Dan McCall, CEO
We’ve come a long way since publications such as Consumer Reports changed the landscape for product vendors and advertisers in the 1960s. A new generation of consumers was emerging who wanted independent and validated facts on the products and services they were buying. By the time the Internet hit its stride in the 1990s, a sea-change of buying behavior was occurring. Companies such as Amazon, Yelp, and Tripadvisor led a new generation of technology-savvy buyers to make purchasing decisions based on user reviews while ignoring traditional marketing channels. By 2020 users/ customers have become the loudest and most effective voice to influence buying behavior, impacting every company in every industry.
As companies embraced this change in buying behavior, customer centricity and customer success became the mantra of CEOs worldwide. In 2010, Influitive was founded with the goal of amplifying the voice of the happy customer. This was the dawn of Advocacy Marketing and the emergence of Customer Marketing as a core element of marketing in customer-centric organizations.
We are helping the world’s most successful B2B and B2C companies build partnerships with their customers using the extraordinary power of advocates
“It’s not rocket science,” opines Dan McCall, an executive with a wealth of experience in marketing and the CEO of Influitive. “If customer proof is required before someone will buy your product or service, you better have a strategy to find your happy customers and enable them to tell your story.”
Innovation Drives Engagement
According to McCall, Influitive was the first platform to enable customer advocacy in a systematic and programmatic way, enabling companies to scale their customer marketing efforts. Influitive has innovated in three primary areas:
Personalization: Every piece of content in the Influitive platform is personalized and targeted to an individual and is Influenced by what they tell a company about themselves or their actions as customers. Personalization has become a core requirement of marketing in this decade and customers expect their vendors to know who they are and to have relevant and meaningful content delivered to them.
Recognition/Rewards: Influitive recognized that a core motivator for many people is simply being thanked for their efforts. In everyday life this takes the form of phrases like “I thank you from the bottom of my heart” for something deeply meaningful to a simple “thanks” for holding open a door. In Influitive’s platform the “Thank You” takes the form of points/badges/rewards, oftentimes called Gamification but more accurately termed “Engagement Mechanics”. Companies often mistake points and rewards as a tit-for-tat transactional mechanism similar to airline miles loyalty programs. In the world of customer success it is not.
It is simply a way of recognizing customers when they do the things you want them to do and need them to do to be successful. Don’t think of gift cards, think instead of meaningful recognition for helping your company or helping themselves be more successful as a customer.
Changes in the retail markets are forcing brands to engage directly with their customers to gather what the marketing industry is calling ‘Zero-party’ data
Flexibility: The world of customer engagement is evolving. Companies are looking to bring together disparate functions like self-service customer support, online events, training/ education and advocacy programs under a single umbrella. Influitive is the only platform in the market that can bring those four areas together in one platform. At the same time, Influitive can embed it’s engagement mechanics in other vendors’ solutions and become the glue that stitches the customer experience together.
Illuminating the Path to Marketing Success
Elaborating on how businesses can benefit from Influitive’s platform, McCall shares a success story wherein the popular soft drink brand Mountain Dew partnered with Influitive to create a community of its raving fans called “Dew Nation”. Thousands of loyal customers engage in the platform every day to share their passion for the brand. One innovative program asked customers to submit their recipes for dips, entrées, desserts, and cocktails that feature Mountain Dew and its many flavors as the star ingredient. The best entries were then published in “The Big Bold Book of MTN DEW Recipes.” While this creative marketing campaign was a huge success, Mountain Dew uses the platform in a variety of ways to collect data on its customers, reducing their reliance on retailers for similar information. Mountain Dew now taps its consumers directly and gains actionable insights about their customers, including where they live and what they like to do.
“Changes in the retail markets are forcing brands to engage directly with their customers to gather what the marketing industry is calling ‘Zero-party’ data,” says McCall. “Why buy anonymized data from a retailer, assuming they will even sell it, when you can build a community of your customers and just ask them your questions directly?”
These changes and the collection of Zero-party data are impacting every company in every industry. Privacy laws are dictating what third-party data will be available and under what terms. The power is moving back to the buyer and smart companies like Adobe, ADP, Cisco, HPE, and IBM realize that they need to engage with their customers directly and rely on the Influitive platform to accomplish this at scale.
Catalyzing a New Era of Customer Advocacy
The worlds of marketing, customer success, and customer experience are evolving and colliding. The “North Star” has become the ability to provide a personalized, omni-channel journey for each customer or prospect.
As the market evolves, Influitive is expanding its offering. Today, Influitive’s technology integrates across a variety of technologies supporting the customer lifecycle. In the future both the breadth of these technologies and the ease of integrating with them will accelerate and Influitive’s own platform will become more accessible through the expansion of its public APIs and developer program.
“There’s a reason Influitive has been voted a leader in Customer Advocacy and Community Management for 15 straight quarters by G2 and was recently named a Top 100 Software Company, '' says CEO McCall. “We no longer have to educate customers on what it means to be customer centric. We just need to explain how Influitive can help them accomplish that goal—both now and in the future.”