Is “Advocacy” part of your Strategic Plan?

I have been helping companies develop their corporate and customer strategic plans for the past 15 years in one capacity or another.  This is a MUST HAVE for any business, regardless of size.  And when I talk about a “Strategic Plan” I am not referring to the type that is built by a consultant to sit in a binder on your bookshelf, only to be updated and dusted off next year when everyone decides it is time to do it again.  No, I am talking about a “living, breathing, ever modifying” plan that is actually used to run your business.

But this post isn’t about how to do strategic planning.  This post is all about asking a few simple questions either before or during your strategic planning process.

The questions are, “Who are our ADVOCATES today?  What are we doing to nurture them and get them talking more about us to their audiences?  What are we providing them, if anything, to arm them with information and content so they can spread it around to others? What are we doing to move our LOYAL customers/clients to ADVOCATES and is this a formal process or just happenstance?  How are we, if we are, obtaining regular feedback from those who talk about us the most, our Advocates? And others…”

These should get your juices flowing and maybe your blood boiling if you are a business owner or CEO and your people are not asking these questions of the company.  After all, advocacy is the “holy grail” of most businesses because it is not only the most “viral” way to connect with new audiences but it also has the most power to reduce your “cost of sale” to close to zero if others are out there selling/promoting/talking about you in an active way.

If you haven’t considered adding this component to your planning efforts, please reconsider.  Those that I have worked with that made this a primary part of their strategy, along with their customer experience, and other operational items, find greater differentiation and an increase in their competitive edge.  In this challenging economy, every little bit helps and if you can move ahead of your competitors by simply leveraging what you already have, I think that is a very solid business practice.  I hope you do as well…

If you have done this and have some success stories of your own, let’s share them with the rest of the world and help everyone that wants to move ahead of their competitors that don’t.

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One Response to Is “Advocacy” part of your Strategic Plan?
  1. Mark D. Walters
    June 2, 2011 | 3:31 pm

    You can spend a lifetime at networking events or you can be more strategic and build an network of reciprocal advocates for your business; people who believe in you and what you do and who actively look for opportunities to promote you. And you do the same for them.

    Networking has its place, but building advocates is the far better way to go.