Influitive positions itself as ‘advocate platform’ with Solstice update

Toronto-based marketing software firm Influitive released a major update to its advocacy marketing product on Tuesday, introducing personalization, more social features for advocate users, and a better mobile experience.

Influitive’s flagship product AdvocateHub is a cloud-based software that helps B2B marketers guide their best customers in a range of advocacy activities. From retweeting the company account, taking part in an event, or even referring a new likely customer, the “advocates” are rewarded for completed activities with points and climb higher on the leader board.

With the update – dubbed “Solstice” to coincide with the beginning of summer – Influitive is positioning itself as a platform that can facilitate both an advocate community and advocate marketing activities, says CEO and co-founder Mark Organ.

“We’re inspired by some of these other companies that have built a real movement around them, like Tesla, or Slack,” he says. “Every company that builds a product should be able to mobilize advocates.”

Since debuting at’s Dreamforce conference in 2012, the software has logged more than “7 million actions of advocacy,” according to Influitive. Now the firm is taking that data and applying machine learning to it in order to provide a personalized experience to each advocate, which will promote the advocacy “challenges” and other content they are most likely to care about to the top of their news feed.

Influitive’s new machine learning algorithms are able to identify what type of advocate a company is communicating with, Organ says. Perhaps one advocate is more motivated by opportunities to boost their public persona and will be looking for speaking or thought leadership opportunities, for example, while another will just want to meet other professionals to network with.

“It makes them want to come back again and again,” he says.

Marketers will also benefit from the successful advocate campaigns run by other Influitive customers, because the algorithms can cluster companies into distinct and similar groups, such as companies catering to developers or software users. When a campaign run by one company succeeds, the news feeds of others can adapt and start surfacing similar material.

Advocate’s value is ‘priceless’

One of Influitive’s most successful clients in terms of onboarding advocates is Toronto-based smart thermostat maker Ecobee, with more than 7,500 advocates. When asked what dollar value he’d put on an advocate, Rahul Raj, the vice-president of marketing at Ecobee, says he considers them priceless.

“The value of advocates is in hearing a customer’s authentic passion for a brand communicated in their own words,” he says. “What it results in is a strong word of mouth and articulation of our products and benefits in terms you’d express to your friends instead of something you’d hear from a company.”

Also new to the AdvocateHub, advocates will be allowed to talk among themselves with direct messaging. They’ll also have better profile pages, to encourage some Facebook-style community building.

“As opposed to Facebook, which is a feed of what people are sharing, this is a feed of what advocates are doing and people you can meet,” Organ says.

Improvements to Maven, Influitive’s mobile app that gives access to its hub, include deep linking and push notifications that can be customized for advocates.

Recent acquisitions held influence

Acquisitions made by Influitive in March are playing a role in the software updates, Organ says. TriggerFox, a mobile CRM app, is contributing elements of its “advocate graph” here, and will help Influitive branch out to the sales department later this year. IronArk‘s code is seen in some of the new community features, such as the news feed.

For the marketers that run the hubs, Influitive is offering better reporting tools, new referral features geared towards encouraging participation, and better integration with your CRM. Enterprise customers will be able to customize their hubs more so than previously and access single-sign-on options.

The icing on the platform cake comes with new APIs that open up Influitive’s AdvocateHub for integration with other software.

“Advocacy should be everywhere, like ether,” Organ says. “Our big vision is to help our customers be wherever their advocates are.”

Organ, also the founder of marketing automation platform Eloqua, which went public with a stock offering and was acquired by Oracle Corp. in December 2012, says the advocate marketing platform will be ready to solve everything a marketing automation solution could within a couple of years.

“It’s a sea change in the thought process.”

Editor’s note: Full disclosure – I’m engaged to a full-time employee at Influitive.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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