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Nuts & Bolts - Case Study : To SquareTrade, Social Referrals = Square Deals

June 2012 By Heather Fletcher
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Challenge: Acquire customers.
Solution: Create an incentivized social referral and sweepstakes campaign to run concurrent with an Apple product launch.

In September 2011, Will Spencer knew Apple was about to release something, and he suspected he knew what it would be. The marketing manager for SquareTrade, a San Francisco-based electronics warranty provider, was pretty sure it was going to be a new version of the iPhone.

He wanted to capitalize on that opportunity because Spencer says his company is part of the “Apple ecosystem.” He decided an incentivized social referral and sweepstakes campaign would be the way to go, but he was pretty sure he had a short window of time—maybe three weeks between rumor inception and Apple product launch—to prepare his campaign.

“We had to do a lot,” Spencer says. “The first thing was coming up with a program that incentivizes people to refer more enthusiastically than just in general.”

So he partnered with Extole, a San Francisco-based consumer-to-consumer social marketing platform provider with which SquareTrade had already been working.
Then both hurried to ready the campaign for launch … and they waited … and waited … for Apple to start selling the iPhone 4S.

In mid-October 2011, both of the  launches occurred.

“When someone buys a new iPhone or an iPad … they’re always really excited and telling their friends, and it becomes a big social thing,” Spencer says.

So SquareTrade chose that time to help its customers get more excited about spreading the word to those new iPhone 4S owners about its warranties. Every referral earned them $10, a total of five got them $100 and $5 off of each new warranty for their referred friends. Plus, even one referral put both in the running for an iPad 2 each.

During the five-week campaign, SquareTrade gave away 50 iPads. (Without complimentary warranties.)

To get the word out about this deal, SquareTrade had already segmented its email list by combing through more than 3 million warranties held to find the right mix. Customers with multiple warranties were likely to be brand advocates and perfect for this campaign. Customers who held warranties on iPads or iPhones were also great for the campaign. Those elements defined a segment of 100,000 customers who received campaign messages.

Warranty holders also had the opportunity to sign up through and Facebook for the referral and sweepstakes campaign.

  • 10,000 customers signed up to refer in 10 days.
  • 14,000 customers participated in the campaign.
  • Advocates shared with an average of 5 friends.
  • 60,000 shares across Facebook, Twitter and email.
  • 2,200 new customers bought warranties.

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