Lessons from AmEx’s Member-Get-Member Program

Member-Get-Member programs are nothing new. Many companies are using it to get new customers by aksing their customers to advertise. In turn, customers get some benefits.

AmEx’s Member-Get-Member program kicked off in 2011 as an easy way for members to refer their friends to AmEx in order to get a reward for doing so. However, this program as seen a surprising success for the Millennial or Gen Z age groups. Some 79% of referrals through the program represent these young demographics.

The program is simple: there is a short referral link that members can share with their friends. When a new customer signs up, both of them get rewarded. The success has been driven by the mobile app that has generated the majority of the referrals. The incentives to share a referral link were personalized with a process that used data analysis and AI tools to offer relevant incentives for customers.

The referral link is also personalized and can’t be passed from person to person. Subscribers get their own referral links when their membership is approved. The message AmEx is sending is that they want the link to be shared with friends and family and not used to spam people.

There are four simple lessons from the success of this referral program:

1. Offer a significant value exchange
2. Offer customized and relevant benefits
3. No forms, no switching to different channels: keep it as simple as possible
4. Do it mobile - that's where the people are

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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