Marketers missing out on real value of referrals and word of mouth - DMA

Mark Johnson's picture

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) – in partnership with Mention Me – has revealed its latest insights into the untapped power of referrals. 

According to the ‘Referral Marketing: Are You Creating Customer Advocates?’ report, just one quarter (23%) of organisations currently have referral programmes in place for customer acquisition.

This figure becomes even more eye opening when the research goes on to highlight that 37% of consumers discover new products and services via recommendations from family and friends, but only 21% of marketers think this aspect is important to consumers.

Interestingly, two in five marketers (41%) believe word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the best ways to build trust. 

So, why do just a fifth of marketers believe in the importance of referral marketing programmes to customers?

Brands wish list 

Turning a customer into an advocate should be something on every brand’s wish list – it is essentially free promotion from a valued source. The research indicates that some marketers must start listening more to consumers.

“The power of customers backing your brand and recommending it to friends, family, and beyond, is a sure-fire way to drive more engagement and new customers”, said Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director at the DMA. 

“It creates a cyclical pattern, as these customers are more likely to refer, purchase more frequently, and, according to our research, have a higher average spend with a brand.”

Andy Cockburn, Co-founder and CEO at Mention Me, said: “Interestingly, many brands also misunderstand what matters most to consumers. 

“As presented in this report, marketers frequently overlook the brand values and ethical behaviours their customers really care about, instead focussing on the push marketing and brand loyalty often disregarded by target audiences.”

Power of influencers is a myth

Marketers overestimate the power of reviews and influencers in building trust. Some 20% of marketers think reviews add trust to purchasing but only 12% of consumers agree. 

Similarly, 9% of marketers cite influencers as adding trust compared to just 3% of consumers.

Aldighieri continues: “The power of influencer marketing and reviews have been touted as powerful marketing tools, but our data suggests marketers may be over-estimating the power of these in building long-term trust. 

“Rather than trying to use influencers or asking customers to review your products and services, a good strategy lies in combining the two. Why not ask your customers to be your influencers?”

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