The key to customer advocacy: exceed the WIIFM.

Customer advocacy is the beloved, coveted last phase of the customer lifecycle: Awareness>Interest>Desire>Action>Loyalty>Advocacy. (To learn more, read our related article customer lifecycle marketing.) When a customer is so happy with your company that they tell all their friends of your extreme awesomeness, they have turned that blessed corner to be your advocate. Their word-of-mouth marketing carries a heckuva lot of weight.

What’s the key to earning that holy grail of customer advocacy? Exceed the WIIFM.  

So what in the world is WIIFM? It stands for “What’s In It For Me?” In a nutshell, it’s the customer’s return on investment. Why should they give you the time of day, let alone do business with you?

Here’s the formula: Determine the WIIFM for your most valuable customers, deliver it magnificently and consistently like no one else, and you will be on the golden road to customer advocacy.

It’s important to realize that each industry has different WIIFM triggers. For some, it’s cost. For others, it’s quality. And for others, customer support is mega-boss. We maintain that for all, however, the WIIFM is whatever helps your customers reach their goals faster, better and at the best value.

How do you determine the WIIFM for your target customers? Ask.

To determine your WIIFM, start by identifying your most valuable customers. (Notice that we said, “most valuable” customers. Don’t try to figure out what delights each and every potential customer. You’ll just dilute your efforts, profits and sanity.) Once you’ve identified them, ask them what they value most from a best-in-class provider. 

Here are some things to consider when determining your target’s WIIFM. How important is:

  • Emotion? – that’s the touchy-feely stuff that doesn’t always contribute to customers’ bottom lines, but can create incredible bonds and advocacy.
  • Function? – this is when customers buy from you because it’s affordable or meets an immediate need.
  • Personal relationship?  
  • Product quality?
  • Product availability?
  • Delivery time?
  • Ease of doing business?
  • Post-purchase support?  
  • Information? – what intelligence can you provide to help your customers get to the next level of their business?
  • The WOW factor? – what and how can you deliver that no one else can touch?

When gathering this information, try to get a good bit of it yourself, rather than through the research department. Eloquent, data-rich research reports are ultra-important; we completely get that. We’re just saying that to really understand your customers, spend quality face time with them. Better yet, BE one of your target customers. What’s your WIIFM for your product or service?  

Finally, once you determine the top WIIFM elements, it’s vital that you deliver them in ways that exceed customer expectations. You should make WIIFM delivery something your customers can count on time and time again. Once you’ve mastered this, you’re continuously creating stronger bonds with your customers and advocates for your brand.