Rethinking Referral Marketing (Part 11)

For me, thinking deeply about marketing is something that is quite new. It is only in the past few months that I have started probing into how the current marketing techniques can be improved in a world of digital customers, unlimited data and low barriers to customer churn. I have to the field as somewhat of an outsider, even though Netcore has been in the business of selling marketing solutions for many years. That has helped me bring a new perspective to the existing knowledge base of ideas.

Velvet Rope Marketing was the first big idea. While the core concept that a small number of customers can account for a disproportionate share of revenues and profits has been around for a long time, what I tried to do is to put together an end-to-end framework that covered concept to execution to measurement. It was during this process and through the conversations that I had with many CMOs and digital heads that the problem statement for thinking about referral marketing emerged.

As happens so often with new ideas, all that’s needed at times is for a newcomer to come in and combine existing building blocks differently to create something different. This is what I have tried to do in this series on referral marketing – by combining three elements that already existed:

  • Best customers, who can get others like them through their social networks
  • Lifetime value, which can create greater rewards and incentive for best customers for referring others like them
  • Multi-level network, that further enhances the value of referrals for the best customers

Some additional tech-led tweaks can also help in making referral marketing as core to marketing as adtech and martech are: ensuring that both referrer and the person referred get the same initial benefits (either both get it, or none get it), simplifying the process of referring (ask a new customer at sign-up about who provided the nudge), and creating a cross-brand rewards program and adding game-like elements to provide far greater incentives than what a single brand could do.

Hopefully, these ideas can serve as the foundation for transforming referral marketing. Perhaps, Velvet Rope Marketing has found its perfect companion – Velvet Circle Marketing?!