Businesses often seek to leverage customers’ social networks to acquire new customers and stimulate word-of-mouth recommendations. While customers make brand recommendations for various reasons (e.g., incentives, reputation enhancement), they are also motivated by a desire for social empowerment—to feel an impact on others. In several multi-method studies, we show that facilitating sharing of social coupons (i.e., coupon sets that include one for self-use and one to be shared) is a unique marketing strategy that facilitates social empowerment. Firms benefit from social coupons because customers who share spend more and report greater purchase intentions than those who do not. Furthermore, we demonstrate that social coupons are most effective when the sharer’s brand relationship is new versus established. For customers with an established relationship, sharing with a receiver who also has an established relationship maximizes potential impact. Together, these studies connect social empowerment to relationship marketing and provide guidance to managers targeting social coupons.

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Post-print Article

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Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017 Academy of Marketing Science. Article first published online April 20, 2017.

DOI: 10.1007/s11747-017-0534-9

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Full citation:

Hanson, Sara and Hong Yuan. "Friends with Benefits: Social Coupons as a Strategy to Enhance Customers’ Social Empowerment." Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (2017): 1-20. doi: 10.1007/s11747-017-0534-9.

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