Sysomos Conference Correspondent: How to Disrupt Your Market with Advocate and Influencer Marketing

The Dx3 2016 Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos summarizes some of the top speakers from Dx3 who inspired attendees to take action in their digital strategies.

The first 90% of disruptive success is creating an impossible idea. The next 90% is evangelizing that idea. During his session at Dx3 2016, Mark Organ, CEO and founder of advocate marketing software company Influitive, demonstrated how Tesla, Barack Obama, and Salafi jihadist militant group ISIS, used the principles of advocate marketing to mobilize their followers by making mobilization a part of their brands — albeit in very different ways and for very different purposes.

Mark Organ of Influitive
Mark Organ, CEO and founder of Influitive

The power of authentic advocates can transform your company. It’s about infusing trust and transparency in the buying process by getting your customers to enlist other customers. Advocates drive mission-critical priorities like growth and customer profitability.

There are three things that are critical to motivating advocates:

Being a part of an exclusive tribe:

We are hardwired to seek affiliation. Tribes can be a product or a company people are passionate about.

“When you’re creating an advocacy movement you want to give it a name, a spirit,” said Organ.

Meaningful impact:

People become enthusiastic when they can feel the measure of the impact that they’ve made.

Social capital:

When people are recognized in their community for doing something awesome.


Tesla has thousands of advocates. The company was founded on one expansive vision: Elon Musk’s goal to rid the world of oil dependence. The first people to buy Tesla cars did so because of that mission. Cars are sold in stores that look like malls, not in lots. The vehicles are, clean, green, and essentially computers on wheels.

Tesla has a powerful online as well as offline community. The advocate program is built right into the cars.

The experience as a whole isn’t just about delight, which is really important for generating advocates, but also about surprise, another critical aspect for creating advocacy. Tesla has a powerful online as well as offline community. The advocate program is built right into the cars; the vehicles actually ask new buyers if they want to refer people, incentivizing with a $1000 reward. All the brand’s marketing is done with customer advocates.


ISIS is a lot more than a big idea. It’s a global community bound together by rituals, songs, videos, and it provides a powerful sense of belonging for its members. It’s also very operationally competent, and often much more effective than the governments it displaces. It’s good at marketing, especially digital marketing. There are 90,000 twitter accounts associated with ISIS, many of which are run by “super advocates.” They drive 20% of all ISIS Twitter activity.

“For ISIS a tweet is like a weapon and it’s sanctioned by the highest power,” said Organ.

ISIS hails its Twitter super advocates as heroes of the global caliphate, which gives them massive social capital, and demonstrates an incredible amount of psychological sophistication. Public recognition and praise can really stoke advocates, and ISIS has used that to its benefit since its inception.


Small and new organizations tend to generate more advocacy than bigger ones because if you know it’s going to be important you’re going to engage in a lot more advocate activity. That’s why Tesla and ISIS were successful.

“They leveraged the power of move the meter,” said Organ.

So did Barack Obama in his first presidential campaign. He ran an incredible grassroots effort, which mobilized the masses to help take him to the White House. Obama was a community organizer. Volunteers didn’t learn about him from a pamphlet or advertising, but from other people. His campaign was entirely built on advocacy, focusing on his volunteers. He treated every single volunteer like they could make a decisive difference. Those who showed promise were quickly elevated to team captains and became the focus of campaign stops.

“What he did was shine the celebrity light away from himself and onto the volunteers and the community,” said Organ.

Download the full Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos to learn from many of the top Dx3 2016 speakers.

About Jonathan Paul

Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in the Canadian advertising and marketing beat. He has written for major industry publications including Marketing and Strategy. At the latter he was senior writer for four years, crafting all sorts of stories on the advertising and marketing tactics of big brands including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, UFC Canada and Tim Hortons, all whilst keeping a finger on the pulse of international creativity, technology and trends. An avid scribe, both personally and professionally, he’s also an imagineer, information disseminator, media junkie, videogame enthusiast and, admittedly, a comic book nerd.

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