Identifying the 4 types of customer advocates to offer the right requests

An extremely helpful article by Laura Ramos from Forrester shares 4 types of advocates. When I built the advocacy community in one of my last positions, I leaned on this idea heavily. I adopted it as any customer who joined our community was taking a step toward advocacy as they were taking action to get closer to our team. This may not be a perfect approach but it was helpful for segmenting until I had more information and completed tasks from members.

Step 1 Identify your advocates

When members joined the community, I asked them these 2 questions:

How do you want to participate in the community?

  1. Educate others and learn with them in discussion
  2. Provide honest feedback and expertise
  3. Find opportunities to help my career grow
  4. Partner with X company on projects

How can we show our appreciation?

  1. Thank you note
  2. Cash and swag
  3. Access to exclusive content & events
  4. Career opportunities

The first answers matched Laura’s 4 types: Educators, Validators, Status Seekers, and Collaborators.

The second answer came from a question in a post by HubSpot that I’ll discuss later.

Step 2 Understand each type of advocate

I asked this as the first question in our community because I wanted to grab them when I had their attention.

But these answers helped me with more than knowing the type of advocate they could become. They helped me plan.

The people who identified as Educators I could lean on for seeding the community. I followed up by reaching out to ask what topics they were most interested in learning about or sharing. Their answers told me what side of education they were on, and if they wanted to teach others, I asked what topics they liked sharing about, and if I could mention them in future discussions on that topic.

For the Validators, I had two goals in mind: 1) Reviews 2) Product team requests. Since Validators love to share their honest feedback and we always needed reviews, it was a good connection. Secondly, they usually liked to be in beta groups, give feedback on new features, and share in user studies.

It was easy to get these members to hand-raise for product-related feedback, surveys, and user studies; I offered a notification for new requests in this area. But, I often waited to ask them to leave a review until they had 1) participated in an event or in the community where I could talk to them without singling them out, OR 2) they followed through on a product-related request.

I also occasionally ran a campaign for reviews in the bi-weekly advocate newsletter, so if they wanted to do that, they had the opportunity without an extra push from me.

Status Seekers were my favorite. These advocates would often be my top advocates, they wanted to benefit by building their career, so they were open to more requests of various kinds, building a relationship, and trying something new. I would ask what their career goals were, how our company could help either through opportunities or connections, and I’d create unique rewards for them.

Finally, the Collaborators were usually senior team members who wanted to check out the community but were not likely to be regular participants. A collaborator is someone who was more interested in building a partnership with our company, working on bigger projects like an ebook, event, etc.

Step 3 Add the type to their profile

Once a member did identify their interest in joining, I would make sure to add it to their profile. This could probably be automated but make sure you can run a report based on this detail to select advocates to recruit for a certain task quickly.

Why this approach works

While this approach could be improved, I really liked having a place to start with how I considered each advocate in our system. At the time, we were also using Influitive so our advocates had pretty broad access to most of our asks so that they could complete them at their leisure.

I hope you find it helpful; let me know your thoughts on LinkedIn.