2012 was a big year. Consumers dominated online conversations, influenced purchase decisions, and effectively transformed the way brands market to them. Why? Because consumers trust each other more than they trust any other form of advertising. Sound familiar? Market research firms from Forrester to Nielsen released reports uncovering what had been under marketers’ noses all along – the power of their customer advocates.
In 2013, marketers must rethink their social marketing strategies with their consumers in mind. It is no longer effective to simply push branded marketing messages out over social channels in hopes they will resonate with consumers. Consumers are now the most important part of the marketing equation and what they say and do online impacts brands and their bottom lines. Marketers will need to find compelling ways to engage with their consumers and turn them into advocates, who, in turn, spread word of mouth marketing (WOMM) recommendations to their friends on the brands behalf.
One of the ways to harness the power of consumer WOMM is via referral marketing programs. By nature, referral marketing programs tap into consumers’ need and want to share information and content with their peers. From the hottest new gadget to beauty tips and tricks, consumers love to share their opinions about brands and the products and services they sell. Forrester Research tells us that 80% of all purchase cycles involve some form of WOMM recommendation. Additionally, each recommendation on the social web reaches 150 people, so imagine if marketers were able exponentially increase the number of consumers sharing about their brands? They would be able to reach the friends of their fans, tapping into a significantly larger audience. With referral marketing programs, brands can do just that – driving awareness and producing highly qualified new sales and acquisition.
To help paint the picture, Roku, the leader in streaming entertainment devices, launched an Extole-powered referral marketing program to leverage its existing customer advocates to amplify WOMM, increase acquisition, and drive new business. Roku knew that 25% of its customers bought a Roku player based on a referral from family or friends and implemented a referral program to incentivize advocates to increase the number of referrals. Roku’s advocates now have a forum to share the brand with their friends, and get rewarded for doing so. Within the first six months, Roku drove 10,000 new customer referrals per month and increased customer base referrals by 30%. The referral program generated more than $250,000 in revenue through 40,000 participating customer advocates. Now that’s impacting the bottom line.
There is no denying the power of consumers, and as brands evaluate their social marketing mix for 2013, it is imperative WOMM strategies and advocacy play a critical role in driving measurable results from their social marketing initiatives.