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As most of you know, I am quite the critic when it comes to hosting an event. But I will say that Influitive really hit the nail on the head with this one. The theme was built out perfectly and didn’t edge on the side of tacky, which definitely could have happened given its camping theme.
Mark Organ, Jim Williams, and the rest of the team did an amazing job building out the content. The keynote sessions combined inspirational thought leadership with tactical takeaways that we could all start using immediately. Further presentations showcasing detailed peer examples of exceptional advocate programs delivered on exactly what I was hoping to see.
All the presentations will be available shortly, and I certainly recommend checking them out when you get a chance! But while you're waiting, here is a recap of one of my favorite sessions from marketing thought leader and author ofHug Your Haters, Jay Baer.
Baer took the stage with Wednesday’s kickoff, and really got the crowd excited. His presentation was around the notion of “hugging your haters,” and boy did he know his audience. This was a great presentation to really resonate and tie together the whole experience at advocamp.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when you go to a conference and they have this big-name speaker who can’t relate to the audience one bit and you sit there wondering “why is this person here right now?”
Jay continued to tell us about the power of response. It all started with consumer brands having to deal with the freedom of feedback in public forums around their products and experiences that they provide to their customers. But now, it has also opened up to the B2B market with things like G2Crowd and TrustRadius.
Our customers now have a place to go and publicly either profess their love to the brand (hopefully), or get something off their chest that’s not so flattering. The main point that Jay wanted to get across was the power of response when responding to those negative or positive reviews. Showing your customers and advocates that you take the time to read through all your reviews and put the effort in to help resolve the issue will increase your overall number of advocates substantially.
“Create Advocates by out hugging your competition” - Jay Baer
Now, don’t think this is the silver bullet. As marketers, we all know there is no silver bullet to pretty much anything. I say this because Jay continues his presentation by differentiating between the two different types of negative responders. He defines them as OnStage Haters and Off Stage Haters.
You could probably guess the difference between these two, but it is important to really understand them both. Not only will it help you learn to deal with each one individually, but it will also help to set your expectations going into it.
These are the best types to deal with. Yes, I’m sure you’re thinking how could that possibly be – they are complaining about my product. But the thing to note is that these are the people who are only saying what’s on their mind because they’re truly looking for an answer. Your best bet when you see something like this is to alert their Customer Success Manager and make sure that they get an email or a phone call out to that person immediately. By solving their issue, they will be more than grateful and well on their way to becoming a great advocate to your company.
Side note: Baer states that not only should you call and handle their issue personally, but also return back to their review to comment on how you worked through the issue. This will show your other customers how much you care, and that if they have a problem you’ll be there to answer it.
Alright here we go, the OnStage Haters. We all know who these people are and we constantly struggle with how we are going to deal with them. But there is one thing to keep in the front of your mind with OnStage Haters – remember that they are complaining just to complain.
You can go ahead and try to resolve any issues they may have in a number of different ways, but at the end of the day this person will never be happy. Who knows, you may not even have been the main cause of their issue – they could just be having a bad day and needed to throw shade in a certain direction and your company was the first to pop up.
Handle these situations with care, and don’t get worked up or take it personally. Give them a call, and email them personally to see what you can do to put out the fire. Make sure that you are being honest throughout the conversation, even if it hurts. The OnStage Hater will realize this and it may help diffuse the situation much faster.
The theme of the conference pointed to customer success as the new frontier in marketing, and it’s something we should all be leaning toward. As you look at setting up your priorities for 2016, I’d definitely suggest building out your customer marketing programs, and plan to attend Advocamp in 2017! I definitely will have it on my list.