Why We Refer – Would you Refer?

Continuing the Viral marketing discussion Mathew Ingram – who blogs a lot about media – put me on to this great post by Pete Blackshaw  of Nelson Buzzma currently CMO of Neilsen BuzzMetrics (what is a CMO).

Pete outlines Five factors that drive personal referral. As headings they are:
– First to know & First to tell
– Favor Banking
– Creditability Rub-Off
– Projection
– Genuine Brand Love

(Here’s a second link to the post so you can read everything he has to say – because it’s very insightful)

The point, which  Alec Saunders  made so well in his presentation on viral marketing, is that unless you exploit some common motivation and behaviors – like those that Pete outlines– you’re not going to maximize the viral spread of your site or service.

All of this brings me to a post on Joint Communications on How Radio Stations can be more inter-active. They start by pointing out that the 18-34 year old demographic is significantly reducing the time they devote to radio listening. Down 15.3% in 7 years – that’s huge given that listening can be a background activity.

The solution they propose is communicating and interacting with listeners digitally – which is 100% correct. They then point out Q101 as an example of great things – which unfortunately isn’t nearly as good as it could be.

First there’s the web site, that like many radio sites, throw’s a million links and flashing images on the front page (I thought I hit the Way Back Machine) – and direct links to every page as a “menu”. If I were 18 – or even 34 (which unfortunately I’m not either) I wouldn’t refer the site to anyone because they’d think I was a dork.

To be fair the site isn’t what Joint Communication refers to as great – they suggest it’s the permission marketed newsletter – as a source of information on pre-sale concert tickets, inside scoop, station news,etc. 

Now the question – does a newsletter – send maybe once a week – meet the 5 tests for referral that Pete Balckshaw outlines. My feeling is that it misses the mark – not because the concept is wrong but the execution is. No way to be First to Know (anyone who wants can get the newletter) or First to Share (bet they broadcast newsletter info simultaneously or very shortly after release). Without that there’s little Favor Banking. Given the site is there Credibility rub-off etc.

It’s a real pity because radio has some amazing tools to promote referral – and to drive traffic to their sites – and ears to their stations. As Rob Curley says in this great video – If you’re going to compete in a multimedia space you need ‘A-listers’ building the properties – because that’s who you’re competing against. 

Radio hasn’t done that yet. When it does – watch out – because referals will drive a lot of the site and listening activity.