Customers today are constantly bombarded with marketing material. From car commercials to targeted online advertisements, it’s difficult to do anything without being told to buy a new product, shop at a new store, or join a new program. In recognition of this noisy environment, brands are now looking for any possible edge in cutting through the static to engage, convert, and, most importantly, spark loyalty within these shoppers.
The key, according to reports out of multiple respected organizations, may lie in customers’ networks of friends and family. According to a study from Extole, referred customers have a 25% higher lifetime value when compared to new customers who come to the brand through other means.
The customer referral process is one that has risen to enhanced prominence, Brad Marg, COO of Clutch Loyalty & Marketing, told Loyalty360.
“Enabling this process is a win for both consumers and brands that provide exceptional services,” Marg explained. “Whether it’s looking for a new restaurant in a city where I am traveling or a handyman to repair something on my new home, I ask people for a referral and I always use their insights. This is a great piece for the industry.”
Besides adding more value as a loyal customer, referred customers are also faster to convert: More than half do so within the first 24 hours after receiving a referral.
The speed at which referred customers convert—and the channels through which referrals are made—speaks volumes about the role of technological advancements in the shifting of traditional marketing methods. Whereas “customer referral” may have once evoked images of a family get-together or a barbecue with friends, these recommendations are now becoming increasingly digital, primarily by way of social media or email.
“Open and social networks have significantly increased the potential reach of referrals – or unfortunately, detractors,” said Kris Klein, Managing Partner at Lenati. “While advocacy is certainly something every brand aspires to achieve with their customers, it’s important to create a plan to ensure success of marketing efforts to nurture these positive recommendations.  Increasingly, insights and technology are providing the platform to respond real-time to customer behaviors.   Companies like and Appuri are upending what has been a traditionally slow, black box for marketers – real-time is the new normal.”
Another example of traditional marketing being “digitized” is the age-old concept of impulse buys. We’ve all been there: You’re done grocery shopping, excited that you were able to stay just within your shopping budget, when you spot that candy bar next to the register and are rendered completely powerless in resisting its pull.
These impulse purchases are a staple of CPG and have now moved into ecommerce as well. A crucial component of bringing impulse buys to the digital world, according to an article by Business Insider, is the ease with which purchases can be made. The epitome of this online shopping strategy, Amazon Prime’s “one-click” button gives users the option to instantly purchase a product. The ecommerce goliath continues to lean into this aspect with its Prime Now feature, offering two-hour delivery in a growing number of markets.
The modernization of these “old-school” marketing concepts reinforces the validity of two seemingly contradictory ideas: Marketing is facing a distinct transitional period, but some age-old ideas have not only survived in the new age, but have thrived in the new medium. The winners of this paradigm shift will be brands that are willing to eschew the previous top-down model in favor of personalization, digital engagement, and a general understanding of individual customer preferences.

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