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Advocamp Preview: How Reviews Can Transform Advocacy

Julie Neumann
November 27, 2017
9 min read

Advocamp Preview: How Reviews Can Transform Advocacy

We can’t wait to sit around the campfire and meet our fellow customer fanatics Dec. 6-8 at Advocamp! We’re also excited to share the main stage with three of our customers on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 9:25 AM. Julie Perino from Marketo, Michael Beahm from Blackbaud and Davin Wilfrid from QuickBase will discuss how they have successfully used reviews to scale in-depth customer content, increase authenticity and drive results across the entire organization.

We wanted to introduce you to our panelists and give you a preview of what they’ll share during our session on How Reviews Can Transform Advocacy. If you have any questions you’d like them to answer, please let us know in the comments below. 

Julie Perino | Senior Director, Customer Marketing at Marketo

Tell us about your role and how your team is using reviews.

I lead the customer marketing team at Marketo. Essentially, we develop customer stories and bringing those customer voices to life. My program includes the customer voice reviews we do through TrustRadius, the customer reference program, our global user groups, our executive advisory boards, and more.

As a company, we’re blessed with an incredibly passionate customer base, and customers who are really excited about their use of Marketo. All marketers are great at advocating around our own products and services, but it reaches a completely different level when you have customers advocating on your behalf. In 2018 we’re digging in even more to bring that voice of the customer to the surface in every element of our marketing.

TrustRadius has been an incredible partner for us. We’ve seen the program grow over time, and are currently underway with a TrustQuotes for Salesforce pilot program, which is a really exciting way to put that customer voice content to work in sales.

Why should customer marketing teams strategically invest in reviews?

B2B buyers are definitely getting smarter — they want that unvarnished truth, and that’s what reviews do for us. It’s one thing for us to serve up a reference or a case study, but buyers intuitively know that those are all coming from specific satisfied customers, versus the wisdom of their collective peers.

As we scale as a company, reviews help us get more of this content out to other teams faster. We are pulled in so many different directions in customer marketing, often with pretty small but mighty teams. Finding new ways to get lift in your programs and drive advocacy at a higher velocity is huge.

So as you think about your programs, be thoughtful about your mix. What are the most impactful levers you can pull to accelerate your program? How can you get more from less, driving the most impact that you can as quickly as you can, with the resources you have?

For more on how Marketo uses TrustRadius, check out this review from Julie’s colleague Kevin Lau: A must-have addition to any marketer’s toolset 

Michael Beahm | Senior Marketing Manager at Blackbaud

Tell us about your role and how your team is using reviews.

I manage our customer advocacy team for all of Blackbaud. My team is in charge of customer references, customer stories, customer referrals and customer reviews.

Blackbaud has been around for 30 years, and obviously a lot has changed as we’ve transitioned to a cloud company where delighting and retaining customers is very important. We also serve nonprofits, so we have a great customer base to work with. Their mission and their cause are very important to them, they are very passionate, and we really want to capture that voice in our advocacy.

About a year and a half ago we started working with TrustRadius. Reviews are an opportunity to more efficiently tell our customer stories, and I’m also finding a lot of value in reviews as an asset for sales and marketing. My team is producing a lot of customer stories, but a very thorough review has the same effect, and is even more powerful in a way.

How are reviews different from other types of advocacy content?

Reviews give customers the ability to write what they truly feel, rather than having it filtered through the marketing team, which provides much more transparency to the buyers. If I put myself in the shoes of the buyer, that type of authenticity is what I want. Being the first among our competitors to provide this kind of transparency has really delighted our customers.

At Blackbaud, our buyers are educated and thoughtful people, and we need to engage them in thoughtful ways. Instead of giving them one teed-up reference, I can give them multiple third-party reviews to consider. With reviews, you get a broader as well as a more authentic point of view.

Additionally, the review content we get on TrustRadius is repurposable in a million different ways. It is a valuable source of feedback that can make the product better. On marketing side, we are able to highlight things that we know are our key benefits. We’ve seen a lift in conversion by adding customer voice content on landing pages with TrustQuotes for Web. And our biggest internal proponent for TrustRadius has been sales management — they love and advocate for this type of content.

In the end, I believe content will win out. What we found at TrustRadius was a focus on the depth and quality of content, which is why we can use these reviews in so many ways

For more from Michael, check out his review: TrustRadius for Vendors puts the potency of authentic customer feedback to work in B2B

Davin Wilfrid | Senior Manager, Content & Customer Advocacy at QuickBase

Tell us about your role and how your team is using reviews.

I run the customer advocacy, content and PR functions at QuickBase. We see customer advocacy, and reviews in particularly, as a way of driving awareness about our product.

We’ve been working with TrustRadius for about a year and a half, specifically to support a robust review base that supports differentiation in the marketplace. We are in the growing space of no-code application development tools where people build their own business apps — it’s an expanding market with infinite use cases. Reviews are a great way to scale in a manner that is public and can be repurposed in multiple channels.

We want to make sure we’re always in the conversation, so we still cover traditional channels like analyst relations, but we focus on review sites for the more democratic way of discovering software solutions.

What value have you seen from your investment in reviews?

For us, the big value has been sales enablement material. My team does case studies, and there is a never-ending demand for case studies because our platform can be sold to anyone in any company.

So the sales team is constantly submitting request like, “Do we have somebody who works in health care, mid-market, in the HR function?” But it is impossible to go through the whole process of developing a case study for each one of those scenarios. Creating the content, getting approvals, going through legal — it is a lot of work and multi-month process to generate one case study.

With the TrustRadius review management program, we were able to generate about 250 in-depth reviews for QuickBase over the past year. That gives me ability to serve those requests from sales within five minutes. I have yet to come across a situation where I wasn’t able to find something that would work for that salesperson, or where they pushed back and said they wanted a polished case study instead — it just hasn’t happened.

Another big area of value has been content to support our campaigns team. When they do a campaign for a specific persona, or a blog series featuring customers, or a white paper with specific in-depth examples, or a webinar on a certain topic, they turn to my team for help. And sourcing customers for all those use cases can be difficult.

The great thing about TrustRadius is we’ve got all our reviews tagged in the TrustQuotes Library, and we can surface content really quickly by use case, by pain point, by job title, by industry and so on. Once we get a request, we can quickly see there are multiple customers who would be perfect for that campaigns. It has definitely cut down the time it takes to deliver many of the things we promise other teams.

Read Davin’s review for more insights on working with TrustRadius: A vendor’s view of TrustRadius for Vendors

About the Author

Julie Neumann
Julie Neumann was the Director of Content Marketing at TrustRadius, where she focused on educating and engaging our vendors. A journalist turned tech marketer, she has built programs at Yahoo!, MapMyFitness, Bigcommerce, Clearhead and more. Julie has an MA in journalism from the University of Texas and a BA in English and Economics from Vanderbilt University.