Why do evangelism/advocacy?

In this post I’ll explain the value of evangelism/advocacy programs vs traditional sales and marketing tactics.

“Why would a company hire someone with no sales or marketing experience to help drive product adoption?”

More and more companies large and small are hiring evangelists and advocates. I spent 8 years in these types of roles at Microsoft. I am a coder. I have a bachelors degree in electrical engineering. The closest I came to a business course was a first year economics course. Why would a company hire someone with no sales or marketing experience to help drive product adoption? The answer: ‘authenticity’.

Sales person telling me an API is great vs person at computer coding telling me API is great

Trust the coder

For some people, the word ‘sales’ can have negative connotations. I have visions of someone at a used car lot trying to convince me the 8 year old Mustang in front of me was only driven on Sundays to and from church or a phone call interrupting my dinner offering a special discount on duct cleaning.

Where do we turn when we want advice on which product to purchase? Looking for running shoes with better traction? The website may tell me this shoe has “unsurpassed grip on any surface” but can I believe them?

Most of us turn to our friends, our peers, and ‘experts’.  I use the term experts loosely, because with the advent of the internet there is a plethora of experts out there ready to give you advice on everything from the how to tell if an avocado is ripe to which phone games I should try if I like Candy Crush.

When I am trying to find a running shoe with better traction, I want a review from an actual runner. I want advice from someone I can relate to, someone who speaks my language, someone who understands the challenges I face training and racing through Canadian winters. I trust a fellow runner to go beyond the ‘marketing pitch’ and let me know is the traction good for ice or mud? is the shoe light or heavy? how stiff is the sole? is it waterproof?

salesperson telling me shoe is has great traction vs runner in snow telling me show has good traction

Trust the runner

When I am coding and want to explore a text analytics service to detect emotion, I want advice from another coder. Someone who understands the hidden hassles of coding. I want to hear from someone who installed the libraries, got the API key, and figured out  which parameters I need to set in the HTTP headers. Oh, and hey, since you went through all that, can you please give me a video or GitHub repo with detailed instructions so I can don’t have to mess around with all that and I can get my own code up and running quickly.

The runner and the coder speak with an authentic voice, they have real world experience I can relate to, so I am more likely to believe and trust them. They can also provide information that a marketing or sales person might not realize I need.

“Advocates and evangelists do NOT replace traditional sales and marketing”

Advocates and evangelists do not replace traditional sales and marketing. They complement them. They provide an authentic voice representing your product to your target audience.

Advocates and evangelists are paid employees who represent your product. They should work with your sales and marketing teams. They may report into your sales and marketing division.

I realize this is just an introduction to the concept and if you are trying to get an evangelism/advocacy team up and running you likely have more questions: What skills should they have? Should they have quotas? What’s the difference between an evangelist and an advocate? What type of person would I hire for the role? Maybe you have other questions.  Leave your questions below or your compliments on my amazing art work 😉 and I will try to answer them in future posts. So stay tuned! If you can’t wait for the next post, just send me a note on LinkedIn!

If you found this post helpful you may want to read the next post: Evangelism vs Advocacy

One response to this post.

  1. […] Having evangelists or advocates can benefit your company hopefully this post helped you understand the difference in philosophy between them. Coming soon, I’ll talk about the importance of defining goals for an evangelism or advocacy program. […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: