Generating referrals can be very challenging, especially if you ask people to share at the wrong moment, or ask too often. At ClickZ, Pete Blackshaw recommends that every business examine their customer experience to find the "ex-spot" or point at which the customer is most likely to share. Ex-spot experiences, as Pete describes them below, probably fall into a limited number of catgories, such as annual events and newly discovered bargains peopel want to pass along. Do you think ex-spot experiences are relatively predictable or unexpected and unique?
ClickZ, May 2, 2006: Do You Know How to Find the Marketing "Ex-Spot"? by Pete Blackshaw
The ex-spot is that critical moment of experience that makes feedback and word of mouth slide off your tongue like kids on a waterslide. It is always well-timed; piggybacks on the great things we love about products, services, and brands; and is never -- I repeat, never -- forced. A big reason so many marketers fail in word-of-mouth marketing programs is they embark on programs well outside the ex-spot. They push messages that are out of context with the actual customer or brand experience.
For even more information about why people do and don't share, look at this iMedia Connection article by Joseph Carrabis, Why Some Viral Marketing Doesn't Work, May 5, 2006.