Do you know which factors significantly impact the customers’ buying decisions? Any guess? Well, it is definitely not social media marketing. Rather, 92% of customers look forward to their peers for recommendations or reviews about a certain product or service.
Now, what does that mean? The answer is simple; word of mouth is still the strongest medium of marketing. Businesses use this word-of-mouth marketing to their advantage. They “convert” their loyal customers, employees, and employees’ family & friends to their marketing campaigners or advocates.
In business terms, we call this marketing strategy “Evangelism Marketing”. I am pretty sure that this may be something new for most of us. That is why we are going to discuss evangelism marketing in detail. Let’s get started!
What Is Evangelism Marketing?
Evangelism marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing where a business organization tries to develop loyal customers (or evangelists) that promote the product(s) or service(s) of that company voluntarily.
Not only customers, but the employees (their friends and family) of that business also work as the marketing advocates of the company. In short, evangelism marketing is a type of marketing where a business uses people (that are already loyal to that business) as their marketing advocates.
Characteristics of Evangelism Marketing
Here are some important characteristics of Evangelism Marketing;
- Evangelism Marketing Is Built By, And Around People. The concept of evangelism marketing revolves around the people (loyal customers). The organization converts those loyal customers into evangelists to promote its products or services. It is important to note that evangelists do this voluntarily.
- Long Term Marketing Strategy. It is not a short-term marketing tactic. Rather, it is generally a part of a business’s overall marketing strategy in the long run. The idea is to urge the evangelists to promote your products or services in their social circle continuously.
- Evangelism Marketing Is Purely Customer-Driven. This marketing strategy is purely customer-driven. Your loyal customers promote your products or services to your potential customers without any intervention from your side.
- Independent Form of Marketing. It is more of an organic approach where the business doesn’t have any influence. Yes, a business can try to make loyal customers. However, in the end, it is the customers who promote the product(s) independently and voluntarily. In short, you cannot buy evangelism; you can earn it.
- Cost-effective. Evangelism is totally free of cost. Yes, it is a free medium of marketing because your customers promote your products or brand voluntarily. The only cost you have to bear is converting your customers into loyal customers.
Types of Evangelism Marketing
Evangelism marketing works differently for different organizations. Here are three conventional forms of evangelism marketing.
Brand Evangelism Marketing
It is a form of evangelism marketing in which your customers or evangelists share a positive image of your brand and product line. For instance, a loyal customer of PepsiCo may vouch for PepsiCo’s different products such as Pepsi Cola, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, 7-Up, Lay’s, etc.
Chief Evangelism Marketing
In this form of evangelism marketing, your loyal customers spread positive information about your business generally. The evangelist may talk about your company policies, subsidiaries, associated brands, etc. For example, a PepsiCo lover may talk about its subsidiaries such as Frito-Lay, Walkers, Tropicana, Gamesa, etc.
Product Evangelism Marketing
Product evangelism marketing, as the name suggests, is when your loyal customer only talks about one of your products and not the company as a whole. For example, if someone loves Pepsi cola but doesn’t like 7-Up or Mountain Dew, they will just praise Pepsi-Cola, not the whole product line.
Advantages of Evangelism Marketing
- Cost-Effective. One of the best things about evangelism marketing? It is totally free of cost. A business doesn’t have to pay a single penny to the evangelists. Just build a loyal customer base, and they will preach about your business in their social and professional circle.
- Strengthens Customer Relationship. Evangelism is only possible when your customers are super satisfied with your products or services. When they are happy, they feel more attached to your brand and products. In short, evangelism marketing is a great way to nurture your relationship with your customers.
- Evangelists Provide Support To The Company. Evangelists are your brand or product advocates. They spread a positive image of your brand in their social circle, groups, and communities. This way, they support your overall marketing strategies and allow you to focus on other things. Surely a wonderful addition to your marketing campaigns, aren’t they?
- Trust Building. People often look for suggestions and recommendations from their trustable sources. So, if a potential customer asks an evangelist for recommendations, it will surely build the customer’s trust in that brand or product. No doubt, evangelists can play an integral role in building customers’ trust.
- Viral Growth. Another good thing about evangelism is that it can literally go viral. Evangelists can spread information like jungle fire and attract a lot of potential customers in a very short span of time.
- Maximum Product or Brand Information. Customers don’t buy a product unless they know everything about it. For example, customers always inquire about the features, benefits, or possible shortcomings of the product. That is why they prefer someone who has already used the product and is trustworthy. This is where evangelists come in very handy.
Disadvantages of Evangelism Marketing
- Not Measurable. Unlike other marketing types, you cannot accurately measure the results of evangelism marketing. For instance, you cannot find out how many potential customers came to you after being referred by an evangelist. Besides, evangelists may make fake claims about their efforts as well; pretty difficult to measure the results.
- Evangelism Marketing Requires a Lot Of Time. Now think about it; you have to win your customers’ trust and make them loyal to you. After that, you can expect them to promote your product or service. So it will definitely take some time. Moreover, the evangelists also have to win the trust of a specific group or community so that they can refer your brand to them. Consumers nowadays are pretty sharp, and they can easily spot “fake evangelists.”
- Businesses Have No Control Over the Results. If evangelism marketing goes wrong, it will be a nightmare for any brand. But can it go wrong? Yes, it sure can, and mainly due to improper communication. The worst part is, if things start going south, they are extremely hard to control.
- Not Suitable for Every Business. This strategy is not a “one size fits all” marketing option. It needs a lot of time and patience, and most business organizations don’t have this luxury; they cannot wait that long for things to happen. In fact, evangelism marketing is more useful for organizations that have already established a good reputation in the market.
Examples of Evangelism Marketing
Chubbies sells swim trunks and men’s shorts while using evangelism marketing as an integral part of their marketing strategy. Their shorts have a shorter inseam than usual, and the idea is to make the customer the hero.
Chubbies offer maximum customer satisfaction in different ways;
- The company urges the customers to take photos while wearing chubbies’ shorts.
- They go the extra mile to make sure the customer is happy.
For instance, one of their customers lost his shorts (somebody stole them) in the gym. The company responded by offering free shorts and free karate lessons for a week. The elated became their brand evangelist by sharing this story.
Netflix is a name we all know and love, right? I mean, why wouldn’t you like their;
- Top-notch and original content
- Seven-day free trial
- Timely response and analysis of customers’ feedback
All of the above-mentioned factors have contributed to the success of the company. That is why Netflix has a massive three-million-strong community of followers who are happy to talk about the company all the time. These users have made social media groups and rate and share different TV shows and movies from Netflix; totally free brand promotion. Netflix fan-base is a perfect example of evangelism marketing.