Laura Petrolino

Use the Buyer’s Journey to Engage Brand Advocates

By: Laura Petrolino | July 18, 2016 | 

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 3.32.20 PMBy Laura Petrolino

Today I’m going to tell you a story about why I could be a passionate brand advocate for a local arcade…but I’m not.

I’m also going to tell you what you can learn from their oversight to make sure you don’t let potential revenue-generating brand advocates walk out your door.

The Prestige of a Skeeball Champion!!!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that last weekend I accomplished an amazing sports victory.

I achieved the arcade high score in skeeball.

Yes, that’s right…skeeball.

While many of you know me as a bodybuilder, I also dabble in skeeball (as well as a number of other “sports”) as part of my “cross training” (heavily sarcastic quotation marks here).

Plus, winter can be long in Maine, especially when you are a bit of a hyperactive nutcase who has a fairly low tolerance for activities that involve sitting still.

So, when you don’t want to face the cold you participate in slightly more active indoor activities—including skeeball, pool, bowling, and other arcade games.

Anyway, I’m a skeeball champion.

I have mad skeeball skillz.

Let’s just leave it at that.

And I won the arcade high score.

This is an accomplishment many dream of, but few reach.

And when I won, guess what happened?

Was I showered in ticker tape and balloons, while surrounded by loud parade of music and cheers?

Did an arcade wide siren go off and the manager come out with a crown and trophy?

Did DJ Khaled jump out of a cake and sing “All I Do is Win?”


No, none of that. Not EVEN DJ Khaled.

All I got was a bunch of tickets and my score listed on the machine (and not even with my name or initials, I’ll have you know).

And I walked out of that arcade with no fan fare or glory. A champion forgotten.

Do You Let Your Brand Advocates Walk Away?

I tell you this tale of woe because I want to make sure you don’t let your brand advocates walk away as this arcade so sadly did.

You should think through how you find, recruit, and engage brand advocates and ambassadors.

Because the truth is, if you have a good product or service, they are already all around you.

You just need to know where, when, and how to find them.

If, instead, the arcade in question had thought through the opportunities they have every day to recognize and engage brand advocates who are in their arcade, they could have done a variety of things to do just that.

For example: Place an alarm or sensor on the machines to instantly notify the manager-on-duty when a high score is achieved.

This allows them to respond personally to the accomplishment.

Responses could include:

  • Token vouchers for me to give to friends so they can come back with me and “Challenge the Champion.”
  • A branded t-shirt or bumper sticker (or other swag) noting my accomplishment. This doesn’t even have to be unique to each game (to save costs), but could be as simple as a question (“Ask Me How I Became a Champion at XXXnameofarcadeXXX”) or a challenge.
  • A package for a free celebration party at the arcade. It could include discount games, cake, balloons, the works (and in return they’d get me to bring a bunch of friends).
  • Announce my name and victory on social media and challenge others to beat my score. Perhaps even offer a prize if someone could beat it within the next week. 
  • Take my photo wearing some ridiculous crown to post through social.
  • Do a short video of me (bonus points if I’m in said crown) providing others the secret to my success.

And while these are just a few of endless examples, you can easily see none of them would have a high cost and all could either instantly produce revenue and/or grow brand awareness.

Find Your Brand Advocates

So how do you make sure you find your brand advocates and engage them while they are actively focused on your brand?

You follow the buyer’s journey?

Ah yes, the buyer’s journey…important for all types of conversions—whether they be sales, partners, or brand advocates and ambassadors.

Lay out your buyer’s journey and look at all the touch points where you have opportunities to interact with your brand advocates.

Then put processes in place to make sure it happens.

The arcade should look at all interactions a customer has while they are in the building, as well as online and then highlight the opportunities that exist.

From there they can look at each opportunity and outline a system to connect with and engage the potential brand advocate.

Where are some surprise places you or your clients have discovered brand advocates?

How do you maximize the opportunity to engage them?

image credit: A championship trophy made for me by Wesley Lee

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

  • As you can imagine, I am in total agreement with you on this (and BIG congrats on the skeeball victory!). People listen to their friends and watch what they buy, consume, and do. It’s a perfect way for businesses to engage with NEW potential customers but as you say, they have to be proactive in capturing those moments and taking advantage of them.

    • Laura Petrolino

      And it’s really so easy to be proactive. I think many organizations avoid it because they think it’s going to take a lot of time, effort, and MONEY.
      Anyone that has ever run a contest knows that people almost always get more excited over the recognition vs. the actual prize.

      • Yes! – “people almost always get more excited over the recognition”

        Students in our school have said as much. Once we got the social media ball rolling, we started highlighting student accomplishments and community contributions. They have verbally expressed the difference this has made in moral. People just want an internet high-five!

        Although they are not technically in a purchasing funnel, they are certainty advocates for prospective students. Additionally, current students become alumni and potential future donors. So, yes. 100% agree, all the touch points matter!

        • Laura Petrolino

          Such a great example! And it really is amazing what a little recognition can do. We all need an ego stroke every once in a while, and if just some sort of reminder that someone things we are cool…in a bit, sometimes not nice world

  • Corina Manea

    Congrats on the skeeball victory, Laura! So cool!

    What a shame they didn’t know how to leverage their brand ambassadors. Even a simple “Thank you for your dedication” would have started the conversation. Not to speak about social media.

    I think this is a very good example of why brands should have the right people in the right jobs. Complemented with technology it’s a win-win for everyone.

    As we get more and more social, and VR is right around the corner, this is the perfect time for brands to embrace and acknowledge their brand ambassadors.

    If they don’t do it, someone else, will.

    • Laura Petrolino

      You nailed it when it comes to having the right team. You must, must, must have the right people at all customer touchpoints to turn a vision of a great customer experience into an actual one

  • Congratulations on being the Skeeball champ Laura! You also look fabulous with any ridiculous crown on.

    As for engaging buyers to be brand advocates, you’re preaching to the converted here, it amazes me more businesses don’t bother to do this.

    • Laura Petrolino

      LOL! Thanks Bill! I really should wear crowns more often….just because!

      And right? It amazes me as well. There are some organizations that could do no other business development beyond focusing on a brand advocate program and exponentially increase their rate of growth!