Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is playing a pivotal role in cross-channel marketing programs, largely due to the continual rise of social media. In fact, these peer-to-peer conversations can help increase marketing effectiveness by up to 54%, according to research from MarketShare. As a result, best-in-class retailers are developing innovative campaigns and strategies to drive WOM across social networks.
BodyMedia is a manufacturer of a physical activity-tracking wristband and provides a subscription-based fitness service. Known as the official weight loss solution provider for the television show “The Biggest Loser,” BodyMedia partnered with Extole to create a WOM referral marketing program that would help generate buzz and additional sales.
As of June 2013, each consumer shared the program with approximately four friends, producing more than 9,500 shares, according to Gwen Smith, Director of Marketing at BodyMedia. More than 2,500 people currently are participating in the program.
“WOM consistently is one of the top sources for new users to learn about us,” Smith said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The referral program gives satisfied consumers even more incentive to share their BodyMedia product experiences with friends and family.”
To participate in the referral marketing program, consumers click a button at the bottom of the BodyMedia homepage to enter a friend’s or family member’s email address. The referred customer receives an email featuring detailed content on the fitness wristband, then can click through to purchase it at a 15% discount. Once their friends keep the product for 30 days, referring customers receive the subscription credit on their accounts.
Overall, the social referral marketing program has had a significant impact on the bottom line. Smith revealed that since the summer 2012 launch, the BodyMedia referral marketing program has acquired 1,000-plus new customers, and has seen a conversion rate of 16%.
Instantly Connecting With Fitness Fans
Specifically, the WOM referral marketing program was designed to help BodyMedia better connect and engage with tech-savvy fitness enthusiasts who want to maintain or lose weight, Smith explained.
“Our target consumers are between 35 and 54 years old, and really focused on social fitness activity,” Smith said. “They have tried a few ways to lose or maintain their weight in the past, but are looking for something that could really make a difference.”
In addition to encouraging fans to spread the word with others, Smith said that social media programs such as contests and promotions “keep current users engaged in the program, as well as attract new users to learn more about BodyMedia.”
WOM marketing and referral programs are an ideal fit for BodyMedia because “our company’s customer base is inherently social and “respects the opinions of their friends,” according to Smith. “These consumers also like to share their opinions with others, especially when they find a product they like and have seen success using.”