How to Include Customers as Part of Your Marketing Team

Customers on Marketing TeamWhat if your customers ran your company or were a part of your marketing team? Or, were in charge of your customer service, ran your product team, or managed your branding? Guess what – they already do. Word-of-mouth has always placed control of your marketing into the hands of consumers, and social media sites like Facebook have only intensified this.

Including Customers on Your Marketing Team

The “upside-down funnel” (read this if you haven’t already) – also called the hourglass model or bowtie – is old-fashioned word-of-mouth. But now it’s measurable and able to be amplified through social media sites like Facebook. However, most of us don’t see the impact, because we’re only looking at Google Analytics.

Our world has changed from being just about websites because most of your reach and engagement is not on a website you control – it is in social media.

Make the Customer-Based Marketing Team Your Content Production Machine

Some traditional marketers think they can control their customers like in the old days of TV and print. Back then, media distribution ran through a constrained bottleneck of a handful of media properties. Now that bottleneck is busted wide open, as anyone can amplify their voice to be heard. For example, Dennis Yu once shared how Hotwire gave him the wrong room and initially failed to correct the mistake. He ran Facebook ads at a dollar a day, targeting people who work at Hotwire, and he got it resolved within 2 days—with a full refund.

Now, and in the future, the customer is your marketing team – their combined voices far outweigh the company’s voice. And they have a lot more credibility since people trust their friends. They are wary of brands and are allergic to advertising. This is especially true of video, which has nearly 5 billion video views on Facebook each day. Add in YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat and there are over 15 billion video views per day.

Marketers always need a bigger budget and a bigger staff so, what if you turned your customers into your content production machine? And what if you could get them to do it for free?

Understand Tracking and Measuring Social Media ROI

The truth is, customers have always been handling a large part of any business’s marketing and they have been doing it for free by word-of-mouth, which can now be done on a grander scale through Facebook and other social media sites. The reason businesses may not see the effect is because they have not had the ability to measure it.

When we speak at conferences, the #1 question we get is “How do we measure social media ROI?” Or something along those lines, because marketers and businesses want to know why Facebook conversion numbers don’t jive with Google Analytics. They wonder if perhaps Facebook is inflating their numbers, double-counting conversions, or otherwise measuring “wrong.”

Facebook’s Impact is Undercounted Due To:

  • Site-wide SSL issues – drops referral information
  • Cross-device issues – for example, 41% of users complete their transaction on another device: start on phone, finish on desktop, etc.
  • Your pixels are broken – fix the “plumbing” steps
  • A residual effect – time lag between impression and eventual conversion, especially in considered purchases like B2B
  • Un-trackable impact when the traffic goes into offline channels

When you set up funnel sequences, you can start to track audiences as they move from Facebook to your website to your email to search results to eventual conversion. The flight of the bumblebee may be erratic, but it gives you the ability to track them. And when you do, you’ll come full circle into realizing what the small-town shopkeeper who remembers his customers’ names has always realized – having a great product or service, amplified by personalization and targeted word-of-mouth campaigns, is just as important today as it was in years past.

Your Marketing Team – Powered by Word-of-Mouth!

The more data and technology we use, the more we realize that word-of-mouth has always been the most powerful channel for marketing. Because of this, you can see marketing as being less about creating messages and more about creating a better user experience, then finding ways to further delight your best customers. This, in turn, will get your customers to start spreading the news about your business, products and services to those that trust them on Facebook and other social media sites, and expanding your marketing team with each new happy customer.

How have your customers helped your marketing efforts recently? Share your story in the comments below.

Logan Young

Logan specializes in Digital Marketing. He graduated from BYU with a degree in Advertising. He is an international speaker and has been featured in multiple marketing podcasts and webinars.

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Logan Young