Originally published on Loyalty 360

The age of relying solely on mass mediated channels to reach an audience of prospective clients and customers is over. The fact is that people do not trust traditional advertising or formulaic sales pitches as much as they trust each other. The rise of digital connectivity and the advent of social channels is increasingly allowing people, and brands, to turn to personal networks of friends, family members and professional associates to make decisions on what products to buy or what technology platforms to integrate.

For marketers, this should not be a cause for alarm. In fact, it presents a tremendous opportunity to use referrals to win brand loyalty and increase customer engagement. In some circles this is known as advocacy marketing, and it leverages social assets to engage potential customers overtime, and to nurture relationships established through the power of true brand advocates.

These relationships are vital because referrals from a trusted source have been proven to increase both the satisfaction levels and the lifetime value of customers. Furthermore, referrals can also cut through all the marketing “noise” that interferes with so many other marketing channels. Overall, the benefits of referrals are hard to dispute. But the problem for most brands is in knowing just how to access, integrate and leverage referrals to understand customers and build better relationships with them.

However, Amplifinity can help organizations facilitate this conversation.

As an enterprise class software platform that uses the best of current technology to meet the needs of its clients and their customers, Amplifinity recognizes the importance of referrals in building advocate relationships. At its core, Amplifinity turns customer and employee advocacy into revenue. It believes that the best business comes directly from customers who inform an organization about other people or companies that need its products or services.

By leveraging the very nature of our socially connected marketing landscape, Amplifinity has been able to create a reliable channel for customer acquisition and engagement by scaling referrals digitally. The accuracy of this platform is also impressive, and Amplifinity claims that no referrals are ever missed through its ability to track and manage referrals. To date, Northern Michigan University, ADT Security Systems, and Outdoor Living Brands count themselves among Amplifinity’s list of clientele.

Recently, Loyalty360 was able to speak with Trisha Winter, Amplifinity CMO, who spoke more in depth about the platform and about the state of customer engagement marketing in general.

Can you start by giving us a high level overview of your customer engagement philosophy?  

Winter: Amplifinity believes every company should be customer obsessed, not only building loyalty to translate to repeat purchase, but new business through referrals. We believe you need to be consistently engaged with customers and highly transparent in interactions by building trust and customer delight through interactions with your business and a solid referral program can be a key part of that engagement strategy.

And when compared to other technology providers, what is unique about Amplifinity?  

Winter: In the past year, there has been a big uptick in brands that are realizing the value of leveraging their customers’ advocates and looking for ways to operationalize that advocacy. What makes Amplifinity unique is our focus on integrating referral programs with direct sales and field staff. We enable verbal recruitment of advocates and verbal referrals to easily be entered into the system by the field and be brought into the fully trackable and fully digital experience. This greatly increases the program success and makes referrals a part of daily operations for the field without adding hassle to marketing.

How does it work? Can you give us a brief overview of Amplifinity in general?  

Winter: Our platform provides brands the ability to acquire new customers through their existing customer base, employees or partner network. These brand advocates use the platform to promote the brand’s product or service to their existing network through integrations with social media platforms and an email automation and management system within the platform. Amplifinity makes referral program registration and login simple and secure by allowing brand advocates to connect using their brand credentials with Single Sign On and automates the management of participant communication preferences through built-in CAN-SPAM and CASL support.

As brand advocates refer the brand’s product or service and the receiving member of the advocate’s network (prospect) accepts the referral, the platform connects the two participants within the system by attaching a unique code. This unique code is attached to all activity of both participants in the future and allows the referral automation system to close the tracking loop and attribute success once a purchase has been made. Amplifinity’s platform allows the brand to monitor the status of all referral activity and automates the reward process once a successful referral has been reached. Through APIs and other integrations, Amplifinity allows brands to connect the activity within the referral automation system into their CRMs, Marketing Automation platform, and other system of records.

We also see a lot brands struggling to create alignment and a true dialogue with their audience. How do you think brands can accomplish this and how can they leverage your technology to do so?  

Winter: We now live in a world of inbound acquisition. The best inbound lead that can be generated is from customer, employee or partner referrals; referrals from people who know and can speak highly of your brand. Data shows referrals are the highest quality leads. In fact, the average conversion from referral lead to purchase on the Amplifinity platform is 34%.

We also see brands challenged with regards to data. What do you see as the challenges brands face with data, analytics and creating insight today?  

Winter: Marketing’s biggest challenge is showing ROI for its spend, budgets have increased over the years and now marketers are being pushed to show results. Amplifinity’s platform can directly show new business from referrals. You get direct ROI, and it is a clear monetization of efforts on building customer loyalty.

And finally, overall, how do you see the state of marketing today?  

Winter: Marketing budgets soared as efforts skewed to digital. There is intense pressure to now show ROI for that marketing spend. At the same time, new technologies are coming out and it’s a race to stay on top of latest and greatest. With competing pressures and priorities, it’s easy to get swept away in new tech that doesn’t give results, or drive top line growth and it is difficult to show direct ROI for marketing activities.