Case Study

Making it rain with Millennial referrals.

Each year, 80 million Millennial shoppers spend more than $600 billion online in the United States alone, a tab that is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.


Millennials are a marketer’s dream.

Since the dawn of digital, Millennials have been instrumental in helping online businesses cultivate credibility and build cachet among young consumers. Gaining massive exposure on the backs of Millennial endorsements has become wildly profitable, paying enormous dividends for growth-minded marketers.

The sheer volume of revenue has seen entire industries double down on mega-marketing initiatives targeting Millennials. However, the most consistent ROI has come from referral marketing, which doesn’t directly sell to Millennials at all.

It sells through them.

A winning formula.

Minimal friction yields high engagement when meeting the delicate demands of Millennials. Extole’s winning formula guarantees brand advocacy without diluting authenticity.

Always converting.

Extole has a reputation for generating high-quality leads for its clients, converting 41% via Millennial referrals. High-value conversions have become its industry calling card.


Easy ROI for the win.

Let’s look at how five businesses used Extole’s referral marketing platform to sow greater intrinsic value for their brands.


American Giant used Extole to launch a referral marketing program that gave its customers an easy way to share the products they love with friends.


Customers referred a friend an average of 3x with an email open rate of 21%.


Making America great starts with great American-made products. American Giant, like many US apparel companies, faces stiff competition from overseas. It relies heavily on its brand transparency with Millennials, to whom sustainability and fair trade are hot-button topics. Its vow to revitalize manufacturing across the country exhumes an already passionate consumer base that believes strongly in its mission.

In order to sustain an honest price point while making good on its promise, American Giant used Extole to develop a social-centric strategy focused on data-driven engagement. It analyzed consumer purchase patterns, drawing on deeper insights into product preferences that had helped forge a strong brand allegiance over the years. In doing so, American Giant discovered that Facebook users, along with email subscribers, were a natural fit for the referral split.

Key Takeaway

Gaining key insights into how your top advocates respond to offers is critical to understanding how to target them. Data insights can help you better identify the platforms your advocates use the most to keep your conversion rates high.


Amerisleep rewarded $75 for each referral and gifted new customers $50 towards a new mattress.


Amerisleep’s referral program generated a click-through rate of 150%.


Amerisleep is a direct-to-consumer mattress retailer whose eco-friendly manufacturing entices Millennials. Utilizing the Extole platform, Amerisleep soft-launched a referral program to identify high-value advocates. After a successful beta-test, Amerisleep customized an exclusive rewards program tailored to those personas. This created a deeper intrinsic connection to the brand, achieving higher conversion rates.

Key Takeaway

Beta-testing ensures your program resonates with Millennials, proving whether your rewards are worthy of referrals. This allows you to segment your audience accordingly so that you’re targeting multiple sets of advocates primed for conversion in order to reach your projected ROI.

On the heels of high consumer demand, Amerisleep has scaled its referral marketing to accommodate expansion to Australia and South Korea. The company continues to use Extole to bring its referral program to committed brand ambassadors around the world.


DocuSign reaches new users through multiple acquisition channels and saw an opportunity to build a referral program based on key data.


DocuSign saved time and money by engaging Extole to build an out-of-the-box solution that dramatically improved its existing acquisition engine.


DocuSign’s cloud-based technology serves more than 85 million users and 225,000 companies worldwide, helping to manage contracts and legal documents securely and privately. It has become an indispensable service for Millennials operating startups and small businesses or who work in regulated industries that require the utmost trust and confidentiality.

DocuSign averages about 85,000 new users daily, funneled through a labyrinth of complex, high-maintenance acquisition channels. But for a company growing at such a torrid pace, implementing a more simplified ecosystem had become imperative. So Extole created a unique solution for DocuSign, helping it to better automate and track the progress of referrals and enabling campaign managers to scrub analytics from a single dashboard.

Key Takeaway

By working with Extole, DocuSign was able to effortlessly implement an out-of-the-box solution to streamline its data engine for admins and simplify the journey for end-users. It is now able to identify and track advocates through share statistics and customer feedback all in one place. This enables DocuSign to manage its platform in real-time to ensure referrals are converting.


Intuit used Extole to create a burst campaign that gave customers the opportunity to share the QuickBook experience with partners.


The burst tripled revenues with a 600% increase in the number of referrals.


Businesses rely on Intuit QuickBooks for its full-scope financial management system acclaimed for its premium accounting tools and tax-prep software. Its revered reputation in the industry seduces Millennials seeking an end-to-end solution to professional bookkeeping.

Quickbooks set out to demonstrate the value of brand advocacy to existing high-level NPS responders, targeting them with in-app referals. This immediately prompted a spike in referrals. Quickbooks turned to Extole to launch a timely burst campaign that doubled rewards from $50 to $100 for top responders. In unison with its outbound marketing strategy, the in-app referrals amplified awareness and generated engagement with remarkable conversion rates.

Key Takeaway

QuickBooks leveraged multiple data points to target premium advocates and boost acquisition opportunities. This better positioned them to execute timely promos, like burst campaigns, which discounted specific products and services for a limited time. It had a huge impact on sales and helped to rejuvenate lagging engagement.

Powered by Extole, QuickBooks continues to reap the benefits of these burst campaigns. It runs periodic bursts throughout the year to percolate engagement and drive advocacy, especially during tax season and ahead of fiscal filing deadlines.


Julep offered a reward to incentivize Millennials to join its Maven Program. When a referred friend subscribes, they receive their first beauty box free.


The popup referral generated 5x the number of shared referrals than any other day during the same month.


Julep is a burgeoning beauty brand that brings new products to market each year based on customer feedback and social engagement. Their subscription-based model offers an affordable way for Millennials to stay up to date with the latest beauty products and trends. Julep’s referral marketing program gives a $15 credit and a free beauty box to all new referrals.

Julep nudges customers to personalize their beauty boxes before they ship. Once items are added, a pop-up display suggests they share their purchased items with friends. This timely call-to-action presents a prime opportunity for advocates to take advantage of the promo.

Key Takeaway

Extole helped Julep reward and recognize the right people by giving them insights into their best customers. Julep was able to classify top advocates as VIPs, treating them to a heightened level of customer care and in turn making them more loyal.

Like Amerisleep, Julep’s referral marketing strategy mutually rewards its most loyal customers while acquiring new ones. Julep continues to leverage the power of the Extole platform to court its VIP advocates with personalized incentives to help connect fresh faces to its brand.


Content marketing campaign for Uber electric bikes.

Los Angeles Times

Managing editor for custom pubs and branded content.


Creative content for podcast series sponsored by Dole.