If you think that celebrity endorsements exist only for B2C, you may be half-right. It’s a popular tactic and there’s no doubt having a famous artist or public figure advocate your brand is the highest form of influence marketing. The logic isn’t even all that complicated. Superstars have fans and if they see a superstar endorsing a particular brand, then they’d be eager to use it too!
On the other hand, B2B industries can have their own version. No industry might demonstrate this better than the tech industry. And what’s unique about this industry is that its superstars have fans both among consumers and big business. However, is brand advocacy via an individual really an effective way to attract ERP leads?
You see, a popular way to generate leads is through another marketing strategy called referral. Brand advocacy is what happens when you enter a very influential industry figure into that strategy. Still, you’d be surprised by at how many decision makers are listening to them. This can be done through testimonials, the actual use of the product itself, and perhaps even an autographed picture mounted on your office wall. If you managed to convince a powerful figure to advocate your ERP solution, then in some way, you’ll have a lot of other curious decision makers coming in (and thus, more ERP leads to qualify).
Now, perhaps a few examples are in order. Take a look at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates; these two CEOs are the biggest examples of brand advocacy because their public image became synonymous with the brands that they represented. In B2B, if you could have involved your business with anything they had a direct hand in, then you could use it to raise your own company’s image. Referrals also aren’t as direct as other popular B2B marketing methods such as telemarketing and email.
All right, here comes the trade off. Brand advocacy has its risks. Some of you might already be thinking that the idea of getting a famous CEO to endorse you is lofty enough, you might also want to know if it’s even worth the effort at all! As a matter of fact, the University of Colorado Boulder published a study saying that the negative perceptions about a celebrity are more likely to transfer to the endorsed brand than positive:
“‘In three different studies, negative celebrity associations always transferred to an endorsed brand, even under conditions when positive associations did not,’ said Campbell, an associate professor of marketing. ‘The overall message to marketers is be careful, because all of us, celebrities or not, have positives and negatives to our personalities and those negatives can easily transfer to a brand.’”
Such words of caution should be heeded by anyone who is considering the role of a major influential figure to influence referrals. The strength of the endorsement lies no longer in just the brand but in the individual endorsing it. Relying on this kind of advocacy is a double-edged sword that can either make or break your ERP software brand. In fact, this isn’t just about tying your brand to celebrities and CEOs but simply tying to a single individual. Everyone’s perception of that individual will be their perception of your brand (hence, the great risk). You should also remember that there are other ways to conduct software lead generation. Traditional methods are still viable. Don’t just bank your marketing efforts on a single approach.