• May 15, 2015
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Influitive Launches Communities for Advocacy-Driven Marketing

Influitive has launched Influitive Communities, an extension of its AdvocateHub platform, to help B2B marketers create thriving customer social communities.

Influitive first launched the AdvocateHub in late 2012. Jim Williams, vice president of marketing at Influitive, says the Communities launch is the first new product line for the company.

Influitive Communities also includes capabilities that Influitive gained during its early 2013 acquisition of Engagio, a social Web platform for searching, discovering, and following conversations.

Social communities, Williams adds, have been around for at least five or six years, but few support marketing efforts. "Most social communities today are tech support forums, he says.

New research by Demand Metric has found that while nearly two-thirds of organizations have branded communities, only 6 percent of B2B marketers report that their communities meet all of their expectations.

"Marketers want communities to exchange thought leadership, enhance their companies' standing, and build social capital, and few social platforms let them do that," Williams says.

That's where Influitive's Communities offering is different, he adds. With it, marketers have a single, integrated platform on which they can carry out these fuctions:

  • ignite community participation through gamification that rewards participants for being brand advocates;
  • systematically boost content creation, peer-to-peer interaction, and engagement with the help of passionate advocates;
  • create an environment that encourages members to create or share content, and demonstrate their expertise—both within a branded community and elsewhere on the social Web;
  • uncover and nurture new advocates toward higher-value activities, such as referrals, references, and reviews; and
  • stimulate broader community management with a streamlined workflow.

Key to Influitive Communities is the ability to identify advocates, which Williams calls "super customers." These are customers who have already compiled case studies, spoken positively about the company and its products in the media, or written positive reviews in blogs, social media, or review sites like Yelp.

"The secret then is to get them to do things on your behalf," Williams says. "With gamification, you can make being an advocate more fun and enjoyable."

Mark Robins, vice president of product at Influitive, points out that Influitive's Communities marries advocacy and community to ignite engagement through recognition, rewards, and social capital.

Dozens of Influitive customers are already connecting advocates and fostering engagement using Influitive Communities. Among them is cloud-based retail business management software company Brightpearl, which integrates advocates with a broader community of retail management professionals on the social Web in its Commerce Acceleration Zone.

"Today, hundreds of Brightpearl customers interact in their community to connect with peers and learn how to grow their retail businesses," said James Scott, president of Brightpearl, in a statement. "That's the kind of experience our customers want us to deliver, and Influitive’s unique integration of advocacy, social, and community helps us get there."

Brightpearl is typical of Influitive's customers, which come largely from the B2B tech space, according to Williams.

"Our Communities software is bought by marketers, who then run the program and the social communities," he adds. "This is an increasingly important role in marketing."

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