Unintended reward costs: The effectiveness of customer referral reward programs for innovative products and services


To encourage customers’ referral behavior and expand their customer base, providers of innovative products and services often use customer referral reward programs (CRPs), though not all CRPs deliver on their initial promise. With one field experiment and four online experiments, this research investigates the effectiveness of rewarded referrals for recruiting new customers for more innovative (versus less innovative) offerings and outlines the conditions in which public referral rewards have unintended ramifications and decrease customers’ referral likelihood. In addition to establishing these effects for more innovative offerings, this research identifies some moderating consequences, such that the detrimental effect of referral rewards on referral behavior can be attenuated by not disclosing referral rewards (for recommenders) to referral recipients, increasing the referral reward size, and rewarding both recommenders and referral recipients. These findings have theoretical and managerial implications.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-019-00635-z
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Marketing & Strategy
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Customer referral reward program,Innovative products and services,Reward scheme,Reward size,Reward visibility,Self-enhancement theory,Business and International Management,Economics and Econometrics,Marketing
Publication ISSN: 1552-7824
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 07:23
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 14:54
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 747-019-00635-z (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2019-05-15
Published Online Date: 2019-02-09
Accepted Date: 2019-01-17
Authors: Dose, David (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-1530-8182)
Walsh, Gianfranco
Beatty, Sharon E.
Elsner, Ralf



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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