To Incent or Not to Incent: Is That the Question?
Actually, no. I don’t think the question at all is whether to incentivize our customers who spend more money and/or help us grow our business through positive ravings, reviews, or referrals. The real question is HOW we do this in a way that frames our customers in an unprecedented new light as vital business partners—and rewards them in the process.
Personally, I think it’s selfish and incredibly shortsighted to believe that our customers help us entirely out of the goodness of their hearts. Certainly there are going to be times—probably quite a lot—where intentions are pure. However, is this enough to sustain—or accelerate—the potential impact of these organic efforts?
The primary reasons that people spread the word about brands really have nothing to do with the brand itself. It’s a genuine attempt to help someone else make an informed decision, a little bit of self-validation (“I have an iPhone, so you should have an iPhone”), or both.
We should probably butt out of their lives and leave them to do whatever they were doing in the first place. Why would we even dare taint the drinking waters of natural recommendations with our flavor of marketing manipulation? Isn’t this supposed to be all about authenticity?
But these questions beget another: If you knew that a customer was outwardly dissuading others from purchasing you or spreading negative sentiment about the brand—wouldn’t you do something about it? If the answer ...