were placed in their homes and talked about everything from size and shape to color and sound quality.
Through this qualitative research, the company determined that consumers regularly hear about the products through interpersonal recommendations. Many already own a product of the brand’s and upgrade to a newer model. When it comes to making a buying decision, the path is rarely linear. Most consumers will read online reviews and/or visit the product in person to make a final decision.
Knowing these insights that encourage buying behaviors, the company now has valuable data that can be applied across the customer lifecycle, from product design to point-of-sale aesthetics.
How Discuss.io Facilitates Relationship-Building
Online reviews and social media chatter can reveal some of the above details, but live conversations give brands the benefit of connecting deeply with real customers. It creates an opportunity to collect trustworthy, first-party data that can influence your efforts moving forward and build real customer empathy into your company’s DNA.
Discuss.io is a purpose-built platform designed to help major brands and their agencies connect with their customers for conversations that capture insights that help businesses generate a deeper level of understanding that drive smarter decisions, faster.
Much more than just another video conferencing tool, Discuss.io is uniquely designed to capture the voice of the customer at scale and share actionable customer insights with collaborators, infusing consumer empathy throughout your entire organization.
By enabling consumer conversations during the advocacy stage, brands can take control of gaining the insights they need to build loyalty for life.
- Advocacy is far more valuable than any ad or commercial, and it can reach and influence others in a way that no conventional form of marketing can.
- Creating brand advocates requires companies to look at how they enable customers to talk about their products and the programs they’ve implemented to encourage advocacy.
- Qualitative research can reveal important insights into product usage and consumer satisfaction, which can be used to support other phases of the customer lifecycle.
Get a demo today to see how Discuss.io facilitates ongoing customer research that can help you build brand advocates.