How PUMA Achieves 6x ROI Through Customer Advocacy

PUMA has developed a winning advocacy marketing strategy that taps into the loyalty and enthusiasm of their existing customers to drive strong growth, increase revenue and build stronger relationships with their biggest brand fans.


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With an instantly recognisable name and a long track record of delivering for sports and athletics enthusiasts, PUMA has no shortage of brand fans. Their customers were already highly engaged with their brand, but the sports apparel retailer had no reliable way of reaching out to them.

So they partnered with Mention Me with the ambition of forging deeper, more meaningful connections with their fanbase, turning it into a key driver of growth in their D2C channel.

They had two clear objectives:

  1. Acquire new customers
  2. Nurture brand advocacy and loyalty

This second objective was crucial. PUMA could see the potential value contained within their existing customer base. They wanted to use an advocacy marketing strategy, where loyalty and enthusiasm for the brand are rewarded and nurtured, to turn this potential into reality.  

The aim was to realise this value through retention of existing customers and winning high-quality new customers through referral.

Part of being able to do this meant making their messaging and customer experience more tightly targeted, relevant and rewarding by integrating first-party referral data with the rest of their martech stack.



PUMA and Mention Me’s strategy of using existing customers to drive new value started with referrals.

“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.”

The brand decided to hit the ground running: Just 36 days after signing, PUMA launched referral campaigns in all six of their major European markets.

And they saw the project as more than simply building another acquisition channel. It was an opportunity to build more personal and meaningful relationships with their customers. To this end, they integrated Mention Me with Emarsys, their CRM platform. This would allow them to use referral data to inform their CRM campaigns, increasing the likelihood of referral, now and in the future.



PUMA worked closely with Mention Me to implement a customer advocacy strategy.  

  • promoting referral across key touchpoints.
  • switching off competing promotions.
  • A/B testing by cohort to better understand their target markets and what resonates with them. 

A/B testing was particularly useful for creating a bespoke approach. Because the referral campaign launched in 6 markets initially, with a further 19 countries subsequently taking part, PUMA needed to understand local nuance. 

German and French audiences, for example, are more likely to respond to messaging that emphasises their ability to ‘give’ referral rewards to friends, whereas English audiences are more driven to ‘get’ rewards for themselves. 


The Emarsys integration

Mention Me’s CRM integration was a key part of building a bespoke campaign across counties and audiences. It meant PUMA could:

  • Serve seamless customer journeys — Such as sending reward reminders and encouraging referrers to introduce more friends.
  • Use first-party referral data in real-time — Helping them grow their database and, in David’s words, “giving a whole new level of insight”.



“It really comes across that Mention Me wants our programme to be a success,” David reflected.

“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.”

So what progress has PUMA made towards its objectives? Key results so far include:

  • 6x ROI (following six months of optimisation)
  • Referred customers are 4x more likely to introduce new customers compared to customers acquired elsewhere
  • 10% of referrals convert into new customers


Goal 1: Acquiring new customers

With customer advocacy, PUMA has found a cost-effective way to win high-quality new customers through the enthusiasm of their brand fans. “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.


Goal 2: Nurturing loyalty and customer advocacy 

First-party data and advocacy insights have allowed PUMA to extend customer lifetime value across channels:

  • Powering a contact strategy — “We know brand advocates are highly valuable, so we speak to them differently,” says David. “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".
  • Building a holistic understanding of customers - PUMA uses referral data to segment and target customers, building cohorts that combine brand interactions with what stage in the advocacy journey the customer is at.


And for the future…

For PUMA, this is just the start of a journey that brings down marketing costs, rebalances away from expensive acquisition channels and toward their own base, and drives value from their brand fans.

As David says, “With a fraction of budget, Mention Me delivers strong revenue and invaluable insights. It’s absolutely been a wise investment for PUMA.”


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"With a fraction of budget, Mention Me delivers strong revenue and invaluable insights. It’s absolutely been a wise investment for PUMA.”


Senior CRM Manager E-Commerce Europe at PUMA


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