Think you need to incentivize your customers to recommend you? Think again!

By leveraging Zuberance...

  • Chili’s identified a brand army of nearly 1 million strong who published 50,000 reviews on Yelp and shared 320,000 offers on Facebook, Twitter, and email.
  • Each Advocate of Blurb (a print-on-demand publishing service) that recommend the company, brought in 1.6 new customers.
  • 30% of Intuit’s Advocates have written reviews and shared offers with their social networks.

When I tell people what Zuberance is all about and the results we’ve seen from companies energizing their Advocates, here's most common response I get (from marketers and non-marketers alike): “So how exactly do you incentivize people to make these recommendations?”

The answer is simple: We don’t! (As explained by Zuberance Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, here)

The last time you went to an exceptional restaurant, you probably went to work on Monday and raved about the best steak you’d ever had to your colleagues. What did that restaurant give you for the recommendation? What about the smart phone you suggested to your cousin or the bottle of wine you recommended for your sister-in-law? How much did those companies pay you?

So what motivates a recommendation? Take a look:

Recommending brands and products is not a selfish action. However, if you encourage your customers to talk about you by leveraging a selfish motive (such as referral programs), it taints the recommendation. This makes your customer look bad because he’s trying to score some cash or reward points at their friend’s expense; and it makes you, as a brand, look bad because it’s basically telling your customers, “Look, since our product isn’t worth talking about genuinely, how about I give you some rewards points to do it and we’ll call it even.”

Keep recommendations for your brand authentic by going above and beyond to please your customers (becoming “customer-obsessed” as Josh Bernoff put it in a recent Forrester report.) Then, you won’t have to worry about paying or incentivizing your customers to talk about you. Because let's be real, that’s just lame anyway.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

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 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.


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!