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Referral Marketing: does it replace the marketing mix?

Referral Marketing: does it replace the marketing mix?

We know when it comes to acquiring new customers, one of the most powerful (if not THE most powerful) lead generators is through referrals. It’s hard to beat the power of word-of-mouth. And thanks to social media, we’re easily influenced by our friends and their personal experiences.

But before you throw your marketing strategy out the window, think about the place word-of-mouth has in the complete marketing mix.

Word-of-mouth and the marketing mix

We know word-of-mouth is powerful. But it isn’t the almighty. And there are a few reasons why.

I network – that should do it!

Word-of-mouth marketing is not just about “leads exchange networking” where participants are encouraged to refer new business to each other. Those groups still have their place. But with so much communication online, other types of referral programs have sprouted and small businesses reap the benefits. Referral marketing programs can include:

–       Co-branding

–       Affiliate marketing

–       Refer a friend promotions

The role of marketing

The job of marketing isn’t just to drive leads. While of course marketing generates leads then handballs it to sales to convert them, there’s some magic that happens in between.

Marketing has moved to an attribution way of thinking. Now, every piece of marketing you do can be attributed to the generation of a lead.

When someone refers you, that referral will conduct some level of research before they choose to do business with you. They might log on to your website, read your blog, follow you on Facebook or sign up for your email marketing before they make a purchasing decision. And if your marketing isn’t backing up what the original referral source had to say about you, you can kiss your referral goodbye.

Strategic planning

Not one stand-alone form of marketing will deliver what you need. Deliver a powerful punch, consider a collaborative approach to marketing. Make sure all your marketing efforts consistently support the one brand message, and include referral marketing in that mix. Actively ask and encourage your existing customers or fans to spread the word about your products and services.

If you want help ironing out your marketing mix and formulating a killer marketing strategy, let’s talk.

See you next week,

Darnelle

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