flip the funnel

Debate Recording: Incentivizing Word of Mouth, or Not- Featuring Joe Jaffe & Rob Fuggetta

Rob Fuggetta (@zuberance), Founder and CEO of Zuberance, and Joe Jaffe (@jaffejuice), author of “Flip the Funnel” and creator of Jaffe Juice TV, held a debate via live Podcast this past Monday to discuss whether or not marketers need to incentivize Word of Mouth to yield results. (This debate was a result of "Flip the Funnel- No Incentives Necessary," a recent blog post written by Fuggetta.) Listen to the Podcast:

IN FAVOR ARGUMENT – NEED TO INCETIVIZE WOM

In his recent book “Flip the Funnel,” Jaffe says companies should start by focusing their efforts on the customer purchase rather than ending with it. He points to successful examples like Zappos and USAA who are focusing on customer retention, customer experience, relationship building, and the networked effects of customer-originated Word of Mouth. Jaffe contends that Word of Mouth marketing works for passion brands like Apple. But, he states that for nearly all other brands, marketers have to provide incentives to yield results.

AGAINST ARGUMENT – INCENTIVIZING WOM NOT NEEDED

Zuberance argues that it is not necessary to provide incentives to get Brand Advocates to recommend you (even for brands in categories like telecom, software and financial services).  The key to energizing Word of Mouth marketing at scale is to have a systematic approach to brand advocacy that automates the process of identifying and mobilizing a company’s authentic Brand Advocates, generating a measurable 10X ROI.

What are your thoughts? Does energizing Word of Mouth require incentives? Leave your comments here!

Flip the Funnel- No Incentives Necessary

I recommend “Flip the Funnel” by social media strategist Joe Jaffe. Jaffe says companies should “flip the funnel”  by starting with a customer purchase rather than ending with it. Pointing to successful examples like Zappos and USAA, Jaffe says companies should focus on customer retention, customer experience, relationship building, and the networked effects of customer-originated Word of Mouth.

While I agree with much of what Jaffe says in “Flip the Funnel,” I respectfully disagree with his contention that companies need to incentivize Word of Mouth.

Our experience at Zuberance has shown that the key to energizing Brand Advocates at scale is to have a systematic approach to brand advocacy – a “Brand Advocate System” – that automates the process of identifying and mobilizing Advocates on an ongoing basis, plus tracks results.

This system should make it drop dead easy for Advocates to recommend your brand or product by giving them advocacy tools that are simple, easy to use, and ubiquitous.

Hitting the Advocacy Jackpot

By arming their Advocates, brands are getting amazing results fast (via the Zuberance Advocate Platform):

  • Over 33% of Brand Advocates are rating and reviewing products or writing testimonials
  • Over 60% of Brand Advocates are answering prospects’ questions
  • About 30% are sharing promotional offers with their social networks

Chili’s Grill & Bar, a Zuberance customer, has energized over 100,000 Chili’s Advocates to spread positive Word of Mouth. Not a single Chili’s Advocate – nor any Zuberance-powered Brand Advocate – has ever received a penny for these recommendations.

PS: Not for Sexy Brands Only

By the way, our customers include telecom companies, software, and financial services firms; not exactly sexy brands like Apple or in “passion categories” like cars.