ad·vo·cate/ˈadvəkit/

Noun:
A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
Verb:
Publicly recommend or support:

So here’s the thing, like we’ve been saying for a long time, Word of Mouth is kinda like the Holy Grail of advertising. Long before the likes Mad Men came along, it was the recommendation of a friend or family member or a person of influence in our lives that showed us the light. Not today. These days it seems the only time we’re not being bombarded with suggestions on what to buy is when we’re asleep – and even then you know that one of the gazillion images or sounds bytes you got during the day will somehow find its way into your subconscious. It’s like the ultimate brand placement!

This whole Social Commerce ‘movement’ (maybe that’s too strong a word at this early stage) is all about word of mouth on the social networks. The challenge that companies like ours are facing is how can we help facilitate genuine social word of mouth. How can you cultivate brand advocates that will sing your song to the world? What motivates someone to become a brand advocate?

Our answer (at least part of our answer) is to give merchants a tool that allows their customers generate a coupon code based on how active and how connected they are across the social networks. Now, what that coupon is used for, is entirely up to the merchant. Maybe it’s just a straight discount. Maybe it’s a value add, like Free Shipping or a Free Gift. Maybe, it’s access to special VIP only content or a VIP event. So, we figure we’re putting the power in the hands of the merchant while at the same time rewarding customers based on their social cache.
Of course, there are some who say that incentivising Word of Mouth is not the way to go. Those that will only evangelise your brand in return for discount, deal or offer are not really true brand advocates, they say. Indeed, if this graphic below (from the guys at eMarketer ,based on a date from the folks at Zuberance) is anything to go by, you’d have to say they’re right.

But here’s the thing…how many people do you know who will not accept a discount or a special offer in return for doing something they’re already going to do anyway?

Let’s say I was going to buy my new iPad and charge it on my Visa card. There’s a sign at the register saying ‘Save 5% on all purchases when you pay with your Visa card’. Do you think I’m going to say, ‘No thanks. I was going to use my Visa anyway. Please charge me the full amount.’?

HELL NO!

That’s why we genuinely believe our new Social Coupon Tool makes sense. If you’re willing to spend your money to buy something, chances are you believe in that product – ergo, you’re probably happy to recommend it to someone else – ergo, if there was an easy way for you to do that AND get a little something for yourself (by way of a discount, value add, etc) you’d probably be happy to evangelise the brand, right?

Hey Presto! You’re now a brand advocate!

Not because you got something extra, but because you genuinely like the brand & believe in it.

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