Literally meaning ‘to convert’, evangelism in marketing means the conversion of people to campaigners. In the face of cut-throat competition, it is playing a key role in capturing the market. Through this strategy, businesses use the influential power of their audience, who act as their unpaid salesmen.
Moreover, global trends suggest that 92% of the customers’ count on peer reviews and recommendations over promotional content, making evangelism marketing even more significant.
To get a better understanding, let’s look into what evangelism marketing is and how it works.
What Is Evangelism Marketing?
Evangelism marketing is a marketing strategy where a business’s customers, prospective customers, and other people of utility promote the product or service of the business voluntarily.
In simple words, evangelism marketing:
- Is a marketing strategy: A marketing strategy is a business’s game plan to market its offerings. Evangelism marketing is one of the best marketing strategies where the business converts its customers into campaigners to promote its offerings.
- Is based on the influential power of the business’s evangelists: Evangelism marketing utilises the powers of the existing employees, employees’ friends and family, customer base, etc., who are otherwise bound to be loyal to the business anyway.
- Makes people promote the offering of the business voluntarily: Evangelism marketing makes people, who are already loyal to the business, promote its offerings voluntarily. They do this not to gain from it, but because they want to help the business and believe in its offerings.
Characteristics Of Evangelism Marketing
Evangelism marketing is based on the following six characteristics:
- It is built around people: Evangelism marketing focuses on converting the existing customers of the business into an evangelist to promote its offering at their own will and volition. This means that Evangelism marketing takes care of interpersonal relationship elements of the business, before it takes care of the product/service quality
- It is customer-driven: The entire approach to publicising the product lies with the prospective target audience with no intervention by the business. These evangelists may use any medium to convey their message among family, friends, workplace peers or other acquaintances. At times, this propagation of personal opinions may be subconscious as well.
- It is based on a long-term orientation: Evangelism marketing is a part of the marketers’ long-term vision and strategy, not a short-term promotion tactic. In other words, evangelism marketing is an ongoing process in which your customers voluntarily promote your offerings in their own circle of influence. This means that Evangelism marketing endeavours to turn your loyal customers into a reliable source of energy as far as your promotion strategy is concerned.
- It is cost effective: Evangelism marketing is an economical affair as the evangelists promote the brand without any monetary benefits. They are not associated or tied to the brand in any way. These people are attached to a brand and voluntarily encourage their family and friends to purchase it.
- It capitalises on social validation: Evangelists believe in sharing their positive experiences with others to make them adopt the product as well. Evangelism spreads positive feedback and reviews about a product which influences around 77% of the demand. It is one of the advanced forms of word of mouth marketing that helps gain long-term customers, and it adds to the credibility of the product as well.
- It has a certain degree of independence: Evangelism marketing allows businesses to utilise people’s influence without having an opportunity to influence them directly or overtly. Evangelism is not bought, but earned.
Importance Of Evangelism Marketing
Evangelism marketing is the most effective form of unpaid marketing. Evangelism marketing is not bought but earned, which means that it allows businesses to use their customers’ influence without any form of direct or overt control over these evangelists.
This form of marketing helps in building a strong and loyal customer base which can be relied upon for getting new customers as well. It also builds trust in the minds of current customers which leads to greater customer satisfaction, leading in turn to increased sales.
It can be used as a great PR tool that helps businesses get noticed by engaging with their potential consumers.
Types of Evangelism Marketing
This type of marketing isn’t one size fits all. It comes in three conventional forms which are as follows:
- Chief evangelism marketing: Chief evangelism marketing is when a person talks good about a company in general and supports all of its policies, associated brands, and businesses. For example, a person fond of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will spread positive information about its subsidiaries like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Kenzo Parfums, etc.
- Brand evangelism marketing: Brand evangelism marketing is when people spread positive information about a particular brand and its product line. For example, a person fascinated by the Armani fashion group vouches for its offerings like Giorgio Armani Prive, Giorgio Armani, Armani Jeans, Armani Collezioni etc.
- Product evangelism marketing: Product evangelism marketing is when a person preaches about a specific product—for example, a person popularising the Maggie noodles. They do not praise the entire Maggi product line but just spread the word about Maggi Noodles.
