At this time of year, there’s no shortage of bold marketing predictions.
So I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what I think is going to affect every single business and every single consumer in the very near future: referral marketing.
I’ve always believed that referrals or Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing is probably the most profitable marketing, and that’s not going to change.
What I do think will change is that people are going to start cashing on the referrals that turn into transactions.
Ever referred anyone to a sweet Shiraz, a reliable mechanic, a reputable daycare, or even an enterprise server solution?
In the future, you’re gonna get paid.
Whether it’s with your own unique url, code, ID, UPC, QR code, mobile wallet number, or whatever, the technology exists to track referrals for virtually any transaction.
Thus whether you tweet about a must-have WordPress plugin, share an Instagram pic of new handbag, or even bump into a fellow dog owner asking where you got the trendy dog collar, if your endorsement leads to a transaction you’re going to get compensated.
I really believe we’re all going to turn into one big affiliate network.
Both B2B and B2C businesses are going to be rolling out competitive referral programs to incent people to recommend their products and services, and reward them accordingly.
Things that we’re already doing – posting, sharing, tweeting, texting, etc. – is going to become a big monetization play (even more so than it is already), and I think the mobile phone will be at the center of it all because more and more we do these things from our phones.
Will all this referral marketing be a good thing?
That’s not an easy question.
The last thing we want is to be bombarded by people just schilling any product to try and make a buck (or should I say bombarded even more by people doing this already).
On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with compensating people who refer new business as a pseudo sales force.
Companies already spend lots of money on sales, marketing and advertising, so really it would become just another channel to exploit.
That’s my bold prediction, what do you think?