Andy CockburnAndy CockburnNovember 21, 2018


Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are now well established, and for retailers have become one of the most anticipated events in their calendar.

The potential not only for a large spike in traffic, but also for customer engagement, is huge. To reap the benefits properly, planning a 360 joined up approach across the business is critical. A well thought out Black Friday marketing plan will have a tangible impact on customer retention and a business’s performance this November 23, as well as on Cyber Monday.

According to our own analysis, last year’s Black Friday saw an impressive 84 percent increase in new customers and a 67 percent increase in revenue delivered to our clients compared to the same week from the previous month.

These are impressive stats, even if they reflect one annual sales period. So how to plan for and make the most of this opportunity that Black Friday and Cyber Monday represents? Certainly it requires careful and considered strategising.

For retailers to truly harness the benefits of Black Friday, your marketing strategy needs to have a longer term goal. Don’t just be a one hit wonder on November 23. Give your customer a reason to revisit, purchase and recommend you to a friend.

Smart retailers approach Black Friday as part of their wider strategy and look at their customer lifetime value (LTV). Does this annual event attract long term customers to your brand, and if not, how can you turn these seasonal shoppers into brand advocates? Here are five top tips for using referral to make the most out of this impactful event.

1: Use a referral that ties into future events

Running a successful refer-a-friend programme that hooks into Black Friday will reward and engage existing customers, and encourage new customers to try your brand. Providing a referral offer that also ties into into future calendar events such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, will encourage repeat purchase and drive customer loyalty. This approach might also encourage more sharing with others, as people love to share new discoveries and insights that would impress their friends.

2: Target Existing Customers 

Many successful retailers are now choosing to offer exclusive loyalty based Black Friday deals to existing customers, rather than simply offering big discounts to bargain hunters. A referral programme can help a retailer develop these tailored offers to their most valuable customers.

If existing loyal customers share an offer with friends on Black Friday, their friends are likely to see this as more exclusive, compared to the blanket deals available which struggle to be heard amongst the noise. Building in a referral offer is more likely to drive repeat purchase and increase loyalty.

3: Give an irresistible offer

Is your offer enticing enough? This doesn’t have to mean giving a 50 percent discount; it can be as simple as including a competition, or an exclusive giveaway for a limited time only. The trick here is to segment your customers according to their buying behaviour. Then review your AB test results for which offers and approaches resonated most. Once you’ve done that you’ll be in a position to present each customer segment with a relevant offer that they can’t resist.

4: Add to various touchpoints and design 

Customers naturally like to share relevant, exclusive, and impressive offers with friends and family, and so aim to make the process as simple and streamlined as possible. Ensure that your referral programme is visible and easily accessible across a cross section of customer touchpoints, including email and social channels.

It is important to consider the demographic, and ensure that the channel is tailored to them. For example, research we just conducted into people’s preferred method of communication with a brand revealed that 46 percent of people would choose email over channels such as mobile or social platforms.

5: Don’t run out of vouchers 

Ending on a simple, but crucial tip. Make sure that you have enough vouchers for the entire Black Friday weekend. Also don’t forget to include longer valid use dates too.

This level of detail will help turn a two-day event, into an annual longer term customer acquisition strategy.

Andy CockburnAndy CockburnJune 11, 2018


Consumer trust in social media platforms and advertising is at an all-time low. At the same time, influencer and celebrity endorsement are reportedly reaching saturation.  As a result, Trust Marketing, a concept which originated fourteen years ago at MIT, is coming to the fore again in marketers’ minds.

Trust marketing encourages businesses to actively build up as much trust as possible with their customers and then to use it for the long-term good of the business. With consumers increasingly sceptical of many forms of “push” marketing, choosing to rely on your customers’ trust as a way to grow, can be a refreshing change.

Which approaches are open to marketers in this changing environment? One of the simplest ways businesses can get started with trust marketing is to launch a referral programme.  Referral is an excellent way for brands to develop their relationships with existing customers, meanwhile new ones are introduced in a way which maximises the potential for future trust.  However, for brands who are more used to the push model of paid advertising this means exploring new territory.

Last year, Mention Me conducted research with 2,000 UK consumers into what motivates them to recommend, and what qualities make a brand referrable. So what should businesses think about when considering setting up referral? Which factors are likely to make the programme a success? Using our research as a starting point, here are three suggestions:

Start by understanding how trust drives referral

We have a natural altruistic, desire to share good experiences with friends. There is also a sense of pride in letting friends in on the secret of a brand worth sharing.

So what are the main drivers for sharing? According to our research, 76 percent of those questioned stated that a brand being credible or trustworthy is the most important attribute for them in driving referral. Good product quality and customer service were also table-stakes for getting a referral to happen according to the research.

The research also suggested that we need to know someone personally in order to fully trust a recommendation. Only three percent said they’d trust a celebrity recommendation, and five percent would trust a blogger or influencer. This contrasts starkly with 50 percent trusting a friend and 46 percent a partner or spouse.

They remove the barriers

Looking at referral behaviour from the reverse angle, we also asked why people wouldn’t recommend a brand. Our research revealed that 41 percent, the highest percentage of those questioned, would not refer a brand if a friend told them not to shop there. It seems the social risk of sharing a brand that friends have already dismissed is just too high.

Not surprisingly, the research also revealed that 72 percent of those questioned wouldn’t recommend a poor quality product, 65 percent wouldn’t recommend if they experienced bad customer service and 57 percent were put off if the return process was difficult.

Even with a willingness to share a credible brand, inertia can still be a big barrier to referral. The right referral offer is important to overcome that inertia, with respondents preferring a referral for themselves (59 percent), compared to one which led with a reward for their friends (just 16 percent).

Get the timing right

As with every form of marketing, timing is key. Once the foundation for trust is established between a consumer and a brand, and the barriers to recommendation removed, success hinges upon how and where the referral prompt is implemented.

At this stage we recommend identifying your customer’s point of greatest delight, and also specific touchpoints in their interactions with the brand. Including referrals at these key times is most likely to lead to conversion.

Referral and the future of trust-based marketing

Marketing will continue to evolve and brands should continue to explore new channels to reach customers. With recent trust lapses by well-known social media platforms, one theme from our research, that brands can’t afford to neglect, is the value consumers place on trust and authenticity.

Customer referral programmes have emerged as key channels in this new world of trust marketing. Getting started with referral is not hard: focus on creating the right environment for trust, remove barriers, and prompt customers to refer at the right time. Under these circumstances your customers will do your marketing for you; creating a virtuous circle of ever-growing trust.

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