I’ll Have What She’s Having…

Provoking Word-of-Mouth Marketing

One of the harder-to-ignore trends in modern business is becoming what I’ve dubbed as “provoked word-of-mouth,” and it’s becoming increasingly pervasive.

There’s thought that 50% of purchase decisions are influenced through customer referral. Even better, according to influencer advocate solution Branderati, those referred buyers have a 37% higher-than-average retention rate.

The statistics are staggering and businesses are noticing. Endorsement of a product or service by a trusted friend or even common stranger lends the credibility that a brand is hard-pressed to provide on its own. It’s a more organic and less schlocky way of permeating a “don’t just take our word for it!..” concept.

This differs from traditional affiliate marketing as customers are urged to provide the influence, not just other businesses. Rather than sitting back and hoping happy customers share their tales of positive experience, many modern businesses are doing a great job of enabling such discourse by use of tech tools.

Perhaps the best way to depict this provoked influence phenomenon is through great example. Recently altering my subscription to Dollar Shave Club lead me to a widget that enabled sharing through email and social media, right there through the page’s interface. They even wrote the referral, so you don’t have to!

provoked word of mouth marketing - Dollar Shave Club

Cha-ching indeed, Dollar Shave Club; a dedicated sharable link to attribute influence and even a financial reward. This and many other similar approaches – leveraging pleased buyers to acquire even more business – are becoming increasingly prominent as an innovative business growth channel. With provoked word-of-mouth marketing, happy customers become the sales people.

Just to name a few other subjects I’ve noticed employing such a partnership program are 99 designs, Uber, and even Google Apps. An email with an affiliate offer from Mercedes-Benz just hit my inbox while writing this post.

Provoked Work Of Mouth Marketing - Mercedes

The technology behind such partnering programs, if not proprietary, is sometimes powered by some innovative third-party platforms, like Ambassador and RefferalCandy. There are also niche-focused players like Referral SaaSquash for subscription-based business.

Easing and incentivizing the process for people to tell friends about you is one of those marvelous channels in marketing where everybody wins. Happy customer gets a reward and satisfaction as a value emissary, referred customer gets needs met, brand expands its market reach. Smiles for everyone. The questions becomes, is your product worth talking about?

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