Using 'Evangelists' to Market ProductsDecember 28, 17
The festive season seems a good time to talk about the work of so-called "consumer evangelists". The meaning of evangelism is zealous advocacy of a cause. Normally, this relates to religious evangelists who aim to persuade people to adopt a certain set of beliefs. In the same way, consumer evangelists can push buyers, through their belief in a product or service, to buy or adopt it.
Evangelism marketing has been described as an advanced form of word-of-mouth marketing. The way it works is that firms develop customers and specialists in their particular field who believe so strongly in a particular product or service that they freely attempt to persuade people to buy it. Note: they don't simply like a product, they love it and almost seem to believe that life cannot go on without it. The customers essentially become voluntary advocates on behalf of the company who spread awareness.
Evangelism marketers make their recommendations, and in effect recruit new customers based on an authentic belief in the product, and not because they receive any form of compensation. The evangelist sees his role as providing benefit to people by providing a neutral, but positive, opinion of the product. He is not paid by the firm or associated with it, and as a result their beliefs are viewed as being credible and trustworthy when members of the public are searching for information regarding a certain issue or problem. Because they are independent and impartial, evangelists are frequently able to bring about widespread influence in certain areas of business.
And in the era of social networks with easy inter-communication the views of evangelists are easy to find. Through the use of Facebook's 'Likes' or Twitter's 're-tweet', surfers are able to boost readership of evangelist's comments instantly.
How do evangelists go about converting people? A quick look at the characteristics of the blogs and other articles they create show that their work is similar to that of journalists and marketing communications professionals. They are essentially communicators and connectors. And they are also defenders of the product when criticism arises. Unlike customer services representatives, however, evangelists will not make attempts to hide the deficiencies. They will discuss them and be totally open about them.
Their first rule is to make the information simple and easy to understand. In an era of information overload, consumers don't have time to waste. They want to know what the product or service is and, rule number two, how exactly it improves their lives. What solution or value does it provide is the third rule. Fourthly, evangelists, as with their religious counterparts who regale audiences with the ways of the Lord, there must be lots of stories. Note: no exaggerations or miracle tales that might be hard for some to swallow. Simply stories of how people derive real benefit from using the product.
Rule five: a monotonous, purely details-oriented article is about as interesting as an instruction manual. And just like the instruction manuals we have all received with every electronic product we have ever bought, it will stay untouched, unopened and unread. So, evangelists typically aim to make it sexy. They use language that causes an emotional reaction. Does it captivate, is it compelling? There's a fine line between making text strong and keeping it believable, so evangelists aim for the latter rather than the former.
And, because communication is an ongoing, never-ending process, so evangelists are continuously updating material. The moment they stop is the moment the product's competitors pass them by.