Leverage brand advocates' enthusiasm to enhance retention, boost company via testimonials, loyalty programs.

Michael Callahan

July 31, 2023

4 Min Read
Brand advocates
McLittle Stock/Shutterstock


Michael Callahan

Providing excellent customer service and value has become a necessity rather than an option in today’s consumer-centric world. Meeting your client’s expectations is crucial for success as they are the lifeblood of every managed services business.

However, it’s more imperative than ever to go beyond simply satisfying your customers. Empower them to become brand advocates for your managed service provider or managed security service provider company to improve retention, boost satisfaction and increase their level of trust with your company.

Understand the Proposition

Let’s explore that concept, its importance, and strategies you can employ to harness its power.

When a customer voluntarily promotes and endorses a company or its products, they’re considered a brand advocate. These people play a vital role in spreading positive word-of-mouth messaging and influencing others to engage with a specific business or service. They’re passionate supporters who genuinely believe in the value and quality of the organization, product or services they’re championing. By leveraging their enthusiasm, MSPs can amplify marketing efforts and build stronger relationships with current and future clients.

Constructing the Strategy

Developing brand advocates for your MSP/MSSP doesn’t have to be a long or complicated process. There are simple ways to get your current clients more engaged and connected to your company, to the point where they start bringing your firm new business from referrals or by word-of-mouth recommendations. Here are some potential strategies:

  1. Provide exceptional customer experiences. Focus on personalized interactions with your clients. Be proactive with problem resolution, and consistently exceed their expectations. By going above and beyond, your team can create positive memorable moments that customers will be eager to share with others, whether through online interactions or in person.

  1. Encourage feedback and testimonials. Actively seek and listen to the opinions of others. Use testimonials and reviews as powerful marketing tools, prominently displaying positive feedback on your website and in marketing and sales materials. Consistently engage with clients online through social media or review sites, responding to comments and showing genuine appreciation for their support. Do not ignore bad reviews or negative remarks. “Engaging with sincere complaints and starting a conversation that addresses the issue and works with the consumer to find a solution will enlighten and educate prospective customers,” says Michael Podolsky, co-founder and CEO of consumer advocacy review platform PissedConsumer.

  1. Implement loyalty and referral programs. If possible, develop a plan that provides customers with exclusive perks and incentives. Encourage your current client base to refer other business owners with programs that provide benefits to both the referrer and the new customer. Creating a sense of exclusivity and belonging can strengthen the bond between advocates and MSPs/MSSPs.

Comprehend the Importance

Brand advocates remain committed to a company or product for extended periods of time — sometimes for their entire lives. By empowering your MSP’s current customers to become champions, you can foster deeper connections with key decision-makers and improve contract retention rates. Additionally, those influencers are more likely to provide valuable feedback and suggestions, enabling you to continuously improve your managed services and cybersecurity offerings.

Positive word-of-mouth from brand advocates carries significant weight. According to a study by Nielsen, 92% of global consumers trust user-generated content over all other forms of advertising. When customers share positive experiences, it creates a ripple effect, generating trust and credibility for your company. Nurturing brand advocacy can build a solid reputation in the technology channel.

On the flip side, failing to meet customer expectations or neglecting their needs can lead to negative reviews and a tarnished company image. Bad reviews may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they can impact the bottom line. Approximately 41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported the loss of brand value and revenue, per a study by Deloitte (PDF). Having a network of advocates can potentially mitigate damage to a company’s reputation, as future customers will see an outpouring of support and understanding in online reviews and social media posts following an incident instead of only negative comments.

Embracing Brand Advocates

In the age of the customer, MSPs/MSSPs must understand that developing brand advocates is a powerful tool for growth and success. You can enhance retention, boost the company name and safeguard against potential reputation damage. Highlighting exceptional firsthand experiences, encouraging feedback and testimonials, creating loyalty programs and fostering connections will help build a strong collection of loyal and dedicated clients. By nurturing these relationships, your MSP/MSSP will thrive in today’s consumer-centric world.

Michael Callahan applies his 20 years of marketing experience as chief marketing officer at Acronis. Previous positions included email security startup Cofense, McAfee, Juniper Networks, HP and Dell. He received his bachelor’s in engineering from Ohio State University and his MBA from the University of South Carolina. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @Acronis on X.

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