Mar 17 • 27M

How to Harness Customer Advocacy

A fireside chat with Gary Zurnamer at Vouch

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Patterns and prophets, in SaaS and Web3
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Last year I posted the following to LinkedIn: “Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could easily record customer testimonials on a Zoom call…? I haven’t seen a product like this but it must exist…”

There's a reason why I was so excited about this: there is enormous untapped potential in customer advocacy. 

Every founder knows that in the early stages of building a company, your early customer champions are your top asset — typically more important than your actual code base at the time. Those champions help you raise capital, refine your product, publicize the launch of your company, and convince other folks to buy.

Later in company-building, your customer champions drive some of your most important marketing content — e.g. the logos and customer case studies on your website — and lead to strong net dollar retention as happy users and business units at your enterprise customers refer others to your product. Happy customers are even highlighted on earnings calls for public companies. 

But I've never found a company that channeled customer advocacy in a systematic way. Advocacy is instead encouraged in an ad hoc, one-off way.

One of the reasons for this is that the people who are closest to customers — sales and customer success folks — have not had the tools to easily gather these testimonials. Traditionally, marketing teams owned the process of corralling a small subset of customers into a physical location and using high-tech cameras and scripts to film them in a perfect video. But what if we let every customer-facing person gather their own testimonials, without all the friction? And what if marketing teams could tap into every customer’s phone or laptop camera to capture their fully authentic stories, without sacrificing video quality? Imagine how much advocacy we could unleash!

As a result of the aforementioned LinkedIn post, I met Gary Zurnamer, the founder at Vouch. He was building a product to help people collect authentic videos at scale, asynchronously and remotely. Notably, his product doesn't look like what I described in my LinkedIn post; he found a much better way. Moreover, he wasn't focused exclusively on gathering customer content — his product has been used for candidate interviews, internal trainings, and many more use cases — but he has tapped into a hot trend among customer-facing folks who want to record video testimonials of their customers. 

I sat down with Gary to discuss his vision and learn how we can truly bring customers to the forefront of our company strategy. If you feel inspired or have feedback, comment below!

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Executive Roles

Leadership roles that I’m excited about: