Word-of-Mouth Marketing is a Win-Win for Partners and Companies
Companies often promote incentives to customers and marketing partners with insider deals, rewards memberships, and preferred customer hierarchies. These firms have paid out very little in return for loyalty and referrals.
Now businesses are also connecting with customers in an even more personal way via social media to enlarge this relationship and more accurately determine customer needs and preferences.
There’s a bigger opportunity here, and savvy brands have been taking advantage of it for years. Incentivizing customers is great, but why not employ them, too?
In this piece, we’ll examine companies such as Scentsy, ThirtyOne, Pampered Chef, and L’dara and the ways they involve customers and marketing partners through consultation and relationship marketing.
The value of learning from partners and customers
Many companies and brands are stifled by their inability to look beyond their office walls and into the minds of their customers and business partners. Does that sound familiar to you?
Considering the utility of the Internet, social media, and global connectivity, it’s now more possible than ever to gather vital information from the outside and put it to work on the inside. Below are some examples of how your company can benefit by expanding its approach.
- Leverage customer content. Do you lack the time and resources to steadily develop useful, insight-rich content? By building the right relationships and implementing good strategy, you can actually harvest content from your partners and customers. This may come to you in the form of guest posts, customer reviews, case studies, and marketing profiles.
- Find out what’s working. By talking with those who actually purchase, consume, and sell your product on a daily basis, you can gain valuable feedback. While the information alone is apt to be instructive, you’ll need to identify ways to integrate those suggestions back into your business model.
- Identify brand loyalists. If you’re able to identify the partners or customers who openly speak out for your company and advertise via word-of-mouth marketing, you can actually begin to put them to work for you. That’s what companies like L’dara, Scentsy, ThirtyOne, and Pampered Chef have done.
Employing and incentivizing
While providing incentives for partners to sell a company’s products has always been a well-respected and highly employed business model, have you considered employing customers and partners through consultation and relationship marketing?
The following are a few companies who have experienced great success with such tactics:
- Though a fairly new firm, L’dara International is backed by substantial resources. With the support of a billion-dollar company, more than 200 years of management experience, and a breakthrough product, L’dara is combining the power of internal capabilities with external resources. While the company is technically a startup, it doesn’t look like one. Instead, it has an incredibly well-developed customer centric compensation plan that rewards their independent Marketing Partners who share the product and bring new marketing partners and customers to the company through parties.
- Scentsy uses a similar business model, but does not employ marketing partners. The company simply sells its candles through independent consultants that host parties and advertise the products themselves. In return, Scentsy incentivizes each sale and provides resources to help the consultants succeed. This has worked well for the company; it has been in business for 10 years.
- ThirtyOne has also found value in letting consultants market the products in its stead. The firm has helped more than 100,000 women benefit by turning over 25% of every sale to the responsible consultant. The company also chooses to opt for flexibility, and lets consultants sell as much or as little as they like.
- A final example of this model that operates on word-of-mouth marketing and advertising by using customers to push the products is The Pampered Chef. It uses independent consultants to host parties and sell goods on commission.
The win-win of word-of-mouth
When you start a business, you don’t have to follow the standard business model everyone else has been adhering to. You can stray from the pack and find success.
In today’s corporate landscape, there are opportunities to succeed by turning to customers and partners to serve as your sales and marketing reps. All it takes is a good idea, some ingenuity, and willingness to help others succeed.
Study the examples offered by Scentsy, L’dara, The Pampered Chef, and ThirtyOne. In their case, involving customers and partners in the business has proven to be effective and profitable.