By Andy Cockburn, CEO of Mention Me
November 23rd 2012 – the day that Black Friday became a seminal date on the UK retail calendar. In five years this US exported phenomenon has altered the mindset and spending of the consumer, and the focus and marketing strategy of nearly all retail brands across the country. This new date in the retail marketer’s diary has both opened up an opportunity to drive huge spikes in sales before Christmas, and also provided an excuse to reach out to existing customers with targeted offers, as well as building awareness with new customers. For a retailer to truly yield the benefit from this in customer retention and acquisition, their marketing strategy needs to have a longer term goal – don’t just be a one hit wonder on 24th November but give your customer a reason to revisit, purchase and recommend you to a friend.
According to recent survey results from Mention Me highlighting that 29% of those questioned hold off making major purchases or starting their Christmas shopping until the Black Friday sales, retailers have a huge opportunity to attract existing and new customers during Black Friday weekend – and harness the goodwill. The survey also showed that 41% of those questioned would be put off referring a brand if their friend told them not to shop there, compared to only 36% put off by negative press or social media coverage. And so channelling marketing efforts through referral can yield huge benefits.
The most old fashioned form of marketing ‘word of mouth’, in its most modern form ‘refer a friend’ marketing campaigns, cuts out the multiple touch points of advertising campaigns for example. Referral programmes give brands an excuse to develop a relationship with their customer, reward and encourage loyalty and offer new customers a positive interaction with the brand. Mention Me’s research supports this with 76% of those questioned opting for a brand being credible or trustworthy as the most important qualities to refer.
The research results suggest correspondingly that marketers need to focus less on influencer marketing programmes and social media campaigns, and more on referral campaigns that reach a targeted customer more directly and personally. Especially with the research revealing that out of those questioned only 3% would trust a celebrity recommendation, 5% a blogger or youtube influencer.
There’s no doubt that getting the right deal is still very important for UK shoppers with 53% of those questioned selecting a percentage or money off future orders as the most attractive offer. This compares to only 11% choosing a free delivery, 10% choosing a free gift and a sobering 1.9% a charitable donation. However with 76% of those questioned valuing most highly a brand being trustworthy in order to refer them, a customer is likely to value a genuine offer from a relevant brand. A friend or family member would typically be in a good position to refer a targeted and relevant offer, with 50% of those questioned trusting a friend and 46% their partner or spouse.
Overall with both sexes the most referable sectors for referral relate to experiences: Food & drink (65%), holiday & travel (57%), leisure / entertainment (42%). Technology (48%) and Financial services (43%) also rate highly There are some marked differences with 40% of women very likely to refer fashion and beauty, compared to only 9% of men likely to refer a men’s fashion brand, and one fifth of the men interviewed were very likely to refer a tech brand compared to only one tenth of women.
With two of the biggest retail events on the calendar approaching with Black Friday and Christmas, retail marketers need to be ensuring that they invest their spend in the most targeted and efficient way. Building a refer-a-friend platform into a marketing programme offers the opportunity to build a relationship with new and existing customers, and a path for the customer to increase their loyalty and continue their journey with the brand.
Mention Me partnered with One Poll for this survey, who questioned 2,000 UK consumers. The survey was completed 15 September 2017.
About Mention Me: Mention-Me.com provides retailers with a referral marketing platform which enables them to turn word-of-mouth into a marketing channel. It works in partnership with retailers to ensure best practice and testing resulting in world class referral programmes.
(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)