Referrals - Birds of a Feather
By the way, here's a tip from your cataloger colleagues. You'll notice catalogers rarely ask for just one or two names and addresses. Why? They've found if you ask for two, you'll get two. If you ask for five, you'll probably get five.
Other companies, such as White Flower Farm and Chinaberry Books, add an effective twist to their referral offers by providing back-end incentives. In one case, it's for the customer doing the referring; in the other, it's for the person being referred. Chinaberry gives customers who send referrals a coupon for free shipping every time two referrals convert to buying customers. White Flower Farm sends each referral name a copy of the catalog plus a $5 credit towards the first order.
HOW B-TO-B MARKETERS CAN USE REFERRALS
Business-to-business marketers often use customer referral programs to solve the problem of cost-effectively identifying elusive prospects. For example, InterCall, a national provider of teleconferencing services, uses existing customers to help reach others in the same company who may be using a competitive teleconferencing service. This simple two-color self-mailer includes a pass-along/mail-along card with a "Tip Worth Sharing." It has the customer provide his or her InterCall Account Executive's name and phone number along with a simple check-off testimonial.
When the referral calls the AE, the InterCall customer receives a Starbucks Gift Certificate as a thank you.
In the case of ARMA International, the organization was faced with diminishing membership in their long-established organization for records managers. Thanks to computers, not only had the technology used to manage a company's records and filing system changed, the titles of the people doing the job had multiplied and changed, too. As a result, ARMA had a very difficult time prospecting for new members; they simply couldn't find them—until they implemented their strategically sound, multi-step, "Where in the World is R.MaMember" referral program and competition (see sample on p. 58). It not only generated qualified prospective members, but was also recognized as the "Best of Show" by the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association for its creativity and results.