Advantages Of Evangelism Marketing
Evangelism marketing offers some distinct advantages which are as follows:
- It is economical: Evangelism marketing is very economical as it doesn’t involve any monetary exchanges at any stage. Evangelists voluntarily promote the product, and the business doesn’t have to pay them for that either.
- It builds trust: Evangelism means sharing positive experiences. Evangelists spread the word regarding their experience and help build customer trust in a product. This leads to increased sales and more loyal customers.
- It fosters better customer relationships: Evangelism nurtures better customer relationships. Evangelists are more closely attached to a product and company relations are deeper, which results in greater customer satisfaction. With positive word-of-mouth, businesses get new customers as well.
- It has the potential for viral growth: Evangelism marketing is potentially viral in nature. It can spread from one person to another quite easily, and soon this word of mouth can catch the attention of those who haven’t tried or used a product. This way evangelism marketing is able to gain rapid momentum and loyal customers as well.
- It aids other marketing efforts: Evangelism marketing boosts other forms of marketing. Evangelism is the best form of PR, and it helps businesses get noticed more easily than any other expensive advertising campaign can achieve. It also strengthens traditional marketing efforts, bettering the chances of a product being sold effectively at a decent profit margin.
Disadvantages Of Evangelism Marketing
Even though evangelism marketing has many advantages, it still isn’t without its flaws. Here are a few disadvantages that evangelism marketing can have:
- It is time-consuming: Evangelism marketing always demands an extra effort – both from the business and evangelists. It doesn’t garner results over one night. Evangelists mostly aren’t paid for their efforts, and they do it because of the passion they have for a product. Getting results requires time, effort, and patience.
- It isn’t measurable: Evangelism marketing cannot be measured, and there is no way to ascertain how effective it has been and if the number of new customers gained was worth the time and effort put in. Evangelists may not always be correct or truthful about their claims, so brands cannot be sure of the quality of information being shared.
- It is hard to control: If something goes wrong while evangelizing about a product – due to improper communication or other factors – it may have a negative impact on the brand image. Evangelism marketing is difficult to monitor or control, and if there are any wrong doings, they will be hard to control as well.
- It is not always the right marketing technique: Evangelism isn’t effective marketing technique for every kind of business. Evangelism marketing is a process that needs a lot of time, and not every company has the time for it. Evangelism works well when a brand has got an established name or if word-of-mouth publicity is already going in its favour.
Examples Of Evangelism Marketing In Business
One can find examples of evangelism marketing in the corporate world everywhere. Lays, PepsiCo, McDonald’s are some of the best evangelist marketers who use evangelism to market their brands successfully.
Here are some case studies :
Apple is known for its evangelism marketing. Without much need for advertising, Apple products sell themselves. The company has a strong base of evangelists and brand loyalists who do the marketing for free. All it needs to do is convey them positive messages about its product.
- Why: The company uses neuromarketing to develop, market, and position its brands. It understands that products are extensions of consumer’s identities, and it needs to carefully craft its brand image in order to appeal to the right kind of audience.
- How: Apple started the ‘Us vs They’ trend to widen the gap between users and non-users. The desire to belong to the elite group and gratification of this desire creates buzz about the brand. These fans can turn the non-prospective customers into evangelists as well.
Netflix has a community of more than three million people who voluntarily share their Netflix experience with others. They form social media groups to discuss the latest TV shows, rate them, recommend good ones to each other- all for free. All because they are emotionally invested in Netflix.
- Why: The platform provides a customer-friendly, innovative interface service tailored for every user, thus making the delivery customised and convenient. This, along with tons of content, adds to a positive user experience that is shared in the community.
- How: Netflix closely analyses the customer feedback and keeps an up-to-date database for constantly fulfilling demand. The seven-day free trial, top-notch, original content suiting tastes of customers, quality streaming services and interactive social media engagement contribute to its success.
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A fervent reader, research maniac, and a go-getter with a knack for opinionated content. Janvi has actively contributed to educational institutions, startups, and non-profit organisations through her structured and expressive writings. Often found socialising, playing with dogs, and photographing.