Reference Success: Customer Marketing Strategies and other topics

Why be a reference customer?

customer referenceWhy be a reference customer? It’s a common question. What would motivate someone, particularly a busy executive, to be a customer reference for your company?

There are many good reasons to use gamification (having points, perks and rewards) as part of your customer reference program, but the key motivator, particularly for senior executives, is having the opportunity to further their own career goals.

If you are responsible for customer references or an advocate community,  it’s important to take the time to consider how you talk about your program. A good way to describe the program is to articulate the benefits it provides to its members. Here are some top reasons your clients are likely to want to participate.


Many clients are looking for opportunities to build their personal brand for their own career goals, in addition to the goals of their company. Help them understand that their involvement provides a great platform for them to communicate externally.

Icon_handshakeProfessional networking

As part of your program, you should be providing opportunities for customers to share their experiences and successes with other companies, many of who are eager to learn. These connections are valuable in both directions, as the foundation for new personal and professional relationships.

icon_keyPrivileged access

Customers that have that affinity for your product and services are often the ones most interested in establishing a closer relationship. They want their voices heard and want to be on the inside. Let them know that your program is built for insiders and creates opportunities for them to have this access.

icon_gears_threeInternal justifications

When you prepare a deliverable that describes the success of your customer, you are providing them 3rd party validation of the work they’ve done. Especially when the piece outlines the ROI, they have something that helps articulate the value they’ve personally help generate for their company. Make sure you communicate this benefit.

An example of a company that’s successfully communicated the benefits of being a customer advocate are Iron Mountain. We love their ‘raise your voice’ tagline and their positioning of the program.


  • Andrew Sevillia on said:

    I've seen reference clients parlay the self promotion exposure to help them earn a career promotion. It's incredible that more clients within the same company or in general aren't eager to act as advocates when the potential is huge.

  • Joshua Horwitz on said:

    Great point, Andrew! It's a win and win. And many organizations failing to realize this don't position it appropriate when they invite customers to join the program. Thanks for your comment.

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