Ask the Expert

As part of our on-going commitment to providing useful, industry-leading resources on the Opensolutions-London blog, we’re beginning a series of “ask the expert” type interviews on the next-generation sales and marketing techniques being used to grow businesses around the world.

Advocacy for Business

with Alex Boast

Alex Boast is one of our associates and best known for his work in the Data industry where, amongst other things, he created the Experian Advocacy Program, Data Excellence awards, returning judge of the AI awards, and now represents exciting new data quality project, IDataQuality.  

03 August 2020  

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Opensolutions-London: Hi Alex, thanks for joining us, it’s been a challenging year for British and global businesses, have you got a message of hope for them? 

Alex: A bit like the Japanese art of Kentsugi (mending broken pottery with gold so it’s better for having broken), society as a whole will emerge from this turbulence with greater awareness, not just of themselves but the world we live in – I look forward to seeing the business innovation that arises from this. 

Opensolutions-London: Let’s talk a bit about that, you clearly see an opportunity in Advocacy. What do you mean when you say advocacy?

Alex: I’m glad you asked, most people think advocacy is prefixed with the words “brand”, “consumer” or “customer” and that’s just sort of wrong: Advocacy is for everyone!

For me it stems from when charities and law firms used to go and help people and expect nothing in return, “pro bono” but without the expectation of resultant goodwill, perhaps the hope of goodwill. 

When I do advocacy, I understand that the business is in a position of strength, so it needs to help its stakeholders: staff, partners, clients, prospects to also gain strength by disseminating their own so that when everyone’s stronger, we can all do a better job of helping each other and the society we operate in.

It’s a risk because we give away so much value for free, but it’s the right thing to do, so I encourage everyone to think about it. 

Opensolutions-London: It sounds pretty difficult to measure the ROI of Advocacy?

Alex: Does it? When you build relationships with people based on trust, honesty and transparency, the chances are people are going to want to do business with you, and if you’re diligent with your tracking you’ll know which commercial conversations are a result of your advocacy work. 

Opensolutions-London: That’s great, thanks Alex. Finally, what would you recommend for people who are looking to make a start with advocacy and don’t know how to do so? 

Alex: Oh that’s easy, connect with me on LinkedIn and ask for help!

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