Building Successful Superuser Programs

Think about how you make purchasing decisions. Are you more likely to be persuaded by marketing messages or past customer reviews? Social proof is powerful because it is objective. When someone outside the brand does the talking the endorsement feels more credible.

Harvest the positive energy of your biggest fans. Use them to spread the word to future customers. It costs only a fraction of the value you get. Better yet, it scales really well.

“Ambassador programs harness the authentic voice of your super fans, which is more powerful than traditional marketing at spreading your organization’s message.”

Susan Chavez – Techsoup 1

1 Techsoup forums

You see this in crowd-sourced service based businesses. Visit Lyft or Scoop – both incentivise members with in-app credit in a bid to drive referrals. Scoop states that their primary objective is to take their most passionate community members and collaborate with them to become spokespeople for the service within their own workplace or wider community.

Lyft promises ambassadors that they are charged with growing the brand within their city, offering the flexibility of promoting on their own schedule. Members are given training and support to become better marketers.

Vinted* provides top sellers with marketing collateral and materials to package with their sales, spreading the organizational messaging while supporting the seller.

*Note that Vinted has now shut down all community initiatives outside of Germany and France. We’ll dig into what went wrong in the chapter on Pitfalls.


Sephora’s ‘Super Fans’ frequent their product forum and in 2012 the company claimed that those users spent an average of 396 minutes per month online and bought 10x more than other customers.

Webroot Ambassadors also claim financial success for their program, stating in 2012 that of their 210 Ambassadors, 20% had created new business for the company via referrals, renewals, and participation in the sales process, with some even collaborating with the sales team on calls to offer third-party credibility.


  1. Social proof can be more powerful than branded marketing.
  2. Empowering your customers to advocate for your brand makes marketing affordably scalable.
  3. Marketing based objectives are easy ones to tie to key metrics – great when you need ammunition to support your program.



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