How PUMA achieves 6x ROI through customer advocacy
Key results from PUMA's referral programme so far:
- Delivering 6x ROI (following six months of optimisation)
- Referred customers are 4x more likely to introduce new customers*
- 10% of referrals convert into new customers
* Compared to customers acquired through other channels
Leading sports brand PUMA needs little introduction. For decades, they've been transforming and empowering millions of aspiring athletes worldwide, growing a loyal base of brand fans in the process.
In 2021, they turned to Mention Me to transform this fanbase into a key growth driver for their direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel.
“PUMA has a core of very active and loyal customers,” explains David Witts, Senior CRM Manager E-Commerce Europe at PUMA.
“Referral offers a way to harness that audience so we can reach and convert more people, growing our ecommerce business in the process. The personal one-on-one touch of referral gives it powerful potential.”
A seamless set-up
Following an introduction through Emarsys, PUMA started working with Mention Me to achieve two key goals: acquire new customers, and nurture brand advocacy and loyalty.
Just 36 days after signing, PUMA launched referral campaigns in all six of their major European markets.
“The onboarding process was so easy and smooth,” says David. “All it required was a tag on our site, with no coding development. It was really impressive how quickly we were able to get everything up and running.”
Driving explosive growth
As with any marketing channel, PUMA’s referral programme required a ramping up phase.
They worked closely with the Mention Me team to implement best practice, such as promoting referral across key touchpoints, switching off competing promotions, and A/B testing by cohort to better understand their target markets and what resonates with them.
A particularly stand-out test for PUMA involved ‘give’ versus ‘get’ messaging. They ran this across their key European markets to discover that behaviour starkly differs between them. German and French audiences, for example, are more likely to give referral rewards to friends, whereas English audiences are more driven to get for themselves.
“That was a really interesting finding and just one example of how audiences across markets can behave so differently,”
The team uses these customer insights to build out unique referral programmes for each country, tailoring elements such as messaging and imagery to make the biggest impact.
Having recently launched referral programmes in 19 more countries, this bespoke approach is critical to driving maximum engagement with each campaign.
“After about nine months of optimising our referral programme with Mention Me, our growth began exploding,” says David. “Now our focus is to build on that and drive even more revenue.”
That explosive growth includes increasing PUMA’s returns through referral to 6x its investment – an achievement David credits in part to the Mention Me team.
“It really comes across that Mention Me want our programme to be a success,” he says.
“The Client Success team regularly advises us based on what they’ve seen work with other clients, which has really helped to grow the programme and maximise the revenue it generates.”
Extending customer lifetime value across channels
To further optimise performance, PUMA has integrated Mention Me with Emarsys, their CRM platform. This offers two key benefits.
Firstly, it equips PUMA to serve seamless customer journeys that drive more referrals, such as sending reward reminders and encouraging referrers to introduce more friends.
Secondly, it feeds first-party referral data into their CRM platform in real time – growing their database and, in David’s words, “giving a whole new level of insight”.
“We know brand advocates are highly valuable, so we speak to them differently,” he says. “Mention Me adds a level of data and insights that we wouldn't otherwise have, and plays a critical role in driving our contact strategy".
This new view is inspiring PUMA to evolve how they segment and target consumers based on a more holistic understanding of their behaviour. This includes building cohorts based on customer interactions and their stage in the advocacy journey.
The retailer is now working closely with the Mention Me team to gather more advocacy insights and data that they can use to optimise performance across marketing channels.
A cost-effective channel
When it comes to PUMA’s wider marketing mix, referral plays a key part.
“The ROI our referral programme generated in its first year was competitive with our other paid marketing channels,” says David. “And this is just the beginning. I’m confident we’ll see really strong results in the coming year.”
Unlike the fluctuating returns of expensive paid media channels, PUMA’s referral programme reliably delivers high-quality customers.
On average, their referred customers are 4x more likely to refer onwards than those acquired through other channels – creating a powerful cycle of exponential growth, without unexpected costs.
“The ultimate way for any company to grow is to keep customers coming back and introducing their friends,” says David. “Mention Me achieves that. It supports our business goals and helps to overcome rising paid media and acquisition costs.”
An example referral chain
As for what he’d say to other Marketing and CRM professionals considering Mention Me, David gives his seal of approval.
“Give it a go. Mention Me requires a small percentage of budget compared to the wider marketing mix, yet delivers strong revenue and invaluable insights. It’s absolutely been a wise investment for PUMA.”