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Swatek Joe 2013-11

Turn Your Customers into Your Sales Force

If you’ve been a financial services marketer for some time, you probably know about Tell A Friend programs. Here’s an example of what a marketing-savvy company does to generate new business through its Tell A Friend (TAF) program.

If you’re unfamiliar with TAFs, or even if you’re using a TAF program, you can pick up some ideas from this marketer.

Omaha Steaks is one of the most prolific national advertisers you’ll find. Ads for the company’s products appear in magazines and newspapers around the country. It has an extensive direct mail program and telemarketing program that offer sales and discounts.

Omaha Steaks mailed an invitation-style envelope package in mid-April. These coupons were inside.


If the image looks familiar, it might be because you remember the package from a sample image in my Idea File blog post. But when I saw the new mail package, I noticed a difference immediately.

There are still four tickets — one for the mail recipient and three to give to friends. Each ticket continues to give a 40% discount on all selections. But this time, the three friends tickets are black instead of burgundy.

Why the difference? I’ll speculate it’s to make each ticket seem more valuable. The customer who receives the package notices his or her ticket is a different color. Now, it’s obviously not something to give away. My ticket is special and I’ll give it more consideration. I’ll be more likely to use it.

There are all sorts of meanings for the color black, but let’s guess the change in the ticket color happened so the recipient also feels this friend ticket is more valuable. It’s not like a store coupon for dog food or snack bars. The new color seems to enhance the ticket’s value. (Tickets, we know, have value and give special access.)

How can you apply this idea to your own TAF program? Color changes aren’t likely an option. I’ll use our own clients’ TAF forms as reference. Typically, the gift’s photo dominates the front of the coupon. It’s the attention-getter. You’re likely not promoting multiple gifts, like Omaha Steaks is selling its thousands of food items, so the specific photo helps your efforts.

The added importance to your TAF coupon comes from the way your customer or member receives it. Don’t slip it in anonymously with other transaction materials. Don’t let tellers hand it over without a comment.

Make the coupon stand out by verbally drawing attention to it. Tellers should say something like, “Here’s a chance to get one of the new gifts we’re giving away.” When your account reps open new accounts, they should hand the new customer five or six TAF coupons and explain how they’re used. Indicate gifts change over time, so if the sno-cone machine doesn’t appeal to the individual’s taste, maybe the emergency roadside kit coming up next time will be more desirable.

No marketing program works if your own company and staff members ignore it. You must promote your products and promote the campaigns that generate interest in your company, your products, and your services.

You have an advantage over Omaha Steaks because your TAF program is promoted face-to-face in your offices where you can show off the premiums in a display. TAF programs are known to open accounts. Many accounts, when promoted.

If your company and your staff don’t make an effort, don’t blame the program if it doesn’t generate successful results.


Here are more in-depth descriptions of Tell A Friend programs, with examples shown.

Format Variety for Your Friends

Tell Your Friends — This Idea Works

If you’ve eaten lately, then it’s safe to check out the Omaha Steaks website. Ummm.

Tagsblog postcampaignDirect Mailenvelope packagefinancial servicesidea filemagazinemail packagemarketermarketing programmarketing TAF programnational advertisernewspapersales and discountssales forceTAF coupontelemarketingTell-A-Friendwebsite