A Brief Introduction to Friendship Marketing

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  • January 14, 2011

I’ve heard it said that the request of a friend is somewhat like a royal command. When you have a friend, a genuine friend, who asks for something, you do what you can to provide it. When they recommend something, you value their recommendation like gold.

Growing up, it was natural for my friends and I to always have each other’s back. In the military, that’s even more true.

My friends can pitch an inexpensive worthless product and if it helps them, I’m on board. A great example of this is when my friends are selling candy to raise money for their child’s school or extra curricular school club. I don’t eat many sweets so if I buy even a small box, I know it’s going to take me a month to get through it, but that doesn’t matter. I know that it’s going to help my friend so I jump on board.

Of course, if they’re asking me to support their family every week with purchases of candy, Avon, Amway and every other individually sold product on the market then it’s going to strain that friendship and I’m probably going to start avoiding spending my time with that person.

Who wants to be friends with a 24/7 salesman? Not me.

I find that this is a powerful principle in business as well. I’m willing to spend a few extra dollars (within reason) to support the business that a personal friend owns rather than to get the same product at the local Wal-Mart. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one like that.

This post only scratches the surface of this powerful concept so stay tuned. Next Thursday, Seth Waite and myself will be publishing posts at our respective sites diving into this subject much more thoroughly. I’ll be sure to link to his article when it’s up so you can follow the conversation.

In the meantime though, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

38 Comments

  • Katey says:

    Friendship is the most powerful tool of influence…to see the amazing effects it has on your marketing you just have to read “Influence: Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B Cialdini.

  • TrafficColeman says:

    Use as marketers have to support each other when were trying to push our brand..its all about networking.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      But would you promote a friend or fellow marketer if you feel that their product is sub-par just because they are your friend?

  • Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing says:

    Probably one of the easiest things to get out of hand; I’d bet more friendships are ruined then tightened due to business.

    • Seth W says:

      I agree that friendship’s can be destroyed by business but I think Nick’s idea of friendship marketing isn’t about using your friends.

      My post is for sure going to be about how to strengthen your friendships and I know Nick’s going to be positive too.

      I’ve seen some ugly and low things done in the name of “friendship” though.

      Nice warning.

      • Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing says:

        Hey Seth, it is good to see you out and about again, as it were. I hope all that had to be taken care of went smoothly.

        I know You/Nic don’t mean what I’m ssyin’, but it needs to be said.

        At the very least everyone, especially eager beginners need to know there are definite limits and boundaries to be aware of.

        PS: Any chance you’ll head back to Blogussion at all?

        • Seth W says:

          I love Blogussion and have heard (whispering, whispering) that it is about to get very active again.

          I am not going to be heading back for anything other than occasional guest posts but I hope Alex rocks it and gets some fresh content on it very soon.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Actually, I completely agree with you. Friendship marketing is a great way to use influence toward products, but it’s also a great way to destroy relationships. I think it’s more than fair to look at both the positive and the negative aspects so that you can avoid and minimize those negative aspects of it.

  • Izzat Aziz says:

    I would like to jump into comment with my opinion in this matter, but I guess I should wait till you write it completely about it.

    One thing I could say, Can’t wait for that post.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Feel free to share your thoughts here. I might even reference them when I get this article put together. No need to hold back.

  • gina says:

    i definitely spend my money at my friends shops first – and i always buy handmade when i can afford it/get what i want.

    however, trust me to come to YOU when i want to shop – i KNOW what you do. DO NOT keep asking me.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I completely agree with you and I find that it’s so incredibly important NOT to badger your friends. Let people know casually what you do and you won’t ever need to bring it up again. They’ll find you when they need what you have.

  • Melvin says:

    This is so true. That’s why in the blogosphere its easy to notice that people who are friends with others easily promote their stuff, even if its kind of like odd to promote or unrelated to their niche.

    That’s why list marketers want to make you believe they’re your friends. :D

  • Carolee a.ka. Blogging Biz Mom says:

    I’m a firm supporter of friends, within reason.

  • Adebola says:

    I can’t wait for the promised post. I run a web designing business and I have NEVER done any MAJOR ad.

    Patronised majorly by my friends and they even recommend me to theirs too and that is how business has been expanding over the years.

    Love you Nic :)

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Thanks Adebola. That word-of-mouth recommendation is so powerful. That’s exactly what friendship marketing is all about.

      • Adebola says:

        True Nic!

        By using word-of-mouth, I started as a lone ranger now have a team of about 5 designers, just bringing them in now.

        Though other forms of marketing will be carried out from now on, but will still rely a lot on friendship marketing.

  • Lou Barba says:

    Hi Nick,

    Your post outlines a concept that many people in the company I am associated with promote when selling a tool that makes relationship marketing easy. I agree wholeheartedly that people tend to buy from friends. Certainly, even in the retail world, I avoid buying from UNfriendly people. And, as I tell the kids on my bus when the arguments break out, it’s more fun to be NICE to people.

