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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 11, 2012

3 Questions with Extole

The Extole platform turns consumers into social advocates - a relatively new term and type of consumer. These shoppers share brand information and even advocate for brands in some cases with friends. In the changing ecommerce space this kind of help is invaluable. I recently chatted with Extole about the platform.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What does Extole offer brands?

Angela Bandlow, Vice President of Marketing, Extole: [Consumer to Consumer] Social Marketing programs, by nature, tap into consumers need and want to share information and content with their peers and result in C2C stories about a brand. If brands can properly harness the power of C2C marketing, they can tap into a new, high-value marketing channel. This new channel can not only help brands produce highly qualified new customers and sales, boost traffic and awareness and give them deep insight into customer behavior across their social graphs.

Kristina: Brands seem to have a hard time measuring their social marketing efforts; why is that?

Angela: The ROI of Social Marketing has been a hot topic over the past few years, with marketers trying to understand the real value it's driving (or not driving) for brands. Brands have made significant investments in building social marketing presences and amassing social followers, but still have yet to understand the real value behind these social marketing initiatives. Until recently, the only available metrics were around engagement - number of likes, follow, +1s, etc., which left marketers struggling with the true ROI of social marketing investments. As we move into the next phase of social media marketing, what's top of mind for every marketer is how to drive measurable results from their social marketing investments.

Kristina: How have brands effectively placed Extole's services?

Angela: Folica - Extole powers a social referral program for Folica, an online retailer of hair care products. Folica knew from reading its product reviews that new customers often purchased from the site because friends had told them about it. Wanting to reward and accelerate such word-of-mouth recommendations online, Folica teamed up with Extole to launch a social referral program to track, manage, and monitor referrals from its loyal customer advocates. The program offers existing Folica advocates a $10 credit toward future purchases on for friend referrals that result in purchases. The referred friends receive a $10 credit as an incentive to make the first purchase from the e-retailer. To generate excitement around the program, Folica promotes the referral program via an email to its 850,000 email subscribers. The company also promotes the program on Facebook and has added a "send to a friend" link to the top of every product page on In the first 30 days, the referral program saw a 93% open rate on emails shared with friends and a 16% conversion rate.

J. Hilburn - Extole powers a social referral program for J. Hilburn, an eCommerce provider of customer-tailored menswear. J. Hilburn knew its customer base was referring new customers, but had no way to manage and amplify these word-of-mouth recommendations. J. Hilburn turned to Extole to launch its first social referral program. The program offers J. Hilburn's current brand advocates a $50 voucher for every friend they refer who makes a purchase. Referred friends receive $50 discounts on their first orders of $100 or more. By rewarding both its advocates and their friends, J. Hilburn was able to improve its customer experience, increase new customer acquisition, and boost sales. In just 45 days, more than 1,000 advocates had referred their friends. Each advocate shared J. Hilburn's offer with an average of 12 friends. The referral program generated more than 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter, and email; thereby giving J. Hilburn increased visibility throughout the social web. Ultimately, the referral program drove 600 new transactions, which resulted in an additional $250,000 in sales.

Tags: Extole, social marketing, social measurement, social networking

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