Referral marketing as a concept is not a new one. In fact the Manchester Business School conducted a study (1998) on word-of-mouth marketing, citing unique examples that date back to the time of Aristotle. Though the study may be dated, the underlying principles governing referral marketing remains the same; that people love to have their opinion heard, and love to know what their friends and family are saying about products and services.
A more recent global study by Nielsen backs this up with its finding that 84% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family and they’re 4 times more likely to make a purchase in response to a referral. While a Landmark study found that word-of-mouth drives 13% of consumer sales.
What has changed with the advent of modern media channels is the way we communicate and – due to its instantaneous accessibility – modern media has catapulted word-of-mouth into a whole new era, securing its place in the top three most effective marketing strategies. Modern media is the referral marketers’ “new best friend”; one which is constantly developing and expanding, and generating ever greater potential for customer conversion.
ShopSocially has been reaching out to key influencers to get their expert opinions regarding new age referral marketing and why they believe it is the next big thing. This week we had an opportunity to interview marketing mover and shaker, John Jantsch, on the growing impact of social media on how customers’ engage with their favorite brands.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine. He founded the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network to train and license small business marketing consultants around the world, and his blog is recognized by Forbes as one of the 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs.
Q. Why should marketers care about word of mouth marketing?
John: Well I guess the simple answer is because it’s going on whether you care or not. People are talking about your brand, but are you directing, shaping and amplifying it in a way that generates new business? Being shared is the new currency of marketing.
Q. What are the top 3 trends in referral marketing for 2016?
John: The funny thing is that referral marketing doesn’t really change that much. People are wired to talk about experiences they enjoy. The only thing that’s really changed is the way they share. It’s become essential that marketers make it very easy for people talk about their products and services in all of the various places people publish information today.
Q. How can a business generate positive ROI from a referral program?
John: When you understand the lifetime value of a loyal customer and further understand the marketing cost of acquiring a loyal customer it’s pretty easy to generate very positive ROI from a referral program which typically converts new clients at a far lower cost than any other form of lead conversion.
The Revolution Is Here
The overriding reason why referral marketing is so effective is because it taps into the very basic human need that is your customers have to be heard; to know that what they’re saying – their opinions – about products and services counts for something. Your customer is inquisitive to see if others value their input about their favorite brands and willingly then act on this information by trying out the new-to-them product or purchase.
New age referral marketing channels give your customers an opportunity to gratify this need. That is the beauty of social media; it’s made it possible for people from all walks of life to easily have their say and so become market “influencers” in their own (small) way.
To learn more about how ShopSocially can help you leverage a referral program to grow your business click here or call us at +1 650 701 7759 today.