Gaining referrals from Millennials and Gen Z: Thursday’s daily brief

Gaining referrals from Millennials and Gen Z: Thursday’s daily brief

Good morning, Marketers, and have you tried being a consumer lately?

It’s something we all have to do when we need to buy something. And it’s a great way to see data at work.

I recently moved and was looking to purchase a new TV. I chose to buy from a national retailer and decided to purchase in-store for the big-ticket item. It was over the July 4th holiday, and I was surprised that there weren’t any holiday sales for the TVs I was considering. It was almost like they knew I was going to buy a TV and didn’t need to lower their prices substantially to incentivize me. But how did they know that?

I asked the salesperson, “Why no sales?” He said it was beyond him but that the company uses predictive analytics to determine when items should go on sale. Maybe it was the beginning of the month and other renters like me were buying up TVs. The point is that they knew. And nobody needed to know how they knew, not even at the store. For pricing, it’s not about interpreting buyer psychology. The right price, and the sale, can be helped along by letting the data speak for itself.

Whatever technology solution the retailer was using: it worked. I just wanted the TV before basketball season ends.

Chris Wood,


AmEx takes their MGM referral program to another level  

American Express’s referral program, known as “Member-Get-Member” (MGM) is nothing new, of course. The referral program kicked off in 2011 as an easy way for members to refer their friends to AmEx and get rewarded for doing so. But recently it’s seen startling success with younger age groups. Some 79% of referrals through the program represent the Millennial or Gen Z age groups – and a statistic like that can hardly be a coincidence. It’s become AmEx’s second-largest customer acquisition channel (second only to partner channels).

“At the center of the program,” said Jean Castanon, AmEx’s VP of Product Referral Marketing, “is a short referral link that members can share with their friends, and when somebody gets approved for a card, both of them get rewarded. That’s the program in a nutshell.”

AmEx has a range of acquisition channels, digital and traditional, such as paid search, display, affiliate channels, and in certain markets direct mail. “What has driven the success of the program is that it’s digitally native,” said Castanon. “Our mobile app is now driving the majority of the referrals. We do a couple of things from a personalization standpoint. We want to be in the right place with the right message for the right person, so there’s an aspect of personalization.”

There’s also the aspect of relevancy. “We offer certain card members more relevant incentives to refer a friend.” These incentives can be product-based – for example, a Gold Card member might be offered a larger number of reward points – but also contextual. “During the pandemic, we had a successful campaign where we were offering card members and prospects home furnishing discounts.”

Read more here.

Yelp launches new platform: Yelp Audiences  

Yelp, the popular local business discovery platform has launched Yelp Audiences to connect national and regional advertisers with consumers based on Yelp search activity. This creates the opportunity to target high intent Yelp users outside the Yelp platform and at any stage in the purchase cycle.

By working directly with advertisers, Yelp reduces the need for them to purchase consumer data from third parties. Yelp Audiences also protects user privacy by not sharing personally identifying information with advertisers. Yelp partners with DSPs to target ads based on Yelp searches. 

Ads are delivered across channels, including websites, mobile apps, and video streaming through CTV.

KitchenAid previously partnered with Yelp by using Yelp Audiences to promote women-owned restaurants. A study by Kantar, a third-party measurement company, found that respondents who saw KitchenAid’s Yelp Audiences ads showed a 12 point lift in the perception that “KitchenAid is made for people who love to cook,” a 5X higher lift compared to the industry benchmark for brand attributes.

Why we care. Yelp has long served local businesses. This is part of its ongoing pivot to serve national and regional businesses at the local level. And of course, Yelp is yet another company that happily finds itself sitting on an awful lot of logged-in first-party data, not unlike, say, Facebook.

Snowflake goes all-in on Unified ID 2.0  

Snowflake, the cloud data platform, has announced its support for Unified ID 2.0, developed by The Trade Desk as an open-source alternative identifier. With its addition to the Snowflake Data Marketplace, Snowflake customers will be able to directly activate audiences on any platform that has adopted Unified ID 2.0 using Snowflake’s data-sharing technology.

Among the many platforms which have adopted Unified ID 2.0 to date are Oracle, Nielsen, The Washington Post and a number of CTV providers. Snowflake customers will be able to connect ad exposure with purchase data tied to Unified ID 2.0 profiles without breaching consumer privacy. 

Why we care. This is unquestionably another win for Unified ID 2.0. Snowflake has an extensive customer base, including some 187 of the Fortune 500 companies. The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green has said that he does not want or expect Unified ID 2.0 to become the single universal identifier on the market. But right now it’s winning a lot of market approval.

Read Jeff Green’s recent remarks on the open internet.

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