Literature Review on Reference Marketing with a Focus on Reference Congruency
Literature mostly emphasizes and proves that reference marketing is necessary and valuable for both B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer) firms. In many experiment papers and survey papers, reference congruency is one of the important factors affecting the effectiveness of reference marketing. The goal of this study is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of reference congruency and compare it in both B2B and B2C settings. The literature review contains 31 papers. Papers focused on B2B market are significantly less than papers focus on B2B market. Resultsshow that reference congruency has positive effects on WOM (Word-of-Mouth) effectiveness and business reference value. Reference congruency also has moderate effects on WOM credibility. For B2C firms, reference congruency is often the interpersonal homophily. For B2B firms, reference congruency is more diversified than B2C firms which is usually multi-dimensional. The study would help B2B firms and B2C firms learn from each other. For researchers and managers, the literature review can expand and strengthen the understanding of reference congruency and improve the reference marketing strategy.