“I love Walgreen’s!”: Referral-based Marketing
Posted by jodee14
Just this week I was fortunate enough to run across a prime example of referral-based marketing: There was a glowing review for Walgreen’s Pharmacy from an acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook. In true social media form, her review was commented on and expanded by several other friends: Said one female, “I [love] Walgreen’s!”
Now, it just so happens that not two weeks earlier I had a horrible experience at the very same Walgreen’s: After nearly giving the customer in front of me the incorrect dosage of her prescription, the pharmacist asked me for information about a new type of antibiotic I was picking up for my son’s ear infection. (Seriously!) In addition my also-sick five-year-old and I were fortunate enough to get to wait 45 minutes to experience these exchanges. I was unimpressed to say the least. I told my husband about it, I complained to my mother, I even told a few friends, but (prior to today) I did not rant online. I never thought to.
Even with my terrible experience my friends’ exuberant posts made me think twice about my local Walgreen’s. Considering my initial reaction was to never step foot back in d**n store, I am forced to come to terms with persuasive power of the opinions of those in my social network! This leads me to wonder what type of power a negative comment has on a business’s reputation. In Socialnomics, Erik Qualman states (p. 205), “Heck, if there isn’t 5 to 10 percent negative noise around your brand, then your brand is either irrelevant or not being aggressive enough in the space. The quickest death in this new Socialnomic world is deliberating rather than doing.”
I have to say I see Qualman’s point here. There are so many things in process online, that a few negative comments are unlikely to be able to reverse all of the positives that happen with socially-connected marketing efforts. Case in point is the example Dr. Pignetti has shared that involves a poorly handled online interaction by Progressive Insurance. Although the negative press is rather intense (and understandably so), the largest initial problem with the occurrence was Progressive’s canned response. Had Progressive been monitoring their Twitter feed more closely and responded in a prompt way to dispel the idea of their lawyer representing the defendant in the accident trial, they may have even been able to shine as a caring and connected company. (I am extending the benefit of the doubt here in hopes that Progressive indeed did not have the defendant’s lawyer on payroll.) No matter how you view this terrible incident, for better or worse it is likely that Progressive (and other companies like them) will see far greater benefits in social media marketing than the sum of most negative press.
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