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Title: Optimizing referral reward programs under impression management considerations
Authors: Xiao, P. 
Tang, C.S.
Wirtz, J. 
Keywords: Impression management
Referral reward programs
Stackelberg game
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Xiao, P., Tang, C.S., Wirtz, J. (2011). Optimizing referral reward programs under impression management considerations. European Journal of Operational Research 215 (3) : 730-739. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: We examine referral reward programs (RRP) that are intended for a service firm to encourage its current customers (inductors) to entice their friends (inductees) to purchase the firm's service. By considering the interplay among the firm, the inductor, and the inductee, we solve a "nested" Stackelberg game so as to determine the optimal RRP in equilibrium. We determine the conditions under which it is optimal for the firm to reward the inductor only, reward the inductee only, or reward both. Also, our results suggest that RRP dominates direct marketing when the firm's current market penetration or the inductor's referral effectiveness is sufficiently high. We then extend our model to incorporate certain key impression management factors: the inductor's intrinsic reward of making a positive impression by being seen as helping a friend, the inductor's concerns about creating a negative impression when making an incentivized referral, and the inductee's impression of the inductor's credibility when an incentive is involved. In the presence of these impression management factors, we show that the firm should reward the inductee more and the inductor less. Under certain conditions, it is optimal for the firm to reward neither the inductor nor the inductee so that the optimal RRP relies purely on unincentivized word of mouth. © 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Source Title: European Journal of Operational Research
ISSN: 03772217
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2011.05.042
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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