Talia Shani
Head of UK Marketing @ Yotpo
September 1st, 2015
Table Of Contents

Check out the first installment of our two-part series on why brand fans matter. The series is based on our webinar with Kissmetrics.

brand fans

This is Groove. They’re a help desk software similar to Zendesk or desk.com.

Portrait of Talia

This is me. I am a huge fan of the Groove blog, written by CEO Alex Turnbull.

I read all of their posts the moment they come out and comment on them.

I’m subscribed to the blog newsletter, which I frequently forward around to share posts.

I even once wrote Alex a fanmail letter about how much I love the blog (and he responded!)

imageI’m basically the Groove blog’s biggest fan.

So, content marketing works! Right?


My company uses Zendesk.

I’m a marketer and, at my 70-person company, nobody cares about my opinion on help-desk software.

Also, I’m not planning on starting a business any time soon, so I won’t be in the market for a help desk.

I’m about as far from a decision-maker as Groove can get and, chances are, I’ll never be a customer.

So content marketing doesn’t work?

Also not true!

I may never be a customer, but I am a brand fan, and that’s about just as valuable.

Let me explain why.

brand fans

Anyone who has seen Rand Fishkin’s great whiteboard video on The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing has some idea of what I’m talking about.

In this video, Rand discusses the greatest myth about content advertising which is basically that people think the funnel works like this: You create content, people read that content and X% of them are like “wow, that’s great content, I should buy whatever they’re selling!”

Because this funnel is non-existent, a lot of companies give up on content marketing because they don’t see these results.

In reality, content marketing is not about “read blog > buy something” it’s about building trust, relationships and awareness over a series of touches.

The way Rand puts it:

“[People] essentially grow this memory about your brand, about what you do, and they build up kind of … a positive bank account with you. But that bank account, there are not coins and money in there. There are experiences and touches with your brand. Those content touches, and those social media touches, and those touches that come through performing a search and seeing you listed there, those build up the capital in the account.”
– Rand Fishkin of MOZ

(By the way, Moz is another company who I love and promote and don’t give any money too).

Rand goes on to say Moz visitors average 7.5 visits to the site before signing up for the free trial.

So the truth is that the path from content to conversion is long and winding. And still some people may never convert.

But they are still valuable!

So why do brand fans matter if they don’t buy?

Customers shell over money for your stuff. Maybe they need something you happen to be selling. Maybe you had the best price. Maybe they’ll try you out and churn after 1 month of paying.

But they may not love your brand.

Brand fans might not show their love with money, but you couldn’t buy the publicity they’ll give you: word-of-mouth marketing.
According to Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at Wharton Business School at UPenn and expert on consumer buying behavior and social influence, word of mouth directly influences 20-50% of purchase decisions.

Why does Word of Mouth work?

  • It’s more persuasive

According to Berger, Word of Mouth works because it’s more convincing than other forms of marketing. In other words, people are more likely to believe a friend telling them a product is great versus a brand telling them so.

  •  It’s more targeted

For example, I wouldn’t tell everyone about the great recipe for Zucchini Bread I just discovered. I’ll naturally share it with my few friends who I know like to bake — they’ll be more likely to appreciate and take advantage of the recommendation.

Fans <3 You

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.21.11 AM

Your fans aren’t your fans because of the newest product or the biggest sale, they’re your fans because they love what you represent. And they’ll tell all their friends.

A study McKinsey did of 20,000 European consumers showed how just a few people accounted for an insane percentage of product recommendations. This varied depending on industry, foe example, in the shoe and clothing vertical, 5% of recommenders accounted for 45% of the influence.Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.21.20 AMAnd it’s not just on social media. These consumers reported that ~40% of these referrals took place offline — in person or over the phone.

The better matching mechanism leads to 18% higher chance of retention and 16-25% higher CLTV.

Also, customers who come as a result of a referral are better than those who come without one.

The most comprehensive study done on referral customers to date looked at 10,000 customers of a German bank brand over 3 years.

Referred customers were 18% more likely to stay with the bank than non-referred ones, and also had 16-25% higher customer lifetime value.

The study attributed this to the “better matching mechanism” (which is also the reason employee referral programs for recruitment are so successful)

Someone familiar with a brand knows both the brand and their friends better — so they are in a prime place to create targeted, effective referrals.


Content marketing needs brand fans. And brand fans may not always be customers who convert — but that doesn’t mean that they don’t matter.

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