Interview With Influitive Founder/CEO Mark Organ

Influitive is a B2B marketing company that enables brands to recruit and mobilize a team of influential advocates.  Advocate marketing puts the customer at the center of your marketing efforts and could even potentially get them to outsell your best sales rep by offering the buyer a better experience.  I talked to Mark Organ about Influitive and between the time I scheduled the call and actually interviewed him, Oracle Corporation bought a company that Organ co-founded for $871 million named Eloqua.

When I asked Organ how he came up with the idea for the company, he told me that the ideas for Influitive came from his ideas with Eloqua.  He said that a venture capitalist told him it would be “awesome to find out the mechanics about how customers bought their software and that they really need to market to advocates” separate from consumers of the product.  The problem with surveys is that they are not always accurate.

Organ left Eloqua in 2007 and lived in Asia for a couple years.  While he was there, social media was growing at a rapid pace.  When Organ was in Asia and North America, he spent a lot of time interviewing advocates and discovered that usually advocates wanted recognition, not just money.

I asked Organ what types of activities do advocates participate in.  He told me that one customer coordinated a flash mob dance entirely online.  He said that some advocates have written half-baked blog posts and asked other advocates to participate.  “Advocates are speedy,” said Organ.  “Companies usually have a hard time managing 20 advocates, but since AdvocateHub is self-service, companies are able to manage hundreds of advocates.”

I asked how customers hear about Influitive.  He said that the company generates around 12 customers per week and many of them are referrals from existing customers.  The company also has partnerships with Eloqua ActOn, Salesforce.com, and LinkedIn.

The final question I asked Organ was how do brands track customer referral leads.  He said the company has automated tracking and the company can do a search within their platform.  If Influitive is unable to verify the referral leads, then the brand “may have to go by the honor system or check referrals through Salesforce.com.  Influitive tracks as much as they can in the sales process.”

 

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