By Mark Choueke Marketing Director, Mention Me
For almost a century, cereal brands Kellogg’s, General Mills, Nestle and Weetabix – some of the biggest names in FMCG – have fought to win pride of place on the breakfast tables of families in the markets they serve.
Marketers of such dining table staples crave the status that comes from being part of their customers’ most intimate family moments and experiences.
That position of prominence is no longer exclusively reserved for the established and unassailable giants of packaged consumer goods.
Brands from any sector, take note. If you’re ambitious enough to dream of the sort of ‘insider’ status boasted by the likes of Weetabix – present in around half of UK household kitchen cupboards – and if you’ve got the product or service to justify such grand aspirations; there’s an additional marketing channel to plan into your 2022 budget.
Referral – “word of mouth on red bull” as our client DB calls it – is not traditionally seen as a marketing channel. Not a reliable one anyway, not without being able to measure or exploit it. If you can’t track an activity and figure out how to make it valuable, it can’t really be a line on your marketing plan, right?
We get it.
But then, we’re not talking about ‘Referral-Crossing-Your-Fingers-And-Hoping’.
We’re talking about Referral Engineering™.
A data-driven approach to referral marketing, Referral Engineering™ enables brands to capture, harness and capitalise on their best customers’ positive sentiment at scale.
The success of Referral Engineering™ is the result of a combination of expertise in referral psychology and the relentless tracking, testing and application of data.
In the background, the Referral Intelligence™ – the first party data and customer insights generated by a continuously optimised referral programme – can enhance and activate your channels across the rest of the marketing stack.
For customers however, it helps lift ecommerce ‘off screens’ and into their real lives and conversations. Ecommerce is entering a third era – with the first being when websites were solely used as online shop windows and the second being when everything was focused on optimisation, personalisation, and automation.
AI and automation is still right there as a necessary influencer of ecommerce, as is the design of the customer journey and experience.
But organic, offline, peer-to-peer conversations (and referral) will have a new and significant role to play in your ecommerce success – whether acquisition, retention or greater AOV. And it’s the heavy lifting of your data, science, expertise – and your engineering – that will allow for that capture and value.
So your most effective media channels and marketing moments will include the occasions that mean most to your current and future best customers: picnics and pub nights, weekend walks and barbecues, Sunday roasts or quick bites between meetings at work.
Referral Engineering isn’t like your other marketing channels. It doesn’t interrupt or beg for attention or engagement. It’s innate and rooted in those you want to get close to. It’s the pubs and picnic advocacy captured, tracked, valued and rewarded.
You don’t need to get involved or try to find ways of skewing your brands into your customers’ conversations or relationships with one another. All you need to do is set up a Referral Engineering programme™ that underpins and uses those interactions to grow your customer base.
Back in the ‘real world’ – where these conversations are taking place – your referrers strengthen their ties to you with the psychological effect that advocating for you has on their sentiment towards your brand. And those they refer to not only spend more on their first purchase (11% on average) and represent greater lifetime value than your existing customers; but they’re five times more likely to refer onwards than others.
It’s 21st Century customer acquisition. Marketing with heart and soul, driven entirely by those that know your target customers best – their families, friends and colleagues.