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Referral marketing, but inspired by product-led growth

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Lately, I've been thinking that you don't have to market too hard to win wars.

You just need some fuel to start the racecar. Your seed distribution strategy.

And then a solid referral strategy / PLG growth loop on the top of it should work.

I want to share a few unique referral marketing examples I loved to study. I see so many SaaS products all the time that I wanted to explore other fields.

Referral marketing examples

1. This bag of chips has a call to action to share to share with a friend

chips referral marketing example

2. When Dunzo drivers are on the road to deliver everyday groceries for a customer, more potential customers see Dunzo and are reminded of the service. It was also a successful way of entry into a new market for Dunzo.

delivery referral marketing example

3. Defending your referral strategy:

The execs at Apple refused to extend iMessage to Android users because parents would stop buying Apple phones if they could text their kids on Android via iMessage. Here's a leaked email.

apple referral marketing example

4. Google literally relies on referral marketing on all their products. Even the largest company in the world knows that referral marketing is the best way to grow.

Google photos has shared albums and daily spotlights highlighting a friend/family member that you are encouraged to share. Their entire UI design is to get you to share.

google photos referral marketing example

5. Vanta hands out badges to companies with vetted security processes. These companies add the Vanta certified badge to their website footer. These help the enterprise buyers check out Vanta for all their other procurement needs too. Plus, backlinks. No wonder, Vanta's founder and CEO is one of the richest self-made women in the world.

SaaS referral marketing example

6. MyGate is a apartment security management app. MyGate throws up this massive poster that clearly says "Welcome to MyGate" for all societies using MyGate / or on their basic plan tier. Anyone visiting the society is bound to notice. Mygate is one of the fastest growing companies in India with 60 million users. This is 'powered by typeform" but IRL.

real estate SaaS referral marketing example

7. "Make the logo bigger" isn't just something marketing managers ask without a reason. Most fashion houses slap their logo on their cheapest product ranges. Take a look at the Sketchers shoe. There are 5 places on the shoe where the sketchers logo or wordmark is present. Each customer becomes a walking billboard. Regardless of which angle anyone else looks at, they'll see the brand name. I think Sketchers went a bit overboard with this though because it'll attract the wrong kinds of customers.

8. You'll hardly ever notice an ASUS logo on the laptop. But Apple's is unmissable. Their logo glows. It's larger. It's centre-aligned. Has better legibility. Everyone around you gets exposed to the brand (more touchpoints). Plus, it's on the inside and the outside.

Compare that to ASUS. Even if ASUS got product placement in movies, it'd be much harder to recognize. The wordmark "ASUS Zenbook" is left aligned which is hard to see. And on the outside, you've got the brand logo which can only reflect light but not emit.

10. Like we saw with Peppy, Mr. Beast's chocolate brand "Feastables" is also relying on referral marketing to grow. SHARE is printed on the bar and is the first thing users see as they tear open the wrapper.

10. Passes, founded by one of the youngest self-made billionaires and co-founder of Scale AI, is an app similar to Patreon. Lucy Guo's company has a referral program, which essentially involves referring others and earning a commission. It is a single-sided incentive. This might work if you have a memberships based marketplace business model and need support on the supply side.

I'm going to add to this list as time passes to serve as a swipe file for me to get inspired by.

Thanks for reading!

Btw, I'm trying to better understand who my audience is. If you've got ten minutes, I would love to do a user research call:




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