The key factors that help determine an organization’s marketing capabilities in today’s global platform are the ability to innovate, strategize, prioritize and most importantly, demonstrate a strong customer base with impressive retention capabilities. And in the context of the Business and Technology world it means that marketing organizations must be ever ready to cater to the growing needs of clientele be it market growth or improving quality of services within specific verticals or segments of existing clientele. This means that there will be obvious challenges that will come in the way of marketing and what will differentiate and help identify the leader amongst all will be the inherent ability to tailor solutions not just according to the clientele’s preferences, but also by making optimum utilization of different marketing strategies and approaches. Needless to say, any marketing organization’s solution must have a visible and direct impact on the types of rewards offered to clients, privacy and data security requirements, and the importance of integration with various social media tools and mobile messaging platforms.
Vancouver, BC based RewardStream Solutions Inc. is one among these leading companies that specializes in the execution of referral marketing programs that enables brands to acquire, engage, and retain their customers by leveraging that trusted relationship between existing, happy customers and their friends and family. RewardStream primarily serves telecommunications providers, financial institutions, and e-commerce companies that wish to accelerate their customer acquisition goals.
From a business purely focused on the Loyalty Marketing industry in its initial years, to helping businesses acquire new customers through the power of referral marketing today, the company has come a long way since its foundation in 1999. And with the rise of social media and consumer-to-consumer connections, CEO Rob Goehring strongly believes that shifting the business focus on customer acquisition and retention tools in recent years has borne the company fruitful results and enabled it to gear up to solely focus on the referral marketing industry.
Because referrals are one of the best ways to acquire new customers
Talking about what helps determine RewardStream’s product roadmap, Rob said, “I firmly believe that marketing has become more challenging for businesses today. In general it has become increasingly more difficult to reach new customers and build trust with them quickly through existing advertising methods, as customers are more well informed than ever about the market choices, and are inundated with branded messaging all day. We therefore believe that the best way to build trust and credibility is by having an existing, happy customer share their experience with a product to their friends and family. We are currently working to make the purchase process easier, faster and more satisfying for consumers by enabling businesses with automated referral marketing systems that can engage and reward customers – no matter how large or small the business is.”
Currently in the process of expanding its product to serve online stores, and empower them to acquire new customers through referrals, the company recently announced integration into Magento (one of the leading ecommerce platforms in the market today). This integration will enable any online store running on Magento to quickly and easily launch an embedded referral program right in their shopping experience, powered by RewardStream’s platform.
“Over the last 2 years we have continued to look to both market trends and customer requests to help expand the company’s core product offerings. We believe that existing customers have tremendous insight into how our platform can evolve and better serve existing customer needs, and our customers continue to be a rich source of ideas. We also firmly believe that true innovation comes from examining where the market trends could take us, and we employ strategic planning models to help ensure that we are investing our resources in the right places” he added.
These days it is easier than ever to start a company. The environment is now rich with open source and free software tools, inexpensive but massively scalable cloud hosting infrastructure like Amazon Web Services, and powerful marketing services and the ability for teams to work remotely using tools such as Slack. To pull together those tools and capabilities even 10 years ago would have required a significant up front investment. However, as it has become easy to launch a company, making the decision to actually start a business is still a significant undertaking, as starting any business requires a level of effort and commitment that is a challenge for many people.
Maintaining a business is definitely more difficult. Whereas the initial stages of starting and launching a company are difficult, they are also filled with hope, enthusiasm and energy around the unlimited possibilities. After a business begins to acquire customers, the balancing act of moving forward with growth while keeping existing customers happy becomes the focus. Naturally as any business endures, the operators are faced with a myriad of challenges – hiring and managing a growing team, maintaining the culture, making payroll, acquiring customers, managing support issues, legal, accounting and regulatory challenges, and the list goes on. Pretty soon the exciting startup can begin to feel like a daily grind, and the passion that drove the founding team can be consumed with simply running the business. Having the perseverance to stick through these difficult challenges can often be harder than one initially thought.
Like many early stage technology companies, there is always a challenge of how to grow at the appropriate rate given access to capital. In the last two years, the major challenge has been one of transitioning the business model from a historical focus on enterprise class custom loyalty programs to a sole focus on software-as-a-service (SaaS) referral marketing software that can scale from small business to large enterprise clients. The key challenges we faced were determining how to move to a singular, focused business while transitioning off old clients, maintaining and growing revenue within our core business, and re-building a team with the expertise we needed, all while keeping the business moving forward.
The referral marketing industry was really born out of the confluence of several factors: the rise of social media, the ability for consumers to connect 1:1 instantly and easily to share information, the absolute overload of marketing messages and advertising driving consumers to turn to the people they know for advice, and the enablement of all of these factors to take place inexpensively (or free) on the web and via mobile devices. As time goes on, I firmly believe that many of these forces will continue to put pressure on classic marketing methods, and consumers will continue to trust their close friends and family for product recommendations, and drive them to seek out referrals for an ever-growing number of products.