It’s no secret that most companies direct marketing dollars to top of the funnel activity. While necessary at some level, most top of funnel activity has the lowest conversion rate and generally the highest cost per acquisition. Where many businesses fail with their marketing is in leveraging the advocacy of the loyal customers they’ve converted over time.
Consider these interesting statistics:
A Gartner group study showed that 80% of a business’ future profits will come from just 20% of its existing customer base.
63% of C-Suite leaders believe that the customer experience is a “very important” investment priority … 42% of whom have boosted spending by more than 10% in this area in the last three years. (The Economist Intelligence Unit)
Most businesses who attempt to leverage brand advocates by motivating them to become referral sources, tend to lack systems for this process and instead simply think in terms of thank you “gifts.” By gifts, we mean presents and thank you notes. Gifts are definitely important in nurturing and rewarding relationships, however there are other important levels of recognition that businesses should consider.
Gamification expert, Gabe Zichermann’s, outlines four levels of recognition in his “SAPS” model. The last “s” in “SAPS” stands for “stuff” (or “gifts”) and it is the lowest priority method in the model. The four levels are (in order of most desired to least desired): Status, Access, Power, Stuff.
When designing a referral incentive program for your business, designing the “reward” is an important step, but the most effective rewards often go beyond the gift. Coming up with ideas for gifts is easy – which is why that’s as far as most businesses get. We’d challenge you to focus some time and energy on the three other levels and determine what you can offer client advocates in each area.
People like to like to be publicly recognized for their efforts. This is where status comes into play. How might you design a referral marketing program for your business where advocates increase status through levels of participation? Ideas will vary greatly by business sector, but think in terms of public recognition for effort, featuring them in your content, or developing hierarchical “titles” advocates can achieve through increased participation.
Access and exclusivity go hand-in-hand. When thinking of access rewards, think in terms of something you can offer that others don’t have access to. It can be as simple as allowing them to participate in a program or group by invitation only, early previews of coming initiatives, access to exclusive resources, an invitation to an event, or something as simple as a one-on-one lunch with the CEO.
Giving power equates to giving advocates a voice. In terms of a reward, that can mean inviting advocates to provide input and have influence in product/service development, soliciting their feedback on new ideas and initiatives, or even giving them an opportunity to serve as “guide” for your new customers in a way that benefits them, as well.
Developing a robust relationship and advocate marketing program has many aspects, the “reward” being just one component. Since most businesses gravitate to the “reward” first when thinking about relationship marketing, we thought we’d start there with this article. However, the idea is to challenge you to take it beyond the “gift.” If you also dedicate resources to what you can offer your biggest advocates in terms of status, access, and power, you’ll elevate the relationship to a new level, and you’ll have a customer for life carrying a megaphone with your brand on it.
If you’re ready to take your business and leadership skills to the next level, and if you think your business could benefit from more insights like what’s offered in this article, let’s start a conversation. LXCouncil may be the perfect next step!
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