Building a strong business is a challenge in the best of times, but today with consumers having so many options and competition coming from around the world thanks to the growth of digital marketing, it is even more challenging. Business owners everywhere are looking for an advantage and they may not have to look far. One way a business can build is to have satisfied customers speak in their favor. Your customers can be your best brand ambassadors.

In a recent post at CrainsCleveland.com, Laura Sheridan, shared information from the 2012 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising study. That study indicated that 92 percent of those surveyed around the world said that recommendations from friends and family rated higher in their minds than any other advertising.

Clearly, that data indicates that business operators want to make great impressions on their customers and in turn let those customers influence others.

Building a brand reputation is tricky. You need to use the best media channels, traditional and digital, to get your message out. You need to have your employees working diligently to promote your business and to execute at high levels. You also need people outside your company who are familiar with your business to promote your brand.

As Sheridan says:

“ … we’d be naive to ignore the largest segment of Brand Ambassadors — your customers.”      

Marketing today offers more opportunities than ever before. Most of those newer channels are personalized. We can target emails by what customers say they want. We can carry on personal conversations on social media or online chats. We can hit customers with messages aimed at specific times, places and events. 

Marketing has never been more personalized which brings us back to one of the oldest and most trusted forms of business communication — person to person. Finding ways to incorporate the positive experiences of your existing customers into your marketing plan is critical.

If you can make your customers your brand ambassadors, you are can tap into the best advertising tool out there. You will have your customers talking to their friends and family.