New Balance is always working to keep the world around us moving forward. First through their products and now through their innovative approach to supporting specialty retailers, New Balance continues to challenge the conventions of the footwear industry after over 100 years.
To get the inside scoop on the iconic brand’s approach, we recently sat down with Tom Taylor, Head of US Run Specialty Channel Marketing at New Balance. With New Balance since 2012, Tom tackles the brand’s challenges with local message consistency and amplification head-on via specialty retailer support solutions.
Let’s kick things off – why are specialty retailers important to New Balance?
The independent specialty retailer represents the pinnacle brand experience. You’re going to get high-quality product, you’re going to get a high level of customer service. You’re getting a unique, personal one-on-one experience with an expert in both specialty running and the New Balance product.
Can you speak to the importance of aligning retailers to the national brand messaging?
Consistent messaging in retail channels is a key strategy for us in North America. If we’re going to win, we need to show our best in these retail locations. In order to do that, we need to create solidarity in every retail location. It’s more impactful to tell our story that way.
One of the biggest challenges we faced with our retailers in the past was that they would get a new product, take a picture of it themselves, and share it out with maybe the incorrect name, technical info, or marketing slogan.
As our partnership with Promoboxx has developed, though, we’ve been able to have consistent, accurate images and messaging.
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How did you initially become interested in a solution like Promoboxx?
We were hearing from a few retailers that Promoboxx is an awesome tool that they were already using for other brands. From there, we started receiving multiple retailer requests, so I did some investigative research.
Sitting down with a Promoboxx rep, we kind of had this “ah-ha” moment, where we said, “Why have we not used a platform like this?” This is of need, this would alleviate a lot of work, and it will streamline a lot of processes.
We then went directly to the Head of North America Marketing, who echoed our thoughts completely. She actually stopped us mid-conversation and said let’s get on board, this makes too much sense to not to do it.
Here is an example of the Fresh Foam Vongo campaign as promoted by one of New Balance’s specialty retailers through Promoboxx:
Here is an example of the mobile-optimized landing page for the Fresh Foam Vongo campaign that highlights both New Balance and the specialty retailer’s store:
How would you compare New Balance’s retailer support now versus before?
Prior to Promoboxx, multiple people in the building were searching for the same assets, sharing out onesie-twosie via email, and answering requests daily from various sales channels, sales reps, and retailers. The number of people it took to get retailers content before was absurd. It was cumbersome and time-consuming.
Now that we’re on Promoboxx, I would say we save 10x the amount of time. One-off requests from reps and retailers have been reduced to nearly zero (with the exception of requests for more content on the platform). Not only do we save time, but we have established a workflow and system internally to better support our rep teams and retailers.
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Congratulations on a successful launch – what steps were involved to make it great?
We went with the big dogs to test the waters and rolled it out from there. We started with our top 250 performance running stores, our top 250 family shoe stores, and another 150 New Balance-licensed stores. We then educated the reps on how they could get the rest of their accounts on the platform.
When we went live, we just watched the retailer activity stream. We immediately saw retailers that we had never even seen before. Every day, we watched as all of these retailers across the country got on board without questions, comments, or handholding. It was fantastic.
Any direct feedback from retailers regarding Promoboxx?
Consistency on all channels is now easy and streamlined. It also levels the playing field for the smaller mom-and-pop stores. Promoboxx gives them the same tools and power as the larger retailers with dedicated marketing teams.
What are your thoughts on Promoboxx Local Ads?
We had received major requests from our retailers before: what is New Balance doing to help us bring new customers into our stores? How can New Balance help me grow my customer base, so I can sell more New Balance products? Local Ads has been a great tool to present to retailers and provide answers to all of those questions.
So far, we’ve had positive results overall. Great feedback from our accounts that have said, “For x amount of dollars, I can now reach all of these people that I wouldn’t normally reach.”
Is there a metric or a set of metrics that New Balance uses to determine if the program is a success?
We’re looking at engaged retailers. We want to see the majority of our retailers using this platform. I think it’s a great tool and an easy service. A value add for them and us. It’s definitely something they need to be a part of.
Before, there was no tracking. We were just putting out fires and being responsive. All very rushed. Now, we can plan ahead, watch what’s working in terms of content, and are monitoring what’s being used.
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What are your top marketing goals for 2016?
I think our biggest goal is to continue supporting our performance with high-end retail partners around the core products that we have aligned behind, while ensuring that the messaging and storytelling is consistent and clear.
Promoboxx is very in-line with that. Coming from nothing, we’ve already gone from a zero to a ten in terms of delivering assets, message consistency, and overall usability. It’s been night and day since before and after Promoboxx.