    Lou Barba

  • Ron Leyba says:

    I can’t wait for that upcoming post Nick. And hey, its nice to see Seth Waite once again! Where have you been buddy?

    • Seth W says:

      It’s nice to be back. I hope you enjoy the post and it’s great to see you too.

      Friendship Marketing is pretty powerful.

      • Nicholas Cardot says:

        See Ron, Seth is only here because he’s my friend. ;)

        Enough said. LOL

      • Adebola says:

        Seth,
        JDM is a great site that I have bookmarked and will be visiting over and over.

        Just getting interested in Photoshop and need all the tutor I can get.

        Can’t wait to read your post on Relationship Marketing.

  • Patricia@lavenderuses says:

    Hi Nicholas

    I love to support my friends too. That includes my blogging buddies. However, one thing I have noticed is that sometimes it is easier to take others for granted and maybe expect when we shouldn’t.

    If I feel I am being taken for granted or even used then I now take a step back. Didn’t in the past so for me that is personal growth.

    It saddens me when I hear some bloggers comments about others. Wanting to connect for what they can get rather than see how they can give. I move on when I see that happening.

    Been around too many takers in my life. Life’s too short. And yet there are bloggers whom I have met and they are some of the most generous people I know. Those are the people I want to share and connect with.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      So to summarize what you’re saying is that you’re attract toward people who seem to be giving, sharing and caring more than seeking personal benefits.

      That reminds me of what I believe our buzzword for 2011 should be: authenticity. We need to start being genuinely caring. People can see through that fake kindness that’s there only to get noticed.

  • Journey Digital Media - Friendship Marketing: Putting Friends First says:

    […] and I were chatting about different strategies we were using and the term came up (from Nick) for Friendship Marketing. Although I am sure what Nick is writing on it will be similar, I want to express my different […]

  • Melody says:

    Hi Nicholas! I’m looking forward to the second half of this, so I’ll just weigh in briefly now. As I read through this two things strongly came to mind. The first: eons ago, as an undergrad, I remember learning in some sociology that researchers believe that most people have a powerful internal sense of reciprocity. They notice when they’re giving and giving, and they feel like they’re not getting much back. Secondly, and more on point, I remembered Stephen Covey’s idea of an emotional bank account.

    We keep a stronger emotional bank account with friendships than that cold door to door saleman trying to sell us a Fuller brush.

    Absolutely I think we should be altruistically motivated, but I think really you’ve totally given perfect illustration to the emotional bank account.

    Take care! ~Melody

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Hey Mel,

      I’ve posted up the second part over at the following link and I’ve updated this post to reflect that.

      http://www.sitesketch101.com/friendship-marketing

      I remember reading about that emotional bank account and I think that you’re absolutely right. I think I remember him mentioning that quite often our withdrawals are much larger than we think and our deposits are often much smaller than we think. That always hit home for me.

  • Allie @ FaqSoftware says:

    I would have to agree, it is nice to share and give a little but if it goes too far it may hurt the relationship you have with a person. For example, they sell you something but you really don’t need it, just tell the truth and say maybe next time or find a different product that you will be needing.

  • Gerald Watch says:

    I did this for a while selling forex, when I saw many friends losing money, I just stopped recommending despite profits. It’s right to sell to friends, but only what is really good for them. very good post.

  • anthonynlee says:

    I whole heartedly agree with this post’s sentiment. When I was a young lad, I tried constantly to shove my latest opportunity down everyone’s throat.
    Lost a LOT of friends.
    Not that they were real REAL friends. Those will put up with anything….but they still won’t buy.

  • Reza Winandar says:

    We could sell something to our freinds easily, but we won’t.

  • Ranjith says:

    Seems that even friendship has not been spared. Using friends for improving ones business is not a good idea. Friendship is precious and no less tahn one’s life. How is that friendship be exchanged for business profts.

    • John Burbage says:

      I disagree with Ranjith here.

      I am nearing a layoff. I will need something more to be able to help me make it after the layoff. I have decided to start a home business and I plan to use friendship marketing.

      I will be cautious as I know friends could feel used. But I know that I would want to help my friends if I were on the other end. I will be asking friends to buy from me instead of a big compnay. I will make it easy for my friends to pass. I will be sure not to give them anything inferior to what they currently have.

      With good friendships and careful communication I think friendship marketing is a good thing.

      Regards,

      John

  • Noel Addison says:

    Two points I got from this post:
    (1)Its not bad too seek help from your friends for your business but never abuse their goodwill.(2) Know the limitations of your friendship or relationship with other people. (You can’t always ask for same favors that only benefits you.

  • The Future of Social Media Marketing? | Competitive Advantage Marketing Inc says:

    […] subtitle of the book is “Profiting in the Age of Friendship Marketing,” and one of Bailyn’s key themes is how social media are changing the way marketers and […]

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